According to figures from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), Pakistan imported mobile phones worth $2.065 billion in 2020-21, up from $1.369 billion in 2019-20. This represents a 50.75 percent increase.
Overall telecom imports into the country climbed by 39.33 percent during the review period (July-June) 2020-21, rising from $1.861 billion in 2019-20 to $2.593 billion in 2020-21.
When compared to the same month the previous year, mobile phone imports into Pakistan declined by 11.51 percent in June 2021. Imports of mobile phones totaled $204.676 million in June 2021, compared to $331.302 million in June 2020.
In June 2021, mobile phone imports climbed by 16.62 percent month over month, to $175.501 million, compared to $175.501 million in May 2021.
When compared to the same month the previous year, overall telecom imports into Pakistan declined by 6.30 percent in June 2021. Imports of telecom equipment totaled $255.943 million in June 2021, compared to $273.166 million in June 2020.
In June 2021, overall telecom imports climbed by 16.02 percent month over month, to $220.599 million, compared to $220.599 million in May 2021.
Imports of other apparatus climbed by 7.48 percent in July-June (2020-21), rising from $491.163 million in 2019-20 to $527.879 million in 2020-21.
The Mobile Device Production policy has been adopted, according to the Economic Survey 2019-20, to boost local manufacturing and assembly of mobile handsets. Pakistan has a low-cost labour advantage, a reasonably large home market of over 178 million subscribers (up about 1% per month in the last year), 83.3 percent teledensity, and an efficient Device Identification, Registration, and Blocking System (DIRBS) in place, all of which make Pakistan an appealing market for mobile assembly.
Due to the introduction of DIRBS, legal imports have increased significantly, and local manufacturing has also picked up.
Impacts of DIRBS on the economy:
- PTA has blocked 175 thousand devices IMEI reported as stolen through DIRBS
- The system has also identified and blocked 26.03 million fake/replica mobile devices since 2019, identified as programmed with non-GSMA formation
- The system has been successfully able to identify cloned/duplicated IMEI, whereby 657,645 IMEI were cloned against 4.24 million MSISDN
The introduction of DIRBS has had a huge impact on the development of the mobile device ecosystem, as companies now compete on an equal footing.
According to DIRBS data, there has been a significant increase in the usage of 4G devices connected to local mobile networks, as well as a drop in the use of 2G and 3G devices, with consumer preferences turning toward 4G functionality devices.