Pakistani Youth Still Prefer SMS, Voice Over Messaging Apps: Survey

While internet usage is taking up and usage of Mobile messaging apps — such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp etc. — is on the rise, the traditional SMS and Voice still enjoys its fair-share in emerging markets such as Pakistan.

This was revealed in a Telenor Research study conducted in November-December 2015, in which mobile users aged 16-35 years in Telenor Group’s markets in Asia and Europe were interviewed about their mobile communication habits.

The interviewees, identified as “digital frontrunners”, were from Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Norway, Sweden, Serbia, and Hungary.

Survey found that half of Pakistanis surveyed use a variety of messaging apps (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber are popular choices) and more than a third use internet voice and video calls on a daily basis.


With such adoption of messaging apps, it was found that Pakistan are still more comfortable with traditional mobile calls and SMS as compared to messaging apps.

Experts say that this behavior is probably due to a fact that only one in four mobile phone users in Pakistan are connected (through 3G or 4G).

They further said that messaging apps are ultimately going to take more share but process has to be gradual and will depend on quality of service offered from operators.

“Survey findings for Pakistan resemble to those of the Malaysian respondents in 2012. The Pakistani frontrunners may go down the same route as their Malaysian counterparts over the next one to three years as internet access and Smartphone become increasingly common,” said Bjørn Taale Sandberg, Head of Telenor Research.

Key Findings of Survey

  • Thailand and Malaysia are the most digital of Telenor’s surveyed markets
  • One one percent of Pakistanis use email several times a day
  • Pakistani use internet more for communication and less for browsing, unlike any other surveyed market where users use Mobile Phones more for browsing and less for communication
  • Internet calling is the next thing in that’s picking up in mature and emerging markets alike

Below is the infographic that Telenor Research released on the survey findings:


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

  • research is good but how can we verify its authenticity? Is that transparent? This type of data help marketers alot but without transparency to Data behind these results its just damn theory.

  • Wow, talk about jumping to conclusions. Email is only used on phones when people aren’t on their laptops. Just because Pakistani’s don’t use email on their phone doesn’t mean Whatsapp usage is not high in Pakistan. The click bait is real. Pro Pakistani has a long way to go before it moves from tabloid news to real news with facts.

    • Wow, talk about jumping to conclusions. This research is conducted by Telenor Global and not by ProPakistani. Kuch Allah ka naam lou bahi.

      And for click baity headline, it should have been “Pakistani
      Youth Embarrasses the Nation” and not the one we chose above.

  • I have seen people carrying expensive cell phones in PK, but for some odd reason they believe 3G, 4G is expensive and in many cases people dont even have 3G, 4G sims. Carry phone just for show or status symbol

    • All SIMs are compatible with 3G networks. Even old 2G SIMs. However for 4G you definitely need a new SIM but 4G is pretty useless with the low data volume packages available here.

      3G and 4G packages are expensive considering the income levels in this country.

      As for expensive phones people usually buy them 2nd hand, then sell them off after a few months of use and use that money to buy a newer phone. They repeat this process over and over again. This is one way that they can afford expensive looking phones.

      The other way is that we get a lot of first world trash dumped here. Phones that are too expensive to repair over there get sold to Pakistani importers. Because labour is cheap here businessmen can afford to sort through that junk and sell the ones that can be repaired. Buyers then buy these phones for a fraction of their original retail price.

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