KARACHI: The number of broadband subscriptions in the country has surpassed 20 million for the first time as cellular service providers sold more than 2 million high-speed mobile internet connections in September, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) revealed on Wednesday.
The number of broadband connections in the country increased by 12% to stand at 21.2 million last month compared to 18.9 million in August, according to the PTA. This double-digit growth was driven entirely by users joining the third-generation (3G) and 4G networks.
The number of 3G and 4G users reached 18 million in the month under review, constituting 85% of the country’s total broadband subscriber base, data shows, translating to an increase of 14.4% over 15.8 million of the preceding month.
Meanwhile, mobile internet penetration (the portion of overall cellular subscribers who are using mobile broadband) reached close to 15% at the end of September, up from 13% of the previous month.
The cellular mobile operators (CMOs)’ overall user base increased by 1.7% to finish at 121 million at the end of September.
The market positions of the five operators, however, remained the same as Mobilink ended at the top with 35 million subscriptions at the end of September followed by Telenor Pakistan, which finished second with 33 million users in the same period.
China Mobile Pakistan (Zong), Ufone and Warid were third, fourth and fifth operators with 23.5 million, 18.8 million and 10.3 million users, respectively.
Though mobile broadband category was dominated by Telenor Pakistan, Mobilink and Ufone each dominated the month in terms of new additions to their 3G user base.
Telenor boosted over 5.5 million 3G users at the end of September, up 7.7% compared to 5 million of the previous month. It was followed by Mobilink that increased its 3G users by a staggering 22% to almost 5 million compared to 4 million of the preceding month.
Zong remained third in the mobile broadband category increasing its 3G users by 9% to 3.8 million and its 4G subscriptions passed 200,000 users. Ufone’s 3G user base improved by a whopping 22% to 3.5 million while Warid boasted 156,827 users on its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network at the end of September.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2015.
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