New Sales Decline as 3G/4G Users Reach 29.75 Million in Pakistan

The combined user base of mobile companies registered an unprecedented decline in May 2016 for the first time since the Bio-metric Verification System (BVS) last year.

Mobile phone users in Pakistan reached 133.02 million at the end of May 2016, after five mobile phone companies added a combined user base of 824,903 customers during the reported month, said the data released by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

While there has been a downward trend in new sales for a while now, May 2016 recorded lowest number of new cellular subscriptions in a month during past 12 months.

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Experts are saying that this could be the sign (for saturation) and despite the fact that negative growth in May 2016 could be due to data clean-up, telcos should get used to of seeing low sales figures during months to come.

This also calls for a strategic policy shift in how telcos generate revenue, i.e by relying more on data and less on voice.

Not to be mentioned, telco’s only product till now has been the “Price” and that’s  how they have won customers from the competition over the years. They are in fact still doing the same.

Only substantial addition in revenues — for some operators came through mobile financial segment, but time has come for them to expand the pipe and include services and value addition through data services to generate more money.

Also Read: Has Pakistani Telecom Market Reached a Breaking Point?

Back to customers’ data, Mobilink is still leading the charts with 38.99 million customers while Telenor is closing in the gap with 37.45 million subscribers.

It appears that Telenor won’t get any chance to cross Mobilink as the market leader is all set to grab Warid’s 11 million customer to widen the lead to a point where Telenor will lose hopes for becoming number one player for a decade at least.

Zong had 25.14 million customers at the end of May 2016 while Ufone stood with 20.32 million customers till the time.

Warid has a total of 11.11 million customers.

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3G/4G Users in Pakistan

Data shows that the number of 3G/4G users in Pakistan reached 29.74 million by the end of May 2016 as compared to 28.67 million in last month, showing a reasonable growth in modern mobile broadband services with each passing month.

According to PTA, the number of Zong, Mobilink, Ufone and Telenor reached 5,921,890, 9,261,146, 5,326,429 and 8,278,048 3G users respectively by May 2016.

The number of 4G (Zong) users jumped from 584,540 subscribers in April 2016 subscribers to 630,277 by end May.

Warid LTE subscriber reached 330,876 during this period.

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Mobile teledensity increased from 69.05 percent to 69.34 percent and Broadband subscribers increased from 31,645,171 to 32,717,756 during the period under review.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • Usman Arif

    ZONG is rising as expected.
    Impressively Telenor is now head2head with Mobilink.

  • Adam-Building The Credible Web

    Mobilink soon going to loose 11 million Warid loyal Customers as they are planning to offload 2G sites. They are head to head with Telenor and it look like after overpass Mobilink in Revenue (due to Telenor operational efficiencies and Innovation leader and higher ARPU), Telenor soon going to overpass Mobilink in term of subscriber base. Matter of few months.

    • YA Raza

      Bhai Bhai Bhai
      Mujhy reply krna k Mobilink 2G sites off krny ke planning kr raha ha ? Source please , and apna email mujhy btana ap , mujhy buhat interest ha 2G k shutdown hony wali news mein

      • Adam-Building The Credible Web

        Why, do want to buy angle iron of offload sites ;)

    • YA Raza

      Me ny last month aik comment kia tha 2G k shutdown hony ka to sub ny mujhy mazaq kiy thy , halan k me ny reference b de the wikipedia mein 2G search krny ke under shutdown head , lekin ulta mujhy mazaq kiy gay , ap mujhy reply lazmi krna

      • Adam-Building The Credible Web

        Its now shore thing, Mobilink management is working on Identifying about 5000 sites which they need to shutdown, many will loose job, 5000 cell sites leases will be terminated. Not good news for already distressed Pakistani Telecom Industry.

    • NSN

      Telenor operation efficiencies?????? where the hell is that subcon control operator where only favoritism works first improve real telenor culture and the statistic they provide are totally fake .Many customers are porting from telenor but no one mention that and please improve the quality

    • Naveed

      What do you mean by Offload 2G Sites?? Can you please explain in detail?

      • Adam-Building The Credible Web

        Mobilink is going to shutdown some 5000 2G Warid sites and will only keep sites offering 4G LTE or where there is no 2G Network of mobilink (very few sites as Mobilink network is almost every where in comparison to Warid Network). They are planning to continue offering 2G, 3G with jazz brand name and 4G as Warid LTE. It means that they will utilize Warid 2G band purely for 4G LTE. They will force 11 million Warid loyal customer to switch to Mobilink 2G network and will lost many million customer in this exercise. It will not only result in layoff of many Warid Technical staff along with OEM Partners, but also will create economical imbalance as they are going to call of lease agreements with about 5000 cell sites owner. July will be big month for all related to Warid and Mobilink staff, partners, Franchise, subcons, customers.

        • Naveed

          That sounds interesting.. !!

  • Aamir Shoaib

    Ufone start loosing its subscriptions… this is due to low / weak 3G coverage even in metropolitans. Ufone at loss already in PTCL financials. Need to focus on the performance rather than spending heavily on Commercials.

    • Ishtiaq

      Ufone is a mess. Unfortunately a ufone user.

    • Shabbir Ahmed

      Ufone delivers very bad services all over Pakistan. Where is PTA ….

  • Fayez Najeeb

    Ufone has clearly lost the battle due to poor service and weak coverage. The made it worse with the bad decisions such as 3G speeds depending on package, Whatsapp calls would be charged and the never ending list of blunders. It’s time ZonG takes over Ufone and step up the game. Advertisements doesn’t make you win if you can’t deliver!

    • AbdulB1

      Ufone is controlled by Arabs I’m sure they know there is nothing more profit to be made. They have made good money and they even didn’t paid 800 million dollars to the govt too.

  • Zawyar Ur Rehman

    These stats prove that wasting money on stupid adverts ain’t gonna make you money.
    I think we all know who i’m referring to here…. ;)

  • Umar Farooq

    What’s so special about Mobilink 3G? Why is it beating everybody else? Confused! :P

    • Naveed

      I am using Mobilink 3G .. Solid 3G Signals everywhere.. and I get Average of 21Mbps speed on 3G with mobilink everywhere I go in Isb/rwp.. ;) So yes Mobilink is best for me :D

  • Ali Hassan Kaim Khani

    Wooww …Telenor Just came closer to Mobilink

  • Adam-Building The Credible Web

    With high labor rate and cost of doing business in Pakistan. Smart companies find the most optimum way to do business is to outsource their non core business. All the Telcos outsource their operations to OEMs and subcons, those who outsourced it to multiple subcons are getting maximum cost benefits, with strict control they can control the quality with agreed and predefined KPIs and QOS.