(Islamabad: 20th June, 2019) Reference Hootsuite’s report titled “Digital 2019 (Pakistan)” which depicts ICT development in Pakistan through ICT indicators, it is clarified that there are discrepancies in data presented in the report regarding ICT indicators of Pakistan. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is the only authentic source for ICT & Telecom data in Pakistan which is collected from cellular mobile operators (CMOs) and other telecom operators. The data mentioned by aforementioned report is quite different from the one published by PTA on its website (www.pta.gov.pk) for the same time period.
Contrary to facts, the report depicts much lower figures of internet users and penetration (mobile and fixed) of internet in Pakistan. It also gives an erroneous score to Pakistan with regards to affordability of devices and services which is against factual evidence. Hootsuite reports 44.61 million internet subscribers in Pakistan with penetration of 22% in January 2019 whereas actual figures for mobile & fixed broadband were 65.13 million with penetration of 31.19% (January, 2019). Hence, Hootsuite failed to mention approximately 20.52 million subscribers and 9% internet penetration in Pakistan. Moreover, there has been substantial growth of about 25.8% in internet subscribers from January 2018 to January 2019.
The report also gives Pakistan a score of 56.37 out of 100 in terms of affordability of devices and services, and has ranked Pakistan below India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Bangladesh in the region. Whereas, reputable organizations like Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ranked Pakistan better than Hootsuite for the affordability of mobile services. A4AI has ranked Pakistan at the 28th position compared to India’s 35th and Bangladesh’s 46th whereas, ITU has awarded a much better ranking to Pakistan at 78th in comparison to India’s 105th and Bangladesh’s 95th in Mobile Broadband Basket.
To evaluate Pakistan’s score in terms of affordability of devices and services as mentioned in the report, PTA tried obtaining data and calculations, however, no details could be found in the report and the referred source i.e. mobile connectivity index is also not accessible. PTA also approached Hootsuite but no appropriate response was provided.
Khurram A. Mehran