In a remarkable shift, local manufacturing plants in Pakistan have surged ahead, producing a staggering 13.02 million mobile handsets during the first nine months of 2023 (January-September). This figure starkly overshadows the 1.09 million handsets imported commercially during the same period.
September 2023 alone witnessed the local manufacturing plants assembling 2.15 million mobile handsets, significantly surpassing the 0.25 million imported commercially.
This trend signifies a notable change compared to the preceding year. In 2022, local manufacturing plants managed to assemble 21.94 million mobile handsets, down from the 24.66 million in 2021. This decline is attributed to import challenges, particularly restrictions on the opening of letters of credit (LCs).
According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), of the 21.94 million mobile handsets assembled in 2022, a substantial 9.01 million were 2G devices, with 4.02 million being smartphones. Furthermore, PTA data reveals that 57 percent of mobile devices in Pakistan are smartphones, while the remaining 43 percent are 2G phones.
Despite this surge in local manufacturing, Pakistan’s mobile phone imports for September 2023 surpassed Rs. 37 billion, according to the latest data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). This marked a 13.3 percent increase compared to the previous month, August 2023, when imports were at Rs. 32.7 billion.
For the first three months of the current fiscal year (July-September FY24), imports stood at Rs. 88.95 billion, representing a remarkable 147 percent increase compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year (FY23).
In terms of dollars, September 2023 imports reached $124.51 million, a 12 percent increase from August 2023, and a substantial 113 percent surge from September 2022.
For the period of July-September FY24, imports amounted to $304 million in dollar terms, signifying an 89 percent increase compared to the same period in FY23. This data underscores the shifting landscape of mobile handset production and import dynamics in Pakistan.