The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, with the coordination of telecom operators, will launch the long-awaited initiative of providing mobile handsets in easy installments on January 12, 2024.
The caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Dr Umar Saif, while talking to a group of journalists, mentioned that one telco is also planning to offer Apple iPhone in installments.
In case of failure to pay installments, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) would block the handset on the pattern of Device Identification, Registration, and Blocking System (DIRBS).
The minister said that the aim is to incentivize responsible financial behavior and ensure that smartphone accessibility continues to expand. He said that under this policy, telecom companies will have the opportunity to directly offer smartphones to customers through installment plans, thereby expanding the benefits of mobile broadband, especially among low-income segments in Pakistan.
Dr Saif announced that 5G will be launched in July next year, and 300 MHz spectrum would be offered for auction. From the establishment of the Advisory Committee for Spectrum Auction to the necessary steps to lay the network of optical fiber cables across the country and the effective implementation of the Right of Way Policy, the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SFIC) has removed all departmental hurdles and all decisions in the interest of the country.
He further said that at present, there are about 200,000 kilometers of fiber cable in the country, and 6,000 mobile towers are connected, which need to be upgraded. By expanding the optical fiber cable network, the connectivity will be faster, and better internet facilities will be provided to the user.
Dr Saif disclosed that the government would initiate a project on January 11 to establish 10,000 e-Rozgar Centres across the country that would be equipped with the latest facilities for freelancers and start-ups.