ISLAMABAD: Mobile phone penetration, a highly effective tool to gauge growth in telecom market, has reached 71.7pc by June 2013 with growth rate of 4.61pc.
The rate of penetration slowed down during fiscal year 2012-13 owing to various factors but mainly due to strict government policy for sale of Subscriber Identity Modules (SIMs) only through customer service centres and franchises of the operators.
A report for year 2013 issued by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has revealed that the other important factor could be movement of market towards maturity.
The subscribers of cellular mobile in Pakistan attained the level of 128.93 million at the end of June 2013 compared to 120.15 million as of end June 2012, revealing a growth of 6.74pc as compared to growth of 10.3pc during the corresponding period of last year.
The report said one of the major reasons for this slower growth could be associated to restrictions on sale of SIMs from retail outlets and fewer number of sale points.
With regard to addition of new subscribers, it said during 2012-13, the cellular mobile operators due to their aggressive marketing, attractive packages and special offers were able to capture 8.8 million new subscribers in the subscription base.
This was approximately 2.44 million lesser subscription as compared to the corresponding period in last fiscal year.
The lower net addition in subscribers has been witnessed owing to maintaining market as well as additional requirements by the regulator for SIM registration and other controls for prohibiting the illegal sale.
The report said among the five cellular mobile operators in the country, the youngest cellular operator, China Mobile Pakistan (CMpak) has taken the lead in attracting new subscribers by adding 4.2 million during the reported period.
Another operator, Telenor also added a respectable number of 3.5 million subscribers followed by Mobilink and Ufone with 1.1 and 0.67 million net additions respectively.
Warid, however, dropped 793,482 subscribers during the last fiscal year due to subscriber churn and tough competition in the market.