Several sources have claimed that the PTA implements ‘Multi-Finger’ biometric verification rather than Thumb verification. It is the goal of the PTA to improve the level of security via biometric verification. This may lead to a reduction in the number of illicit SIM cards issued by network operators, which would be beneficial to mobile cellular subscribers.
The potential for fraud and the number of incidents of it are rising along with the percentage of people who use mobile phones and the rate at which new SIM cards are issued. The total number of cellular customers in Pakistan dropped from 194.75 million at the end of August 2022 to 194.14 million at the end of September. This is a fall of 0.61 million users.
By the end of September 2022, the teledensity for cellular mobile had dropped to 87.98 per cent, down from 88.21 per cent at the end of August 2022. The end of September saw a decline in the overall teledensity, which went from 89.4 per cent in August to 89.17 per cent at the end of the month. The number of people in Pakistan who utilise 3G and 4G networks rose by 0.75 million between August 2022 and the end of September 2022, bringing the total to 120.59 million.
Regarding the multi-finger biometric verification, a high-ranking official with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) stated that the telecom indicators data depicts a decrease in the number of total mobile subscriptions in Pakistan from 194.7 million to 194.14 million, which is equivalent to a reduction of 0.31 per cent in September 2022. On the other hand, September saw a healthy increase in 3G and 4G customers (0.63 per cent). It’s possible that the following factors contributed to the overall decrease in subscriptions:
- PTA initiated multiple fingers biometric verification activity for stronger SIM authentication and to counter the issue of illegal SIM sales at the franchise/resellers level. This could result in the decline of illicit issuance of SIM by operators, reducing mobile cellular subscriptions.
- It is possible that the decrease in sales of SIM cards in September 2022 was caused by the extraordinary and disastrous floods that struck Pakistan across three provinces, where almost one-third of the population was affected.
- In August 2022, the overall number of mobile customers witnessed negative growth of 0.26 per cent, which may have been caused by the recycling and cleaning of SIMS operations that CMOs regularly carry out.
Every industry is dealing with a growth in the number of customers using 4G networks, while the number of customers using 3G networks is steadily declining. The overall number of 3G subscribers on the Pakistani mobile network Jazz decreased from 5.653 million at the end of August to 5.456 million at the end of September, representing a reduction of 0.197 million customers. Jazz is undoubtedly the largest and most utilised mobile network in Pakistan. The number of customers using Jazz 4G increased from 39.965 million at the end of August to 40.485 million at the end of September.
While the number of Zong 4G customers climbed from 30.218 million in August to 30.571 million at the end of September, the number of Zong 3G subscribers declined from 3.023 million in August to 2.933 million in September. Similarly, the number of Telenor customers using 3G services declined from 3.365 million at the end of August to 3.260 million at the end of September. On the other hand, the number of Telenor customers using 4G services climbed from 22.523 million to 22.534 million during the same period.
At the end of September, the number of people using Ufone 3G dropped to 3.219 million from 3.398 million the previous month. The number of people using Ufone’s 4G service climbed from 10.292 million at the end of August to 10.703 million at the end of September, representing an increase of 0.411 million for the period under consideration.
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