Pakistan imported mobile phones worth $2.065 billion during 2020-21 compared to $1.369 billion during 2019-20, showing growth of 50.75 percent, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data.
The overall telecom imports into the country during the period under review (July-June) 2020-21 increased by 39.33 percent by going up from $1.861 billion in 2019-20 to $2.593 billion during 2020-21.
On a year-on-year basis, the imports of mobile phones into Pakistan decreased by 11.51 percent during June 2021, when compared to the imports of the same month of last year. The mobile phone imports during June 2021 were recorded at $204.676 million, against the imports of $331.302 million during June 2020, the PBS data revealed.
On a month-on-month basis, mobile phone imports increased by 16.62 percent in June 2021 when compared to the imports of $175.501 million in May 2021.
On a year-on-year basis, the overall telecom imports into Pakistan decreased by 6.30 percent during June 2021, when compared to the imports of the same month of last year. The telecom imports during June 2021 were recorded at $255.943 million against the imports of $273.166 million during June 2020.
On a month-on-month basis, the overall telecom imports increased by 16.02 percent in June 2021, compared to the imports of $220.599 million in May 2021.
Other apparatus imports during July-June (2020-21) increased by 7.48 percent by going up from $491.163 million in 2019-20 to $527.879 million during 2020-21.
The Economic Survey 2019-20 noted that the Mobile Device Manufacturing policy has been approved to promote local manufacturing and assembly of mobile handsets. Pakistan enjoys a low-cost labor advantage, a reasonably large home market having more than 178 million subscribers, which have increased approximately 1 percent per month during last year alone, 83.3 percent teledensity and efficient Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) in place, which make Pakistan an attractive market for mobile assembly.
Due to the introduction of DIRBS, legal imports have increased significantly, and local manufacturing has also picked up.
Impacts of DIRBS on the economy:
PTA has blocked 175 thousand devices IMEI reported as stolen through DIRBS
The system has also identified and blocked 26.03 million fake/replica mobile devices since 2019, identified as programmed with non-GSMA formation
The system has been successfully able to identify cloned/duplicated IMEI, whereby 657,645 IMEI were cloned against 4.24 million MSISDN
The launch of DIRBS has also had a significant impact on the development of the mobile device ecosystem as companies now have a level playing field.
As per figures extracted from DIRBS, it is observed that there is substantial growth in 4G devices that are connected to local mobile networks and the pattern also shows a decline in the use of 2G, 3G devices with consumer appetite shifting towards 4G functionality devices.