The import of Mobile Phones increased by 80 percent during the first seven months of the current financial year (2019-20) as compared to the corresponding period of last year.

Pakistan imported phones worth $760.582 million during July-January (2019-20) as compared to $423.818 million during July-January (2018-19), showing a growth of 79.46 percent, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

On a year-on-year basis, the import of mobile phones witnessed a growth of 141.65 percent in January 2019, as compared to last year. The imports during January 2020 were $144.437 million versus $59.77 million in January 2019.

On a month-on-month basis, the import of mobile phones witnessed an increase of 22.73 percent during January 2020, as compared to $117.682 million during December 2019.

Overall, telecom imports saw an increase of 31.36 percent during July-January 2019-20 as compared to last year. Total imports were recorded at $1.029 billion during this period compared to $783.453 million during the same of last year. Telecom imports stood at $184.474 million in January 2020 as compared to $161.895 million during December 2019 i.e. registered 13.95 percent growth.

Other telecom apparatus imports witnessed a decline of over 25.33 percent in July-January 2019-20 as they stood at $268.546 million against $359.635 million during the same period last year. When compared to December 2019, other telecom apparatus imports registered a decline of 9.45 percent and remained at $40.037 million in January 2020 compared to $44.213 million in December 2019.

Telecom experts are linking the phenomenal growth in mobile imports to the implementation of Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS). According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), it has blocked a total of 50 million devices since the implementation of DIRBS.

According to PTA, these include 32 million GSMA valid and 18 million non-standard i.e. non-compliant devices. Such devices were brought into Pakistan through grey channels causing security issues and revenue loss to the government of Pakistan.

Since the implementation of DIRBS, mobile broadband (BB) penetration has increased from 51.8 million subscribers in January 2018 to 76.8 million in November 2019 showing an increase of 25 million due to increased usage of smartphones. The total cellular mobile subscribers reached 165.4 million by the end of November 2019.

As per DIRBS regulations, all devices operating on mobile networks within Pakistan as of 15th January 2019 were registered.