According to figures from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), mobile phones import reached $2.065 billion in 2020-21, up from $1.369 billion in 2019-20. This represents a 50.75 percent increase.
Overall telecom imports into the country climbed by 39.33 percent during the review period (July-June) 2020-21, rising from $1.861 billion in 2019-20 to $2.593 billion in 2020-21.
When compared to the same month the previous year, mobile phone imports into Pakistan declined by 11.51 percent in June 2021.
According to PBS data, mobile phone imports reached $204.676 million in June 2021, compared to $331.302 million in June 2020.
In June 2021, mobile phones import climbed by 16.62 percent month over month, to $175.501 million, compared to $175.501 million in May 2021.
When compared to the same month the previous year, overall telecom imports into Pakistan decreased by 6.30 percent in June 2021. Imports of telecom equipment totaled $255.943 million in June 2021, compared to $273.166 million in June 2020.
In June 2021, overall telecom imports climbed by 16.02 percent month over month, to $220.599 million, compared to $220.599 million in May 2021.
Imports of other equipment climbed by 7.48 percent in July-June (2020-21), rising from $491.163 million in 2019-20 to $527.879 million in 2020-21.
The Mobile Device Manufacturing policy has been approved, according to the Economic Survey 2019-20, to promote local manufacturing and assembly of mobile handsets.
Pakistan has a low-cost labour advantage, a reasonably large home market of over 178 million subscribers (up about 1% per month in the last year), 83.3 percent teledensity, and an efficient Device Identification, Registration, and Blocking System (DIRBS) in place, all of which make Pakistan an appealing market for mobile assembly.
Impacts of DIRBS on the economy and mobile phones import
DIRBS has resulted in a considerable increase in legal imports, as well as an increase in local manufacturing.
Through DIRBS, PTA has blacklisted 175 thousand devices with IMEIs identified as stolen.
Since 2019, the system has detected and blacklisted 26.03 million fake/replica mobile devices that were configured with non-GSMA formation.
The system was successful in detecting cloned/duplicated IMEI, with 657,645 IMEI cloned against 4.24 million MSISDN.
The introduction of DIRBS has had a huge impact on the development of the mobile device ecosystem, as companies now compete on an equal footing.
According to DIRBS data, there has been a significant increase in the usage of 4G devices connected to local mobile networks, as well as a drop in the use of 2G and 3G devices, with consumer preferences turning toward 4G functionality devices.