Pakistan’s mobile phone manufacturing industry has experienced significant growth, with local factories producing more than 10.87 million mobile devices in the first eight months of 2023. This number is much higher than the 0.84 million phones imported through regular commercial channels, as reported by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
Of the 10.87 million phones manufactured in Pakistan, 7.62 million were basic 2G phones, and 3.04 million were smartphones, indicating that the majority of phones manufactured in Pakistan are still simple 2G feature phones. However, smartphone production is increasing rapidly, and the production of smartphones is expected to overtake 2G feature phones soon.
Despite this significant growth in the domestic mobile phone manufacturing industry, Pakistan still relies heavily on imported mobile phones. In the first two months of the current fiscal year, mobile phone imports rose by 76 percent due to factors such as rising demand for smartphones, currency devaluation and smuggling.
Data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) shows that mobile phone imports reached $111.34 million in August 2023, a 77 percent increase over the same month in 2022. Similarly, mobile phone imports in July 2023 stood at $68.13 million. Compared to July last year, there was an increase of 76%. Last year, local manufacturing plants produced 21.94 million mobile handsets, down from 24.66 million in 2021, due to import issues related to opening letters of credit (LCs).
Additionally, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) reports that 56% of mobile devices in Pakistan are smartphones, while 44% are 2G phones on the network. The rise in mobile phone imports in the first two months of the current fiscal year is due to factors such as rising demand for smartphones, currency devaluation and smuggling, which contributed to a 76 percent increase in imports.