Several sources have suggested that PTA has decided to implement multi-finger biometrics instead of a simple thumb check. PTA aims to exercise a better sense of security with biometric verification and this may lead to the decline of illegal issuance of SIM cards by carriers that harm cellular mobile subscriptions.
With the increasing number of mobile SIM card users and more SIM cards being registered every day, the threat and risk of fraud is also increasing. The number of cellular subscribers in Pakistan fell by 0.61 million to 194.14 million at the end of September, from 194.75 million at the end of August 2022.
Cellular mobile teledensity fell from 88.21% at the end of August 2022 to 87.98% at the end of September. Total teledensity fell from 89.4% in August to 89.17% at the end of September. The number of 3G and 4G users in Pakistan increased by 0.75 million, from 119.84 million at the end of August 2022 to 120.59 million at the end of September.
A senior PTA official said that with regards to multi-finger biometric verification, telecom indicator data depicts a decline in total mobile subscriptions in Pakistan from 194.7 million to 194.14 million, i.e. a drop of 0.31% in September 2022. However, positive growth in 3G/4G subscribers was recorded in September (0.63%). Possible reasons for the drop in the total number of subscriptions could be:
- PTA has launched a multi-finger biometric verification business for stronger SIM authentication and to counter the problem of illegal SIM sales at franchise/dealer level, which may lead to the decline of illegal issuance of SIMs by operators , leading to a drop in cellular mobile subscriptions
- Pakistan has experienced unprecedented devastating floods in three provinces where about 1/3 of the population was flooded, this could be a reason for the drop in SIM card sales in the month of September 2022
- In August 2022, the total mobile subscriber growth also saw negative growth (0.26%, which could be due to the recycling/cleaning up of SIMS activities that CMOs regularly perform
Every business is facing an increase in the number of 4G users and the number of 3G users is decreasing day by day. Jazz, possibly the largest and most widely used mobile network in Pakistan, the total number of 3G users fell from 5.653 million at the end of August to 5.456 million at the end of September, registering a drop of 0.197 million. Jazz 4G users grew from 39.965 million at the end of August to 40.485 million at the end of September.
The number of 3G subscribers in Zong rose from 3.023 million in August to 2.933 million at the end of September, while the number of 4G users rose from 30.218 million in August to 30.571 million at the end of September. Similarly, Telenor 3G subscribers increased from 3.365 million at the end of August to 3.260 million at the end of September while the number of Telenor 4G users increased from 22.523 million at the end of August to 22.534 million at the end of September.
Ufone 3G users stood at 3.219 million at the end of September against 3.398 million at the end of August. The number of Ufone 4G users increased from 10.292 million at the end of August to 10.703 million at the end of September, registering an increase of 0.411 million during the period under review.