Syed Amin ul Haque, Minister of Information Technology and Telecommunications, has announced that the government is encouraging cellular companies to produce and assemble mobile phones in the country in order to lower cell phone prices.
“We want our people to be able to buy a good quality cell phone for Rs 8,000 to Rs12,000 instead of paying Rs 50,000 to Rs 100,000,” he said, according to a news release, while inaugurating the Information Technology Park at Hyderabad Institute of Arts, Science and Technology.
He argues that if previous governments had planned this much sooner, mobile phone rates would have been lower and more job opportunities would have been generated in the country.
He was also present at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) and the Hyderabad Institute of Arts, Science, and Technology (HIAST).
He called the MoU a “significant achievement,” saying it covered a wide range of cooperation, including the development of a software technology park on the university campus, capacity building, online training, and establishing ties between academia and industry, as well as assisting IT startups and freelancers.
Currently, he said, 16 software technology parks with 1,169,500 square feet of space are providing state-of-the-art facilities to technology companies across the world.
He reported that the country’s IT industry had experienced substantial expansion and growth in exports, but that it was still primarily concentrated in Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore.
“We need to increase 4G penetration to 50% before introducing 5G,” Amin-ul-Haque told the crowd, adding that 4G internet users currently account for 41% of all mobile internet users.
He reported that 1.4 million new 4G users were added per month, and that at the current rate, the desired percentage of 4G mobile internet users will be achieved by the end of 2021.
The minister claimed that the government is attempting to offer 3G and 4G internet services in areas where they are currently inaccessible. He reported that so far, Rs 21.9 billion had been spent on expanding those services.
Amin ul Haque said that soon after taking over the ministry, he announced a Rs 550 million IT project for Sanghar district.
He expressed the expectation that IT exports will reach $5 billion by the end of the current administration’s term in 2023.
PSEB Managing Director Osman Nasir said in his welcome address that the IT minister had directed the board to expand the IT industry, which was previously limited to only three cities in the region.
He claimed that the PSEB was attempting to acquire 5,000 to 10,000 square feet of land in Hyderabad in order to create an information technology park.