PTA’s Annual Report 2016-17: Telecom Investments, IT Exports, E-Commerce & More

Pakistan’s share in global information technology sales is just $2.8 billion out of the $3.2 trillion global market, revealed Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

PTA estimates that the size of Pakistan’s e-commerce market falls between $60-100 million and is expected to grow up to $1 billion by 2020. Pakistan is generally a cash driven economy as the number of debit/credit card holders is small and m-wallet accounts are also very low due to which more than 95% of the ecommerce transactions are done by Cash on Delivery system, stated the PTA annual report 2016-17.

Pakistan is making good progress on the Business to Business (B2B) front as the software industry aims to achieve the goal of $5 billion export mark by the year 2020. Furthermore, the IT industry has various medium-sized IT firms earning nearly $530 million, mainly in software development and service outsourcing. However, Pakistan’s share in the global IT sales is just $2.8 billion.

Buying trend in Pakistan is not just limited to online products, there are also websites for cars, property and travel which shows that the consumers in Pakistan are using internet to process a wide range of economic activities.

Some local portals have emerged as leading online businesses in Pakistan. For example, is the leading online real estate database that connects real estate dealers, developers, estate agencies with general buyers, sellers and renters in Pakistan.

Telecom investment in the country is on a nosedive continuously and remained $634.9 million during 2016-17 compared to $722.3 million in 2015-16, registering a substantial decline of over $87 million, revealed PTA report. In comparison, telecom investment figure was $1.815 billion in 2013-14 and $1.001 billion in 2014-15.

The country attracted $486.1 million in investment from cellular mobile companies in 2016-17 against $659.4 million during the same period of previous year, registering a decrease of over $173 million.

Long Distance International (LDI) attracted invested $11.3 million in 2016-17 compared to $8.9 million in 2015-16 and fixed line received $137.5 million in 2016-17 compared to $54 million during the same period of last year.

Net Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) remained negative – $91 million during 2016-17. Inflow in the telecom sector remained $116.4 million while outflow was $207.4 million.

Telecom sector’s total revenues for fiscal year 2016-17 stood at Rs. 467.64 billion, slightly up from Rs 457.024 billion reported during the previous year. Revenue from cellular operators stood at Rs 369.11 billion against Rs 345.537 billion a year ago.

At the end of fiscal year 2016-17, total telecom contribution to the national exchequer remained at Rs 161.43 billion against Rs 160.18 billion during the same period of previous year, but this contribution was Rs 235.76 billion during 2013-14.

By the end of March 2017, 3G cellular mobile signal covers more than 70% of the population in Pakistan. Similarly, 4G LTE services are accessible to more than 30% of the population. Now, Pakistan has set its eyes on launching 5G technology by 2020.