Pakistan’s mobile phone imports surged by 181.26 per cent during the first nine months (July-March) of the fiscal year 2023-24, reaching $1.301 billion, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). 

This significant increase is in stark contrast to the $462.700 million recorded during the same period in the previous fiscal year.

Despite this year-long surge, March 2024 saw a slight decline in mobile phone imports on a month-on-month (MoM) basis, with imports totaling $153.051 million, a 4.87 per cent decrease from February 2024’s $160.90 million.


However, on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, mobile phone imports experienced a remarkable 930.92 per cent growth in March 2024, as compared to $14.846 million in March 2023.

The overall telecom imports also reflected similar trends. During the first nine months of the fiscal year, total telecom imports reached $1.623 billion, representing a 117.90 per cent increase from $744.971 million during the same period of the previous fiscal year.

On a YoY basis, telecom imports rose by 422.58 per cent, totaling $189.042 million in March 2024 compared to $36.175 million in March 2023. However, on a MoM basis, telecom imports saw a slight decline of 1.13 per cent in March 2024, down from $191.201 million in February 2024.

Meanwhile, local manufacturing and assembling of mobile handsets continued to be an area of focus. During the first two months (January-February) of the calendar year 2024, local plants manufactured or assembled 6.1 million mobile handsets, which included 2.78 million 2G and 3.35 million smartphones. 

This was in stark contrast to the 0.3 million units that were imported commercially during the same period.

In February 2024, local plants manufactured or assembled 3.83 million mobile handsets, significantly higher than the 0.06 million units imported commercially. 

Notably, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) reported that 60 per cent of mobile devices on the Pakistan network are smartphones, while the remaining 40 per cent are 2G.

Despite robust local manufacturing efforts, official data indicated that local manufacturing and assembling of mobile handsets declined by around four per cent during the calendar year 2023. 

This decline is attributed to challenges in importing mobile phone accessories due to restrictions on the opening of letters of credit (LCs). 

Nonetheless, commercial imports of mobile handsets increased during this period, suggesting a shift in strategy to meet the demand for mobile phones in the face of supply chain disruptions.

The data presents a complex picture of Pakistan’s mobile phone industry, with significant growth in imports and shifts in local manufacturing dynamics. 

The continued growth in imports highlights the demand for mobile technology, while local manufacturing faces challenges that could shape the future of the telecom sector.