Wireless Local Loop subscription posts healthy growth in FY11

KARACHI: Wireless Local Loop (WLL) sector has witnessed significant recovery in the growth of subscriptions amid day-to-day basis charges, lower call and short message service (SMS) rates for domestic and international destination.

The wireless phone subscription increased 213 percent in the outing fiscal year (FY) 2010-11 with the addition of 132,924 or (0.13 million), which shows an average 11,077 monthly growth in subscribers’ base.

However, the growth in connections in the closing fiscal year did not equalise the impressive increase of base in the past years.

The wireless sector subscribers based widened by 376,655 in 2008-09 as against a mere 42,417 in 2009-10.

The wireless phone operators suffered cutting-edged competition with six players in the market and two of them have left to join broadband sector in past years while they are more operators, who may shift their services from wireless telephony to broadband internet services.

WLL services are mostly used for commercial purposes in the form of public call office, particularly in rural areas whereas some operators have introduced these services through handset as mobile phone set to push up users’ growth in industrials sector as well.

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has held its larger share with 1.36 million customers in the country followed by TeleCard with 728,069 subscribers in tele-service market. Similarly, WorldCall and Wateen subscribers based reached at 4357,851 and 214,831.

As far as revenues are concerned, the wireless operators have maintained their growth in earnings as it witnessed in the first half of the outgoing fiscal years.

The total revenue of Rs 2.3 billion have been generated by the WLL companies during the first two quarters of FY 2010-11 compared with Rs 1.8 billion during the previous two quarters (Jan-Jun10), showing 27 percent growth in revenues.

The cell sites are an important factor in assessment of infrastructure, investment and coverage of any wireless media. There are more than 3,654 sites of wireless operators in the country with its presence are mostly in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh.

So far, the number of cell sites in different cities of Punjab and Sindh are 2,052 and 1,097, whereas Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa have 332 and 135 towers. PTCL leads with 1,639 cell sites all across Pakistan. Wateen has almost same number of cell sites as end of last fiscal year despite highest subscriber growth rate. WorldCall has got 436 cell sites across Pakistan.

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