Press Releases

24
March 2007

Gsma Ceo And Prime Minister Aziz Discuss How To Connect The Next 50 Million Mobile Users In Pakistan

Islamabad, March 24th, 2007: The GSM Association, the global trade association for mobile phone operators, recommended to the government of Pakistan that it eliminate the 500 Rupees activation tax paid by consumers and the industry to connect every new mobile phone user in the country. A cut in taxes on mobile communications can boost mobile usage and fuel economic growth while increasing overall tax revenues, according to studies by consultancy Deloitte for the GSMA.

Rob Conway, Chief Executive Officer of the GSMA along with the CEOs from Mobilink, Paktel, Telenor Pakistan, Ufone & Warid, met with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in Islamabad today to congratulate Pakistan on connecting 50 million mobile users and discuss how the country can connect the next 50 million.

The mobile industry can connect the unconnected in Pakistan, but lowering the cost of entry is essential to do that. The activation tax is a significant barrier for people looking to own a mobile phone, said Mr. Conway. With 50 million mobile users and 30% penetration, Pakistan is now a leader in mobile usage in south Asia. The next step is to build on that achievement by eliminating the activation tax and securing further economic and social benefits for the Pakistani people.

The GSMA also released the preliminary results of a study* prepared by leading consultancy Deloitte, which estimates that the mobile industry has created 220,000 high-paying jobs in Pakistan and accounts for 5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and approximately 6% of the total taxes collected by the Central Board of Revenue. The study also found that Pakistan economy and society is benefiting from rising mobile phone usage, which lowers the cost of doing business and improves productivity, while helping families and friends to connect to each other at home and abroad.

Last year, mobile operators invested US$2 billion in Pakistan, 54% of the total foreign direct investment in the country, according to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority. It is very important that the government of Pakistan sends a clear signal to the mobile industry and its investors that it will continue to help operators to connect the unconnected by eliminating the activation tax of 500 Rupees in the next budget, said Mr. Conway.

The GSMA looks forward to working further with the government of Pakistan to use mobile phones to improve information and communication services in Pakistan and drive economic development.

Note to editors
*The study of Pakistan mobile industry by Deloitte for the GSMA will be published in April.

About the GSM Association:
The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing 700 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association's initiatives as key partners.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers. The Association's members serve more than two billion customers - 82% of the world's mobile phone users.

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