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ISLAMABAD: To expand the benefits of mobile broadband, especially among low-income segments in Pakistan, Jazz Digit 4G has been recognised as a successful rollout globally by the organisation representing mobile network operators, GSMA.

According to the GSMA’s “Making internet-enabled phones more affordable in low and middle-income countries” 2022 Report, affordability is a key barrier for 3.4 billion people living in areas with mobile broadband coverage but not using mobile internet. The affordability of handsets remains a key barrier to mobile ownership and mobile internet adoption, particularly for women and rural populations.

In Pakistan, 42 percent of cellular subscribers do not use mobile broadband.

Addressing the affordability barrier to mobile phone ownership in Pakistan, Jazz was the first local mobile operator to offer 4G smart feature phones at very affordable prices starting from PKR 4,500.

Upon its purchase, users are provided free access to social media sites and free Jazz-to-Jazz calls during the first three months.

Recently, a new Digit 4G range, the touch screen “Energy” series, was launched offering more RAM, memory and better battery life.

Aamir Ibrahim, CEO Jazz said: “We have always remained focused on our commitment to ensuring digital services are available to everyone. However, one of the key barriers to achieving this ambition is affordability of internet-enabled handsets particularly amongst the women of Pakistan. The successful rollout of the Jazz Digit 4G smart feature phones highlights the potential of launching an industry-wide instalment-based “smartphone for all” programme with an effective regulatory cover to facilitate the purchase of smartphones among low-income groups”.

Julian Gorman, Head of Asia Pacific, GSMA, said: During the Covid-19 pandemic, progress in reducing the substantial mobile internet gap has stalled across low- and middle-income countries, and in some countries the gap has even increased. Against this landscape it is wonderful to see one of our Connected Women Commitment Partners, Jazz, working intentionally to create products like Jazz Digit 4G, which helps to increase access to affordable smartphones and mobile internet, a key challenge for many women. Since 2016, the Connected Women Commitment Partners have reached an additional 55 million women with mobile internet and mobile money services. We remain committed to continuing this work, supporting partners like Jazz to reach even more women and close the gender digital divide.

At Jazz, one of the key priority areas is improving access to smartphones and the internet as these are fundamental requirements to digitally and financially empower millions, enabling them to access education, health and other life-enhancing services. Jazz also has a strong focus on bridging the digital gender gap. As part of the GSMA’s Connected Women Commitment Initiative, Jazz has committed to increasing the proportion of women in its mobile internet customer base by 8 percent by the end of 2023 with a dedicated focus on female smartphone ownership. JazzCash has already met its GSMA Connected Women target two years ahead of time with 22 percent women subscribed to JazzCash wallets.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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