Cellular subscribers up 1.3pc - Telecom

A mini SIM card next to its electrical contact...

Cellular subscribers rose by 1.3 per cent to 1.2 million in June 2009, while cumulative figure for FY09 shows total cellular additions of 7.1 per cent (6.3 million), according to the latest figures released by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Subscribers have now risen each month since the start of the calendar year to an all-time high of 94.3 million. Cellular density as a result rose to 58.2 per cent. Growth of 7.1 per cent was significantly slower than in the previous years, when subscribers grew by an average of 90 per cent (FY06-FY08).

A combination of high base effect, regulatory tightening on SIM access and saturation hurt growth during FY09. Cellular tele-density came in at 58.2 per cent FY09, as compared to 54.7 per cent in FY08. On a month-on-month basis, Telenor emerged as the leader with 411k additions, followed by Mobilink with additions of 324k.

Warid, Ufone and Zong managed additions in the range of 122k to 235k. Ufone in June became the third operator to cross the 20 million mark. Telenor and Zong remained major gainers during the year with cumulative subscriber additions of 2.8 million and 2.4 million respectively. Mobilink however, continues to remain the market leader with 30.9 per cent share, followed by Telenor with 22 per cent, Ufone with 21.2 per cent, Warid with 19 per cent and Zong with 6.8 per cent.

Mustafa Bilwani telecom analyst at JS Research said the general consensus in the telecom sector is that there are five competitors in the market and it has become tough for them to compete anymore.

This is also hitting the revenues of the companies as the call rates are the lowest in the world and Average Revenue Per Unit (ARPU) is also low to further reduce the prices. There are chances that in near future there will be mergers and acquisitions.