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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Monday initiated multiple fingers biometric verification activity for stronger SIM authentication and to counter the issue of illegal SIM sales at franchise/resellers level, it is learnt.

Official sources revealed to Business Recorder that the exercise of biometric verification activity may result into decline of illegal SIM issuance by operators that resulted in decline in cellular mobile subscription.

The number of cellular subscribers as well as teledensity declined for the second consecutive month in Pakistan during September 2022.

The number of cellular subscribers in Pakistan decreased by 0.61 million to 194.14 million by end-September compared to 194.75 million by end-August 2022.

The teledensity for cellular mobile decreased from 88.21 percent by end-August 2022 to 87.98 percent by end-September.

The total teledensity decreased from 89.4 percent by August to 89.17 percent by end-September. The number of 3G and 4G users in Pakistan increased by 0.75 million from 119.84 million by end-August 2022 to 120.59 million by end-September.

The Monthly Next Generation Mobile Service (NGMS) penetration increased from 54.35 percent by end-August to 54.65 percent by end-September.

In response to Business Recorder queries, top PTA official stated that telecom indicators data depicts a decline in the number of total mobile subscription in Pakistan from 194.7 million to 194.14 million i.e. 0.31 percent decrease in the month of September 2022.

However, positive growth in 3G/4G subscribers is experienced in September (0.63 percent). Possible reasons for decline in total subscription could be; (i) PTA Initiated multiple fingers biometric verification activity for stronger SIM authentication and to counter the issue of illegal SIM sales at franchise /resellers level which may result into decline of illegal SIM issuance by operators that resulted in decline in cellular mobile subscription; (ii) Pakistan witnessed unprecedented devastating floods across three provinces where about 1/3rd of the population was inundated, this could be reason for decline in SIM sales in the month of September, 2022; (iii) in August 2022 total mobile subscribers growth also experienced negative growth (0. 26 percent which could be due to recycling/ cleaning of SIMS activities that CMOs carry out on regular basis.

Jazz’s total count for 3G users declined from 5.653 million by end-August to 5.456 million by end-September registering a decrease of 0.197 million. Jazz 4G users jumped from 39.965 million by end-August to 40.485 million by end-September.

Zong 3G subscribers decreased from 3.023 million by August to 2.933 million by end-September, while the number of 4G users increased from 30.218 million by August to 30.571 million by end-September.

Telenor 3G subscribers decreased from 3.365 million by end-August to 3.260 million by end-September while the number of 4G users of Telenor increased from 22.523 million by end-August to 22.534 million by end-September.

Ufone 3G users stood at 3.219 million by end-September compared to 3.398 million by end-August. The number of 4G users of Ufone increased from 10.292 million by end-August to 10.703 million by end-September, registering a 0.411 million increase during the period under review.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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