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Mobile broadband services are currently being restored, a Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) official told Business Recorder on Friday.

“Instructions (on unblocking social media websites) is also expected soon,” the official said, just as when Twitter and YouTube also came back online in Pakistan.

The development comes hours after it was reported that there was little clarity over when the government would end suspension of mobile broadband services as there had been no communiqué by the government since it placed the ban.

On Tuesday, the government blocked mobile broadband and social media websites in the aftermath of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest and subsequent unrest in the country.

Impact of suspension

The suspension led to widescale criticism with telecommunication companies in Pakistan citing a loss of Rs2.46 billion in revenue, which translates to a dent of Rs861 million in taxation.

An official from a telecom company stated that companies earned around 60% of revenues from mobile broadband services. When divided by 365 days, daily revenues are around Rs820 million. Meanwhile, 35% of the revenue enters the government’s kitty.

The assessment is based on the fact that telecommunication companies earned around Rs500 billion from cellular services last year.

‘Far-reaching effects’: GSMA urges Pakistan to restore internet services

“The telcos’ costs haven’t come down from this suspension because they are keeping their towers operational,” the source said. “It is certainly affecting profitability.”

Meanwhile, the IT sector also struggled as officials associated with the industry stated that they lost $2 million on a daily basis as they were unable to render freelance services to global clients. T

Reports claimed that a global online marketplace for freelance services Fiverr started telling its users that Pakistan is facing internet disruptions, which may result in delays by the country’s freelancers in providing services.

Meanwhile, the gig economy also took a hit due to the suspension of broadband services as most of the riders of Foodpanda, Careem and Bykea remained idle.

As mobile broadband remains suspended, Careem launches ‘helpline’ bookings in Karachi

According to a Reuters report, point-of-sales (POS) transactions routed through main digital payment systems also fell by around 50% mainly due to mobile broadband services suspension.


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