LAHORE - The revenue of cellular companies have been hampered by the adverse taxation measures and un-favorable regulatory steps of every successive government in Pakistan, as the new government has raised withholding tax by 5 percent in one jump, which will discourage the revenues.

Telecom industry sources stated that last government made several decisions against the sector by claiming that unregistered SIMs are major cause behind terrorism, resultantly the companies had to delete almost 4.5 million unregistered SIMs from their network in the first three months of the calendar year. Industry sources said that last government suspended the mobile service for nine times due to which telecommunication companies suffered almost Rs7.8 billion losses. Besides this the SIMs selling system was revised several times, due to which now it has become more complicated for a layman. That is why Pakistan failed to maintain its status of a county with highest tele-density among SAARC nations as India has superseded a top position in the region with overwhelming adoption of technology and telephony services by it masses due to less taxation as compared to Pakistan.

They said that Pakistan teledensity remained highest among the countries of South Asia till January 2011 with the modest annual growth continued in the last couple of years despite strict corrective measures and cutting-throat competition was slowed down due to high taxation on the sector by the government. According to PTA statistics, teledensity in Pakistan including fixed, WLL and mobile phone reached all-time high level of 73.5 percent by the end of May 2013 against 72.1 percent in March 2013.

Cellular teledensity alone in Pakistan touched again the 70 percent mark by end of May 2013 as total mobile service subscribers reached 125.12 million. However, cellular teledensity declined in March to 68 percent due to high taxation, action against unregistered SIMs and limitation of only five SIMs on one NIC.

Pakistan’s teledensity is the second highest in South Asia after India that reached 78.10 percent in April 2012 but the overall teledensity in India has decreased to 73.07 percent at the end of January, 2013 due to corrective measures and saturated markets. The Mobilink grabbed 140,433 new consumers in May 2013 making a total of 36.75 million subscribers base, followed by Telenor and Ufone, which added 407,393 and 100,267new connections, respectively in this month, taking the total subscribers base of the companies to 31.7 million and 23.87 million, respectively.

 The subscribers of Zong and Warid stood at 20.2 million and 12.5 million users, respectively by the end of May 2013, as Warid’s consumers base is continuously shrinking for last few years as total users of Warid stood at 17.39 million in 2010-11 but it declined to 12.51 million now.