This is a snapshot of mobile industry’s growth in Pakistan in year 2006. By many measures 2006 was an amazing year for Pakistan’s mobile companies. The total subscribers reached 48.2 million, translating to mobile density of 31%. Two new companies – Warid and Telenor – entered the mobile marketplace and the increased competition from them spurred growth in Pakistan’s mobile sector. Ufone and Mobilink announced major network investment plans. Marketing campaigns were at the centre of Pakistan’s mobile growth. And most recently the uncertainty about future of Paktel ended with China Mobile buying it.

Government regulators at PTA must be pleasantly surprised by all this growth in 2006 but they have a lot more to take care of in 2007. One important upcoming change is the much anticipated, but delayed, mobile number portability implementation.

Here are the numbers and market share at the end of 2006 (source: PTA web site)

Mobilink leads with over 22 million customers but its market share has declined to 46%. Ufone is next with over 10 million customers. Warid has over 7.6 million and Telenor about 6.6 million. Paktel has 1.3 million customers and Instaphone has only 0.25 million customers.

According to some analysts Pakistan is likely join the small group of countries with over 100 million mobile subscribers during the second half of 2008, and that by the end of 2010, there could be over 120 million cellular customers in Pakistan. Lets hope that this growth does not come at the cost of quality or service.

For more about the mobile companies in Pakistan see my earlier post here.