According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the Coronavirus induced countrywide lockdown has reduced mobile phone calls by 10% while the usage of broadband internet has surged 15% during the lockdown period.
Moreover, PTA has reported an increase in the usage of applications used for video calls and conferences while the regulator has documented a significant decline in the usage of navigation based applications due to lockdown measures enforced by the government.
CEO Jazz, Aamir Ibrahim, in an interview with a local news publisher, said that people are staying indoors because of the pandemic and restrictions imposed by the government are the primary reasons behind a drop in mobile phone calls.
Before the lockdown, for instance, businessmen used to interact with buyers and suppliers and deal with them over phone calls. Moreover, school administrations interacted with parents and discussed their children’s performance over phone calls. Now, businesses are closed and children are at homes, accounting for a tangible drop in calls, said CEO Jazz.
Aamir Ibrahim further said that the lockdown has cemented the importance of telecom operators in the digital landscape of Pakistan. Many businesses are operating in routine as their employees are working from homes, which was possible due to the services of telecom operators.
CEO Telenor Pakistan, Irfan Wahab Khan, holds views similar to those of Aamir Ibrahim regarding the increase in broadband internet usage.
Irfan Wahab further added that 95% of Telenor’s customers used to top up their mobiles through pre-paid cards purchased from shops instead of using digital means. Those customers are now unable to top up credit because of restrictions of movement. As a result, there is a sharp decline in the rate of mobile phone calls.
CEO Telenor Pakistan has requested the government to allow shopkeepers to open their shops while undertaking strict social distancing and preventive measures.