Cell phones users may rise to 50m in 4 yrs
ISLAMABAD: The number of cell phones users in the country is likely to grow to 50 million in the next four years, Babar Khan, president and chief executive Ufone told reporters on Saturday.
He said that the expansion in the cell phones in Pakistan is expected to attract investment between $2 billion to $3 billion in coming four years.
“There is enormous potential of growth in the cell phones and in last couple of years the sector has depicted an unprecedented increase,” he said and added that the number of cell phones has expanded to over seven million till end-December as compared to less than three million a year ago.
He said that his company is not facing any threat from the two new companies, launching their cell phones service shortly as Ufone is not only expanding its network, but providing quality service to its customers.
Mr Khan said that the Ufone has expanded its market share to 25 percent to 26 percent in 2004 and the company is expanding its network within this month to further capture two million more customers this year. By the end of December, the company has enhanced its customer base to 1.9 million, recording a 130 percent growth over the previous year.
“Within this year the customers strength of Ufone will exceed four million,” Mr Khan told reporters. The company is spending $166 million on the expansion of phase-IV and the process of expansion will continue, he added.
Tough competition: Tough competition is going on in the cell phone market in the country and it will further intensify with the launching of two new companies, Alwarid and Nortel, he said.
He further said that Ufone is installing its new switches in Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad and Islamabad to meet the network expansion requirements. But he said that cell phone operators are facing shortage of technical and professional staff as these people are frequently moving jobs to capitalize on the high demand. “We hired well trained technical and professional people from the market and we also lost some good people because of competition,” he said and added that the cell phone operators are offering new connections at zero charges and even are paying Rs 1,000 government tax from their own resources. —Staff Report