Communications in Pakistan

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Telecom sector is seeing exorbitant growth in Pakistan. The sector is said to be growing at a fast pace yearly. Mobile subscribers are more than 100 million as of Oct 2010. In fact Pakistan has the highest mobile penetration rate in the South Asian region. According to the PTA, Mobilink continues to lead the market with 31.4 million subscribers, followed by Telenor (24.01 million), Ufone (20.18 million), Warid Telecom (17.16 million) and Zong (7.78 million). All Telecom companies are now working to broaden their network in Pakistan Azad(free) Jamu and Kashmir and Northern Areas, which were normally ignored till now. Till now 5 agencies of tribal areas are covered for mobile service.[1]

Telephone system

The telecom infrastructure is improving dramatically with foreign and domestic investments into fixed-line and mobile networks; fiber systems are being constructed throughout the country to aid in network growth. Major businesses have established their own private systems; since 1988, the government has promoted investment in the national telecommunications system on a priority basis, significantly increasing network capacity. There are currently 7 million landline subscribers in the country.

microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, fiber-optic cable, cellular, and satellite

For local calls the code used is non-STD. For calls to other cities (e.g. Karachi to Lahore) the code is called STD. For International calls the code used is ISD.

When dialing on landlines, calls made within cities are considered local calls. Calls to other cities (e.g. Karachi to Lahore) are considered long distance calls and are metered according to distance. (e.g. When dialing to Lahore from Karachi you have to dial the code for Lahore then followed by the number of the destination, therefore you dial 0423-XXX-XXXX ). For local calls, you just dial the local number. For international calls, you dial "00" followed by the country code. (e.g. For calls to the UK from Pakistan you dial 00 - 44 - XXXXXX ).

satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean); 3 operational international gateway exchanges (2 at Karachi and 1 at Islamabad); microwave radio relay to neighboring countries.


Internet access has been available in Pakistan since the early 1990s. PTCL started offering access via the nationwide local call network in 1995. By early 2006 Internet penetration remained low. But the numbers are growing. The country has been pursuing an aggressive IT policy, aimed at boosting Pakistan’s drive for economic modernization and creating an exportable software industry. Recently, PTCL has started offering free dial-up internet service to all its landline subscribers. Broadband access is now available in the major cities. Also wireless broadband internet has been introduced by the WLL(Wireless Local Loop) Networks in many major cities. WiMAX networks are also being deployed in the country. FTTU - Fiber to the User triple-services are being offered by Nayatel in the capital city of Islamabad. In 2008, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority reported over 22 million internet users. Most Pakistani companies, Educational institutes and government departments maintain web sites which has further increased the demand for internet.

Broadband internet access

Broadband was first introduced in Pakistan in 1995 by Telstra [ Australian telecom company] with the design of the repeater huts being done by Designman – an Islamabad civil engineering firm [2]. The first and only official cable internet service was launched in 2000 by a company named WorldCall[2] under the brand name of GO4B. The First DSL service was launched by Micro Net in Islamabad/Rawalpindi in 2002. Pakistan had almost 128 ISPs in 2007 with internet users being concentrated in the areas of Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.

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