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ISLAMABAD: The production of mobile phones by local manufacturing plants has almost doubled against the import of commercial mobile phones in the country during Jan-October 2021 as the local production was recorded at 18.87 million compared to the imported mobile phones of 9.45 million.

However, despite the increase in local production of mobile phones, the import remained on high side and mobile phones worth $644.673 million were imported during the first four months (July-October) of 2021 compared to $557.961 million during the same period of last year, registering a growth of 15.54 percent.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) data revealed that this trend reflects a positive uptake on the PTA’s Mobile Device Manufacturing (MDM) Authorization regulatory regime, whereby, local manufacturing within the first year of regime introduction has resulted in production of 18.87 million phones in a short span of 10 months, including 7.93 million 4G smartphones.

As per the PTA data, 52 percent mobile devices are smartphones and 48 percent 2G on Pakistan network.

The successful implementation of Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) along with conducive government policies including the mobile manufacturing policy has created a favourable environment for mobile device manufacturing in Pakistan.

It has also contributed positively to the mobile ecosystem of Pakistan by eliminating counterfeit device market providing a level-playing field for commercial entities and has created trust among consumers due to the formulation of standardised legal channels for all sorts of device imports.

The government had introduced a mobile manufacturing policy to encourage and attract manufacturers to establish their units in Pakistan.

The PTA in light of the policy issued Mobile Device Manufacturing (MDM) Regulations on 28th January 2021.

Till now, 26 companies have been issued MDM Authorisation enabling them to manufacture mobile devices in Pakistan.

The companies included renowned brands e.g. Samsung, Nokia, Oppo, TECNO, Infinix, Vgotel, Q-mobile etc.

The establishment of 26 manufacturing plants has brought in an investment of over $126 million and created over 10,000 jobs in a short span of 10 months.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data, the overall telecom imports into the country during July-October 2021 increased by 22.40 percent by going up from $691.644 million in July-October 2020 to $846.553 million in July-October 2021.

On month-on-month basis, the import of mobile phones into Pakistan decreased by 28.37 percent during October 2021 and remained $149.713 million when compared to $209.013 million imported in September 2021, the PBS data revealed.

On year-on-year basis, mobile phones witnessed an increase of 130.08 percent when compared to $65.069 million in October 2020.

On month-on-month basis, the overall telecom imports into the country decreased by 22.95 percent during October 2021 and remained $208.678 million, when compared to the imports of $270.823 million in September 2021. On year-on-year basis, overall telecom imports witnessed 105.82 percent growth when compared to $101.390 million in October 2020.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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