Pakistan is spreading the scope of 3G/4G services to the rural and semi-urban areas of the country, as it wishes to boost the broadband penetration and raise the size of the e-commerce market as well as to include more people into the mobile banking services.
The verdict to include the smaller tehsils in the districts of Dadu, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Hyderabad and Bahawalnagar was officially approved in the fifty-ninth meeting of the boards of directors at the Universal Fund Company (USF Co). The meeting was led by Anusha Rahman—Minister of State for IT and Telecom.
A large number of the population of Pakistan is residing in the rural areas, the expansion in the most recent mobile broadband services would be covering an approximately eight million of the population which makes almost four percent.
Haris Mehmood—Chief Financial Officer and secretary to the board at USF while talking to a local newspaper said that there is a demand for advanced mobile internet services and facilities from these areas.
In the meeting, the expansion plan termed as the New Generation Broadband Sustainable Development Program (NG-BSD) was approved by the board.
Anusha Rehman said in a statement released on Wednesday that with the spread of using applications and digital platforms, the consumer behaviours have shifted from voice and data towards app-centric, which needs networks to provide smooth coverage with the finest end to end performance.
Pakistan has been witnessing growth in the broadband penetration ever since the spectrum auction which was held in the year 2014. The mobile broadband users have reached 51.2 million as of February, thus making the total broadband base to 53.6 million, as per the latest data revealed by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA).
Experts believed that the industry has reached saturation in the urban areas and now requires to focus on the semi-urban and rural areas for continuous growth.
Parvez Iftikhar—an expert of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) said that out of ten every eight internet users are online via mobile phones and internet use is also increasing much faster than before.
He added that this propagation is good news and it would help in achieving goals which includes both political and financial inclusion.
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