Pakistan has imported around US $ 4.377 billion mobile phone handsets and other telecom apparatus during last five years with telecom imports of US $ 1.331 billion only in 2007-08, the most promising year for the sector.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in its year 2012 report has revealed that the country imported mobile phone handsets with battery of US $ Dollar 1.428 billion and other telecom apparatus worth US Dollar 2.949 billion.
It said during 2012, total telecom imports in the country reached US $ 954 million, showing a sharp rise of 24.5 percent over the previous year.
This increase in total telecom imports is due to a sharp rise in imports of cellular mobile handsets in the country, which have reached US $ 465.3 million in 2012 compared to 218.2 million in 2011, registering a growth of 113 percent.
This fresh rise in the import of cell phones is due to an increasing demand for less costly Chinese mobile handsets while cellular subscribers have reached 120 million and an increasing demand for expensive smart phones in the country.
The report said this import demand is at the back of attractive mobile Internet packages and upcoming 3G services.
A huge import bill of almost half a billion dollar for cell phones is not desirable under current economic situation when country’s trade deficit has reached US $ 15.4 billion and country is facing a current account deficit of US$ 4.5 billion.
The Authority is encouraging existing and new companies to initiate telecom manufacturing in the country. The government and PTA are willing to provide all possible cooperation to facilitate the process. It said to begin with, assembly lines can be established for selected telecom equipments with the help of country’s close trading partners.
During year 2007-08, the country imported mobile phone handsets with battery worth US $ 445.9 million, in 2008-09 US $ 129.7 million, in 2009-10 US $ 169.23 million, in 2010-11 US $ 218.2 and during 2011-12, the country spent US $ 465.3 million on handsets import.
Similarly, on other telecom apparatus, the country spent US $ 885.1 in 2007-08, US $ 570.4 in 2008-09, US $ 556.45 in 2009-10, US $ 548.1 in 2010-11 and US $ 488.7 in 2011-12.