February 04, 2020


(Islamabad: 4th January, 2020): Apropos a news item titled “DIRBS implementation by PTA: Smartphone subscribers base of 3G/4G drastically down” published in The News on 3rd February 2020, it is clarified that the news item presents an incorrect picture of the Device Identification Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS). Moreover, no comment was sought from PTA regarding this news item.

Contrary to the assumption made in the news item, 4G devices connected to mobile operator networks increased from 16% in January 2018 to 31% as of Dec 2019. Whereas, 3G devices connected to mobile operator networks has decreased from 19% in January 2018 to 13% as of Dec 2019. This reflects that users are preferring to migrate/utilize 4G based devices over 3G.

Moreover, mobile broadband (BB) penetration also increased from 51.8 million subscribers in Jan, 2018 to 76.8 million in Nov, 2019 showing an increase of 25 million due to increased usage of smart phones.

In 2019, a significant increase in mobile devices import was seen with total of 28.02 million mobile devices (16.28 million complete units & 11.74 million locally assembled) were imported. Whereas, in 2018 a total of 17.26 million devices (12.06 million complete units & 5.2 million locally assembled) were imported. It is an increase of 62% in total mobile devices in 2019 and reflects substantial increase in import via formal channels due to implementation of DIRBS.

The import of smart phones in 2018 (Jan-Dec) was 7.24 Million, whereas import of smart phones in 2019 (Jan-Dec) stands at 9.81 million. Apart from smart phones, other SIM based devices such as IOT, Dongles, Tablets etc. imported in 2018 (Jan-Dec) were 4.82 million, whereas 6.46 million devices were imported in 2019 (Jan-Dec).

It is pertinent to mention that since implementation of PTA DIRBS, the use of fake, sub-standard mobile devices being imported via informal and illegal channels has been significantly curbed.