Pakistani operators lose millions due to block
Pakistani mobile operators say they have incurred losses of millions of rupees due to the suspension of mobile services in fifteen cities. The Ministry of Interior ordered the suspension of mobile services for around ten to twelve hours on 21 September over security concerns. Estimates put revenues per day around PKR 807 million and as the suspension was during business hours losses from the blockages are put around that figure.
Industry insiders fear that the damage is not limited to the duration of the blockade as the frequent use of this tactic will in the long run impact profits; morale; and investor confidence.
An industry analyst said that telecom sector’s contribution to Pakistan’s GDP declined in the financial year 2010-11 due to a drop in profits and that such measures would hit it further.
“Eventually, the government will be affected as investors will be less enthusiastic about the upcoming 3G licences auction,” he said.
Meanwhile, advocacy and policy organization Bolo Bhi has criticized the move strongly saying that blocking mobile services causes problems for home security, tracking services, and emergency services. The group urged the government to explain how such measures improve security and also called on the government to draft alternative plans to improve security without blocking mobile services.