Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 Year in Review for Telecom Sector - 2014 in Focus

Sunday, December 29, 2013
Year 2013 remained almost flat with no major development in the telecom sector, not to mention a few milestones in the second half, it set stage for the next year though.

Experts see 2014 with a lot of optimism, anticipating that it will be better than the previous five years. Spectrum auction and a possible review of the ICH policy and cancellation of ICH is anticipated. 

PTA, telecom industry and economy will get a big boost from the spectrum auction and push for a better mechanism to regulate the industry as changes in the regulatory policy are expected, says a government official. The spectrum auction would be completed in the first quarter of 2014 and almost every operator is ready to launch the services as permission for the test launch has been given already, he added.

Major developments in 2013 include the initiative towards addressing the issue of unverified SIMs by rolling out biometric devices at franchises and customer support centers through joint efforts of both Cellular Mobile Operators (CMO) and PTA. Further spectrum auction for next-generation mobile services through hiring of international consultants and first practical step by PTA to curb grey voice traffic in Pakistan.

Although the new government is continuing some policies of the previous leadership yet new leadership and the telecom regulators have done a great job by injecting positive sentiments into the industry. However they should further look to create a positive environment as well.

Some think that five mobile operators are just too many for a market like Pakistan. The consolidation of Warid Telecom is seen as another significant development in 2014. Mobilink Inifinity handed over its network to Qubee already and left the WiMAX market. While, Wateen and Qubee decided to consolidate operations forming the second largest broadband service provider in Pakistan, with over 200,000 subscribers.

For security reasons the practice of suspending cellular services, continued and Video sharing website Youtube remains ban but still brings in considerable traffic and data usage.

Selling almost 130 million cellular connections by the industry is another milestone achieved by Telecom operators.

No major developments took place in the first half of the year making it no different from the previous year. Things, however, changed in the second half when the telecom regulator appointed new leadership after the new government took charge following May 11 general elections. With a new chairman, member technical and member finance, PTA showed significant progress on all pending issues. Further it will take up all outstanding issues, such as recoveries and pending cases in new year.

As per source, direct and indirect jobs are expected from app development to the launch of new services considering an increase in infrastructure investment and a lot of activity in the telecom sector.

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