Pakistan’s mobile data segment expanded by 18.1% in January 2015, with mobile operators adding 1.932 million net new 3G and 4G users in that month, compared to net adds of 1.898 million in December 2014 and 1.057 million the month before that, according to recent data released by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). There were 9.072 million 3G and 4G customers at the end of January 2015, of which 9.023 million were 3G customers whilst the regulator counted 49,098 4G customers at that date, up from just 2,242 the previous month, thanks to the launch of Warid’s 4G network, which added 44,075 Long Term Evolution (LTE) subscriptions in January 2015.
Telenor led the sector with 2.741 million 3G subscribers as at 31 January 2015 (up 20.8% compared to the previous month), having overtaken Ufone – the mobile arm of fixed line incumbent Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) – in December 2014, although the latter was next in line, with 2.254 million (+15.4%) 3G users. Mobilink, the last of the nation’s cellcos to launch 3G services, claimed 2.178 million 3G subscribers, up 21.3% from 1.796 million the previous month. Despite its deep pockets and its technological advantage, Chinese-backed Zong has been left in the dust by its competitors, with 1.85 million 3G users and 5,023 LTE subscribers – representing around 10% of the 4G market, despite having nearly a six month lead on Warid, its sole competitor in that segment.