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Mobile broadband connections cross 30m mark

ISLAMABAD: The explosive growth of mobile broadband, such as third-generation (3G) and 4G or long-term evolution (LTE) technologies, has changed dynamics, as overall the broadband connections crossed 30 million mark by March this year. Almost non-existent two years ago, the high-speed mobile Internet now accounts for 89 percent of the broadband market. According to statistics of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the telecom sector s regulatory body, the country s broadband segment has been through a major change over the past year, noting how existing fixed line and other wireless technologies proved to be no match for mobile broadband. Mobile broadband connections surged to around 28 million. Broadband connectivity historically remained dependent on the fixed line solutions and limited to the geographical boundaries that were deemed profitable by the operators. However, a true revolution began with the introduction of wireless Internet connectivity on hand-held devices, particularly 3G, 4G/LTE, in the last decade. At present, mobile broadband is the most dynamic market segment with a global penetration of 47 % in 2015, a value that increased 12 times since 2007, according to the International Telecom Union.

When it comes to broadband evolution in Pakistan, the trend is no different. The country s broadband sector remained the sole domain of the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), which enjoyed 80 % share in the segment at the end of last year. The current broadband subscriber share presents a clear view of the change in the dynamics over the past year and has become very competitive now. A breakdown of statistics show Mobilink is leading the market with 8.4 million 3G subscribers followed by Telenor with 7.7 million 3G subscribers. China Mobile (Zong) has around 5.7 million 3G subscribers and 0.535 million 4G LTE subscribers, Ufone has 5.1 million 3G connections and Warid has 0.283 million 4G subscribers.

The statistics clearly indicate the shift in broadband market from fixed line and WiMAX to mobile Internet.

The other modes of broadband are DSL, HFC, Wimax, FTTH and EvDO.