Pakistan set to approve conversion of 2G phones to smartphones

2G phones to smartphones

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet is set to approve a plan to convert 48 percent of outdated 2G mobile phones into smartphones.

Sources revealed that the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom has submitted a draft summary under section 8(2A) of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Reorganization) Act 1996 to seek approval for boosting smartphone penetration.

According to sources, Pakistan currently has 190 million mobile phone users, with 48 percent using outdated 2G mobile sets, while the rest employ smartphones equipped with 3G and 4G technology.

In collaboration with telecom operators, the Ministry of IT&T has devised various plans, including facilitating the availability of smartphones through installment plans. Under the proposed scheme, mobile operators will present diverse packages for users to acquire smartphones through installment payments.

It’s worth noting that Jazz is already extending three to six-month offers to middle and low-income individuals, allowing them to own a smartphone. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) will block the IMEI of mobile phones if users fail to make their installment payments on time.

Govt to launch iPhone instalment plan from Jan 12: IT minister

Market players suggest that phone loans remain unsecured in Pakistan, primarily available for credit card customers using their cards as collateral. Given the limited credit card ownership in Pakistan, especially among prepaid SIM users, long-term incentives for this demographic remain uncertain.

Another challenge lies in network locks, as globally, IMEI numbers of phones on installments are restricted to one network’s SIM to ensure the telco’s incentive for providing phones on installment plans.

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