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Local Mobile Phone Production Surpasses Imports

The production of mobile phones by local manufacturing plants has surpassed the number of mobile phone imports in the country during Jan-August 2021, with local production recorded at 13.05 million units compared to 8.52 million units of imported phones.

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The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) data revealed that this positive uptake reflects the success of PTA’s Mobile Device Manufacturing (MDM) Authorization regulatory regime, whereby the local manufacturing, within the first year of regime introduction, has resulted in the production of 13.05 million phones in a short span of eight months, including 5.48 million 4G smartphones.

The successful implementation of the Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS), along with conducive government policies, including the mobile manufacturing policy has created a favorable environment for mobile device manufacturing in Pakistan.

It has also contributed positively to the mobile ecosystem of Pakistan by eliminating the counterfeit device market, providing a level-playing field for commercial entities, and creating trust among consumers due to the formulation of standardized legal channels for all sorts of device imports.

PTA had introduced a mobile manufacturing policy to encourage and attract manufacturers to establish their units in Pakistan. The PTA, in light of the policy, issued Mobile Device Manufacturing (MDM) Regulations on 28th January 2021.

Till now, 26 companies have been issued MDM Authorisation enabling them to manufacture mobile devices in Pakistan. The companies include renowned brands, such as Samsung, Nokia, Oppo, TECNO, Infinix, Vgotel, Q-mobile, etc. Commercial imports against manufacturing trends can be seen at the PTA website, the authority added.

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Director Type Approvals and Device Identification Registration & Blocking System (DIRBS) PTA, Nauman Khalid, said that the establishment of 26 manufacturing plants has brought in an investment of over $126 million and created over 10,000 jobs in a short span of seven months.

He said that the government of Pakistan introduced Mobile Manufacturing Policy in June 2020 to encourage local manufacturing. Subsequently, PTA issued Mobile Device Manufacturing (MDM) Regulations in 2021, a major milestone in the journey towards “Digital Pakistan.”  As of August 2021, PTA has issued MDM authorization to 26 companies, including foreign and local companies, with brands like Samsung, Vivo, Oppo, Nokia, Alcatel, Techno, Infinix, etc. One company has also exported 5000 “Made in Pakistan” smartphones to UAE.

Since the implementation of the Device Identification Registration & Blocking System (DIRBS), the import of mobile devices via legal channels increased by 62 percent, generating a revenue of Rs. 46.27 billion. In 2020, 38.14 million devices were imported, with a revenue of Rs. 54 billion, and in 2021, so far 20.91 million devices have been imported through legal channels.

PTA has blocked 175 thousand devices’ IMEIs reported as stolen through DIRBS. The System has also identified and blocked 26.03 million fake/replica mobile devices from use on local networks. Moreover, 880,780 cloned/duplicated IMEIs against 5.28 million MSISDN were identified and blocked. The connectivity of smartphones on the local network has been increased from 35 percent to 51 percent as of July 2021, after the implementation of DIRBS.

According to the sector experts, Pakistan enjoys a low-cost labor advantage, 84 percent teledensity, and an efficient DIRBS in place. It also boasts a reasonably large home market, having more than 185 million subscribers, which have increased by approximately one percent per month during the last year, which makes Pakistan an attractive market for mobile assembly.

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