TELECOMMUNICATION SCENARIO IN THE COUNTRY

DR. S. M. ALAM
Mar 03 - 09, 2008

The invention of Telephone by a North American in 1876 has paved the noble ways for the development of communication system presently all over the world. The system has reduced the times considerably for contact by a person from one country to another country. It takes a fraction of second or even less to make conversation to any one whether a person is on moon or at any part of the space or land. This is a remarkable invention of the 18th century. We must praise his contribution straight forward for this remarkable achievement which one of the population of 7.95 billion of the world is enjoying without any doubt.

The development of telecommunication/telephonic infrastructure at a rapid pace is the key to achieving growth in all areas of the economy. Developing countries of the world that attained economic prosperity in recent years have in fact continuously focused on the modernization of the telecommunications infrastructure as a first step towards raising the general living standards of the citizen.

The economic growth profiles in various sectors of Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and many other countries adopted consistent policies and flexible implementation mechanisms for developing the telecommunications infrastructure at a constant and rapid pace.

The telecommunications market has been able to attract reasonable foreign and local investments that all will assist in the overall expansion of the telecommunications infrastructure in the country within a reasonable time frame.

The telecommunications sector in Pakistan has undergone an imperative transformation over the last four years. It has grown at a rapid space and evolved successfully from a highly regulated well organized, monopolized market structure into a liberalized and competitive environment. The basic structural shifts are visible in the indictors for the period 2000-2005. Introduction of card payphones, licensing of wireless based technologies like Burglar alarm and vehicle tracking systems and the auction of Long Distance International (LDI) service and wireless local loop (WLL) spectrum are also helping in expanding the scope of telecommunication in the country beyond the basic telephony into wireless and value-added service.

The expanding access to adequate telecommunication services for all economic classes is the desirable result of growth in the telecommunication sector. A large number of people, especially those belonging to lower income groups, still depend upon payphones and expansion of the public call offices network helps provides the relatively poorer segments of the society with telephonic access. The number of PCOs has mushroomed in the post-liberalization age of the telecommunication sector, thus extending the benefits of the liberalization process to the larger public all over the big and small cities of the country. Wireless technology has revolutionized the telecommunications system all over the world

The telecommunication is the vital element of all the developments being made in the present era by virtue of its aid to Web. The time required to make contacts between the people has now come down in seconds. Most of the benefits of these advancements are being enjoyed by the big organizations on world-wide basis.

The telecommunication system is one of the fast growing sectors in the country and is also the leading sector attracting foreign direst investment (FDI). Lately Pakistan has succeeded millions of dollars foreign direct investment in the telecommunication sector. The level of development in telecommunication is generally measured through tele-density. In terms of telecommunication penetration Pakistan is taking lead in Asian countries . Pakistan opened its basic telephony market or private investors in 2003 and since then the country witnessed a rapid growth in penetration in term of tele-density. A standard definition of tele-density refers to the number of telephones available per hundred persons of a particular territory. Today, tele-density is the basic measure of telecommunication department just like GDP per capita which shows the economic strength of a country. It shows the strength of telecom infrastructure. Teledensity has improved manifolds in the last few years. The boost in teledensity has helped to achieve over eight percent economic growth. Foreign direct investment has helped in increasing tele-density manifold as well as availability of multitude of services at affordable cost. Increase in fixed line tele-density was very subdued and was not inline with other Asian countries. It was 3.25 million in 2001 and stood at 5.27 million in 2007 Pakistan occupies 32th place in the world. China stands at first followed by US, EU, Japan, Germany, India, Brazil, Russia, France, UK, Italy, Iran, Turkey, Spain, Canada, Poland, Australia, and so on. . One may say that the numbers of subscribers of cellular phones has surpassed the numbers of fixed lines. However the fixed lines remain the prime connectivity and the cellular phones are emerging as the second best options.

The mobile sector or the cellular industry in the country is probably the fastest growing and the profitable one, apparently, quite visible with the advertising expenses that the mobile vendors are incurring of late. Cellular mobile users have increased from 1.7 million to 56 million today. The total users of both are 62.5 million. Internet users have increased from 1 million to 2.4 million. About 40% of 56 million mobile users in the country are below 30 years of age, i.e. about 22 million young groups are already connected on mobile networks. It is expected that another 35 million youths will be added by 2010. Pakistan is very fast growing cellular mobile users, sector is expected to reach 110 million mobile users by 2010.

Telecommunication is a fast growing sector that holds the inherent ability of supporting and facilitating other sectors through provisioning required services. In this context coordinated efforts of policy makers, planners and regulators are required to utilize telecommunication and IT services in the best possible manner for achieving sustainable economic growth. It has been reported that approximately 70% of the population has access to telecommunication services and 50% 0f geography of Pakistan has access coverage.