Widespread connectivity, combined with the multiplying factor of emerging technologies, will have great power to change the lives of people, says Ahmed Shamim Pirzada, Director of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
During an interview held at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 (PP-18) in Dubai, he explained what his government is doing to bring connectivity and relevant digital services to Pakistani people.
The government’s ‘Digital Pakistan’ policy focuses on all 17 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said Pirzada.
“In 2014, there were only 13 million mobile broadband subscribers [in Pakistan] but now we have 62 million broadband subscribers out of it 59 million are mobiles.”
With help from their Universal Service Fund (USF), Pakistan is providing basic telephony and 3G services to 8 million subscribers in 6,000 villages, he said. In addition, optical fiber is being laid down across 5,100 km to connect 79 counties in hard-to-reach areas, he added.
“In 2014, there were only 13 million mobile broadband subscribers [in Pakistan] but now we have 62 million broadband subscribers out of it 59 million are mobiles,” said Pirzada, stressing broadbands’ larger economic impact.
He also pointed out that the government of Pakistan, in collaboration with Microsoft, has introduced a programme to give women and girls skills and employment opportunities in the ICT sector.
The Pakistani government is also focusing on e-commerce. “The government … has created a third-party service provider facility to the bank to the operators so that e-transaction can be made by the consumers,” said Pirzada.
“In addition, the world giant Alibaba [has] also taken interest in Pakistani e-commerce, and they have signed an MoU with [the] Trade Development Authority to bring SMEs [to] the realm of e-commerce. In Pakistan, e-commerce volume is [worth] 462 hundred million US dollars and we are anticipating it [will rise] to 1 billion US dollars by 2020.”
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