ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that government is fully committed to the development of telecom sector and has taken a number of initiatives aimed at supporting the mobile sector to leverage its strength for growth of economy and social inclusion of all sections of population. He said that Pakistan has become a destination for investments in IT and has attracted US$ 9 billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which clearly reflects the confidence of the investors.
The Prime Minister was talking to a delegation of the GSM Association Board and CEOs of mobile operators in Pakistan headed by Mr. Ricardo Tavares, SVP Public Policy GSM Association, who called on him at the Prime Minister’s House this afternoon. He said that telecom sector is a high potential area as more and more people are subscribing to the mobile telephone services. He said that major telecom companies of the world are investing in Pakistan as our telecom sector reforms are very successful and this is the reason telecom sector is attracting more investment than any other sector in the country.
The Prime Minister further said that increase in teledensity in the country has created growth opportunities in the telecom sector. He said that due to the demand of telephony, both mobile and fixed has created excellent investment opportunities leading to increased inflow of foreign investment in the telecommunication sector. With growing use of internet, cellular phones and broadband the demand for data and voice connectivity services is increasing rapidly, he said.
The Prime Minister said that opening up of telecommunication sector, the competitive and comparative advantage due to the availability of highly skilled human capital, world-class infrastructure and reduced cost of doing business has stimulated phenomenal growth, attracted investments and Pakistan is geared to become the regional hub for IT & Telecom business. He praised the mobile industry for its success in building a world-class infrastructure, creating employment opportunities and attracting further investments to Pakistan. He hoped that rapid growth in the mobile industry would continue uninterrupted.
The Prime Minister was informed that the number of mobile phone users in Pakistan has increased phenomenally and this figure is expanding by almost 1 million subscribers every month. The teledensity in the country has increased to 58% of the population which is the highest in South Asia. As a result the total number of fixed and mobile subscribers has reached from 8 million in 2003 to over 85 million in 2008 with major contribution coming from the mobile sector. Pakistan continues to be one of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world where in the last year mobile industry invested close to US$3 billion of total foreign direct investment coming into the country.
The delegation assured the Prime Minister that the mobile industry will continue to work with the government for the rapid provision of state of the art information and communication services in Pakistan, with a heightened focus on empowering rural communities.
The delegation informed the Prime Minister that Group Special Mobile Association (GSMA) is a global trade associations founded in 1987 and represent more than 700 GSM mobile phone operators across 217 territories and countries world over. He was further briefed that more than 180 manufacturers and suppliers support the association’s initiatives as associate members.
The Prime Minister was informed that GSMA’s primarily focusing on two areas which include emerging services and emerging markets of the world. Over 2 billion people around the globe subscribe to GSM based cellular mobile services. GSM technology has shown huge growth represents over 80% of the world’s mobile market.-SANA