CELLULAR TELEDENSITY GROWING HIGHER

MARIAM NASIR,
Research Manager

July 16 - 22, 2007

The telecom sector shares almost three percent in the total GDP growth in the previous fiscal year against 1.93 percent contribution made in the sector made during 2003-04. This increase can be attributed to the rising teledensity and to the introduction of cellular mobile policy in October 2003, where new entrants, e.g. UAE-based Warid Telecom and Norwegian Telenor entered the market. This increased interests of foreign players in the country's telecom market put a healthy impetus in the telecom sector where a huge investment of US$950 million was made in the country during the past years actively contributed by six cellular companies, i.e. Mobilink, Ufone, Telenor, Warid, Paktel and Instaphone. As a result of all such activities, the number of mobile subscribers in the country jumped to 60.9 million with cellular density, rising to 39.16 percent. During May alone the mobile phone subscribers in Pakistan increased by 2.6 million.

Rising subscriber base has enhanced the mobile phone imports during the year. During eleven month of current fiscal year Pakistan imported mobile phones worth US$0.80 million as compared to imports worth US$0.62 million during the same period last year, showing an increase of 27.57 percent. Apart from that other telecom apparatus worth US$1.19 million was imported as compared to US$1.06 million during the same period in the fiscal year representing an increase of 11.96 percent.

On the operator side, Mobilink has almost 25 million clients followed by Ufone with 12.48 million, Warid with 9.7 million, Telenor with 9.6 million and the rest being shares by Paktel and Instaphone.

COMPANY

SUBSCRIBER NUMBERS

MARKET SHARE

Mobilink

25,213,320

41.40%

Ufone

12,488,774

20.51%

Warid

9,714,131

15.95%

Telenor

9,600,000

15.76%

Others

3,883,775

6.38%

Total

60,900,000

100.00%

MOBILINK

Mobilink the cellular arm of Egypt's Orascom Telecom has lately become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orascom after Pakistan's Saif Group sold all its 11.31 per cent shares to the parent company at US$290 million recently. The company has made long-term plans to invest in the country's high-tech services and infrastructure. Mobilink was awarded free of charge license when it launched its services in the 90s. But recently the largest cellular company reaches a deal with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to renew its license for the next 15 years at a cost of US$291 million. The company has 25.79 million subscribers out of a total 60.90 million mobile users across the country. Its network covers more than 2,000 cities, towns and districts of Pakistan. The company has announced to invest US$700 million in the next two years to expand its operations in the country to meet the demand for phenomenal growth in the telecom sector.

UFONE

Ufone is a wholly owned subsidiary of PTCL. Ufone has network coverage in more than 750 cities, towns and across all major highways of the country. The company has a subscriber base of over 12 million and enjoys a market share of 21%.

Ufone currently caters for International Roaming to more than 195 live operators across 119 countries and introduced International roaming facility for Prepaid subscribers in Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Portugal and Kuwait with lowest rates, featuring no security deposit and activation charges. GPRS Roaming facility is available with more than 75 Live Operators across 59 countries. The company recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Telenor which will facilitate both operators to share their infrastructure (sites/towers) for 10 years with mutual consent.

Ufone has finalized a huge network expansion contract amounting to about US$ 550 million, which will enhance the subscribers' capacity by 10 million. This will be the largest ever expansion project of Ufone.

WARID TELECOM

Warid Telecom takes pride in being backed by the Abu Dhabi Group, one of the largest groups in the Middle East and the single largest foreign investor group in Pakistan. It has a diversified business interest in the institutions that have enjoyed commercial success as a result of its strong financial resources and extensive management expertise. Warid began its operations on May 23, 2005. In less than a year it had a customer base of over 4.8 million which currently stand at 9.7 million. The company has a market share of 16%.

Recently, Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) and the Warid Telecom announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement subsequent to which SingTel will acquire a 30 per cent equity stake in the Warid for an estimated US$758 million.

TELENOR

Telenor is emerging as one of the fastest growing providers of mobile communications services worldwide with ownership interests in 13 mobile operators across Europe and Asia. Telenor in Pakistan is fourth largest cellular operator with subscriber base of over 9.6 million and a market share of 15.7%.