Internet in Pakistan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Internet in Pakistan has been available since the early 1990s. Pakistan has about 130 million internet users, making it the 7th-largest population of internet users in the world.[1][2]

Information and communications technology (ICT) is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. In 2001 just 1.3% of the population used the Internet. By 2006 this figure had grown to 6.5% and in 2012 to 10.0%. As of July 2021; the percentage of internet users in Pakistan is 54%, which translates into approximately 118 million citizens having access to internet.[2]

In 2015 Government of Pakistan (GoP) recognised that Telecommunication has become one of the dominant sectors in the economy, contributing to the well-being of society and a major contributor to GDP thus introduced a Telecommunication Policy 2015. The Telecom Policy 2015 aims to facilitate the attainment of an all-embracing national agenda and to transform Pakistan into an economically vibrant, knowledge-based, middle-income country by 2025.[3]



There are over 150 operational internet service providers in Pakistan[6] offering broadband over different mediums, primarily DSL, which is now being phased out and replaced with FTTH in major cities across the country.

High speed fiber-optic broadband is offered by all major ISPs with plans ranging from 10 Mbit/s to 300 Mbit/s.

Internet Backhaul[edit]

As of October 2023, Pakistan is connected to the rest of the world through seven fiber-optic submarine communications cables.[7]

Submarine communications cables in Pakistan
Operator Submarine Cable

(Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited)

Transworld Associates

Inadequate infrastructure is adversely impacting Internet speeds, encompassing technology, available backhaul, and international Internet bandwidth. This is the primary reason why Pakistan's internet speeds lag behind those of neighboring countries and even some less developed nations worldwide.[9]

Mobile Broadband[edit]

In areas where fixed line broadband is not available due to poor infrastructure, LTE based mobile broadband is used. Mobile broadband crossed 100 million subscribers in April 2021.[10]

Starting in 2019, three of the four local mobile networks began rolling out LTE-A and other technological advancements such as 256-QAM and 4x4 MIMO to cell sites across the country, as part of their efforts to improve the user experience for mobile broadband subscribers.[11][12][13]

On 22 August 2019, Pakistan became the first South Asian country to test 5G services. The successful tests were conducted by Pakistani telecom company Zong.[14][15][16]


Most Internet usage in Pakistan is still in English. Many Urdu based newspapers maintain an Urdu presence on the web, however, common usage is often done in romanized Urdu.[17]

Right of way draft rules 2018[edit]

Major hindrance in providing internet services in Pakistan is acquiring Right of Way from public and private authorities (Owners of Right of Way) Over the last few years, there have been many instances reported to PTA and MoIT&T related to Right-of-Way (RoW) disputes. These have come from telecom operators who cite undue demands from various public bodies (owners of RoW). MoIT&T began a process of consultation with all relevant stakeholders to develop a standard mechanism for addressing the long-standing issue of RoW being faced by telecom operators and has prepared draft RoW rules. The Telecom Authority (PTA) is actively pursuing and participating in finalizing the RoW Rules in the larger interest of the telecom sector.[18]


Pakistan e-commerce industry is worth an estimated US$4 billion.[19] According to the Oxford Dictionary, e-commerce refers to commercial transactions conducted electronically on the internet.[20]

Pakistan's first e-commerce company was started in 2001 with the establishment of by Abid Beli. Since then the market has grown steadily until 2012, which was an inflection point in the industry.[21]

In 2018, Government of Pakistan reformulated the Digital Pakistan Policy: one that takes into account its increasingly transformed role across all sectors of socio-economic development; their accelerated digitization, and transformational modernization into integrated components of a holistic knowledge based economy. With this in mind, Ministry of IT & Telecom (MoIT) has formulated this policy document based on a multi-stakeholder model which includes infrastructure development, digitization including e-Agriculture, e-Health, e-Energy, e-Commerce, e-Justice, ICT Education, IoT, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, Cloud Computing and Big Data[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Telecom Indicators | PTA".
  2. ^ a b "Country's internet penetration stands at 54%". The Express Tribune. 30 July 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "Telecom Indicators | PTA". Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. 1 January 2024. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  5. ^ "Pakistan Country Report", The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency, United States, 14 June 2011.
  6. ^ a b "List of FLL Operators | PTA" (PDF). Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. 12 January 2024. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  7. ^ "Submarine Cable Landing Stations of Pakistan" (PDF). Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. 6 October 2023. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  8. ^ "SEA-ME-WE 6 - Submarine Networks". Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  9. ^ Ahmadani, Ahmad (28 February 2021). "Why is Pakistan's internet so slow?". Profit by Pakistan Today. Retrieved 19 September 2023.
  10. ^ "Broadband subscriptions reach 100m in Pakistan". Dawn. 3 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Zong 4G - Achieving a Digitally Connected and Innovative Pakistan". 19 January 2022. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  12. ^ "Media Center Detail Jazz Super 4g Upgrades Technology With L900 To Become An Even Faster Mobile Network - Jazz". Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Telenor Pakistan launches LTE-A network". Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  14. ^ "Pakistan becomes first South Asian country to test 5G services". 22 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Zong successfully test 5G in Pakistan". Business Recorder. 22 August 2019.
  16. ^ "'Pakistan on short list of 5G-ready countries with Zong's successful trial'". Dawn. 22 August 2019.
  17. ^ "Urdu on the internet", Ammara Khan, Spider Magazine, reprinted by Dawn News, 29 August 2012.
  18. ^ "PTA Annual Report 2018-19".
  19. ^ "The eCommerce market in Pakistan". e-commerce database. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  20. ^ "A Look Into Pakistan's E-Commerce Industry". Pakwm. 17 April 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2021.
  21. ^ "Pakistan the next frontier for entrepreneurs and investors". TechinAsia. 23 April 2013.
  22. ^ MoITT. "Digital Pakistan Policy" (PDF).

External links[edit]