Around the year we have seen huge changes in telecom industry of Pakistan these changes are good or bad and how they are going to affect companies are still a mystery. The only thing which is becoming sure day by day is upcoming data war in the industry. Telecom industry holds around 141 million subscribers till today and 46 million 3G/4G subscribers. Growth rate of data industry is around 25% which is still very high and around 48 million broadband subscribers which are potential consumers of cellular data. The war is coming and it is difficult to predict the future market leader today but indicators showing their own story few relate them and few still ignores them.
Jazz leading with 14.9 million 3G/4G subscribers followed by Zong with a subscriber base of 13.5 million till today. Telenor holds 11.6 Million subscribers. Picture is now very clear that the gap of subscribers using data is not enough to hold a competitive advantage for a long time by any company in industry. So they have to come up with a game changer to become leader and also to retain this position. In digital world a smart move can give you unmatched advantages as we have experienced globally. Companies like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp holds a position which is still after a decade unbeatable.
Data war gave birth to a new era when in September 2017 Jazz launched Veon a messenger app in Pakistan. We are not going in discussion of success or failure of the app as it is too early to predict its future in Pakistan because Worldwide today Veon has around 1 million subscribers and it’s still growing. Jazz openly announced they are moving to telecom company to a service providing company in future. Free connectivity to Veon for jazz subscriber was the eye blinker today the effects might have gone unnoticed by the consumers but not by its competitors Zong. Before coming to the competition a few question raised in the industry we want you to put your eyes on them too.
- Is Veon going to generate enough revenue which will justify replacement with cellular calls & SMS?
- How long it is going to take cellular calls and SMS to obsolete?
- 400 billion revenue lost globally by telecom companies till 2016 because of Messenger Apps is it also a threat to Pakistan telecom industry?
Zong launched free WhatsApp features for their subscribers as a counter plan to Veon by Jazz this simply gives an understanding that messenger app revenue is not a threat to Zong. WhatsApp itself is a 1.2 billion subscriber app with a net worth of 18 billion dollars which will compete Veon in Pakistani industry for Zong. So we can understand that Veon and WhatsApp strategy is just to retain 3G/4G subscribers today. How in future Veon unfold pages and Zong counter the ideas will surely design a new future for Telco’s in Pakistan.
In past years SMS revenue has declined by almost 4% annually in Pakistan and according to analysts till the end of the year 2017 it is expected that 20% revenue generated by SMS service will be gone. With ongoing tendency, we can envisage that till the end of 2022 SMS will be totally obsolete. Calling services is not facing threat till now but there is no assurance for calls the sea is going to stay calm forever.
According to research about 25% of the telecom revenues globally are lost till 2016 because of messenger Apps like WhatsApp Skype and many others. Leading from the front WhatsApp is the major threat to telecoms and future of communication to many experts.
Zong and Jazz have clearly realized the future of telecom as data providers Telenor has also joined 3G/4G club but playing calm in industry. Next 4 years are very crucial for all Telco’s in Pakistan because if industry turns out to be data providers only then surly few of them have to exit the market to keep it attractive for revenues who will be the survivor time & action of companies will solve this mystery.