According to official data, local manufacturing plants in Pakistan have successfully manufactured and assembled 4.88 million mobile handsets during the first five months (January-May) of 2023. This figure stands in stark contrast to the mere 0.41 million handsets that were commercially imported during the same period.
For the month of May 2023, local manufacturing plants contributed 1.44 million mobile handsets, while commercial imports lagged behind at 0.11 million.
However, it is worth noting that the local manufacturing industry experienced a decline in production during the calendar year 2022, manufacturing 21.94 million mobile handsets compared to the 24.66 million produced in 2021. This decline can be attributed to import issues caused by restrictions on the opening of letters of credit (LCs).
Providing additional insight, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) disclosed that out of the 21.94 million mobile handsets assembled in 2022, only 1.53 million were commercially imported.
Of the 4.88 million locally manufactured and assembled mobile handsets, 4 million were 2G phones, while 0.88 million were smartphones.
Furthermore, the PTA data reveals that smartphones accounted for 56 per cent of the mobile devices used in Pakistan, while 44 per cent were 2G phones.
Moving on to imports, Pakistan imported mobile phones valued at $516.488 million during the first 11 months (July-May) of the current fiscal year 2022-23, indicating a significant negative growth rate of 73.46 per cent compared to the $1.946 billion imported during the same period last year.
In May 2023, the country experienced a remarkable 308 per cent month-on-month increase in mobile phone imports, reaching $43.201 million. This figure surpasses the $10.587 million worth of imports recorded in April 2023, as reported by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
When compared to May 2022, however, mobile phone imports in May 2023 exhibited a negative growth rate of 68.52 per cent, with the value dropping to $137.212 million.
Taking a broader view of the telecom industry, overall imports into Pakistan amounted to $860.441 million during the July-May 2023 period. This marks a substantial negative growth rate of 66.87 per cent compared to the $2.597 billion recorded during the same period in the previous fiscal year.