Digital Pakistan 2022: Broadband Penetration Soars to 90% of 15+ Population

The year 2022 was a very rough year for Pakistan. The nation was hit by devastating floods that badly affected tens of millions of people. Macroeconomic indicators took a nose dive as political instability reached new heights. In the middle of such bad news, Pakistan saw installation of thousands of kilometers of new fiber optic cable, inauguration of a new high bandwidth PEACE submarine cable connecting Karachi with Africa and Europe, and millions of new broadband subscriptions. Broadband penetration among 140 million (59% of 236 million population) Pakistanis in  the15-64 years age group reached almost 90%. This new digital infrastructure helped grow technology adoption in the country. 

Internet and Mobile Phone Banking Growth in 2021-22. Source: State ...

Fintech: 

Mobile phone banking and internet banking grew by 141.1% to Rs. 11.9 trillion while Internet banking jumped 81.1% to reach Rs10.2 trillion.  E-commerce transactions also accelerated, witnessing similar trends as the volume grew by 107.4% to 45.5 million and the value by 74.9% to Rs106 billion, according to the State Bank of Pakistan.  

Pakistan Startup Funding in 2022. Source: i2i Investing

Fintech startups continued to draw investments in the midst of a slump in venture funding in Pakistan. Fintech took $10 million from a total of $13.5 million raised by tech startups in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the data of Invest2Innovate (i2i), a startups consultancy firm. In Q3 of 2022, six out of the 14 deals were fintech startups, compared to two deals of e-commerce startups. Fintech startups raised $38 million which is 58% of total funding ($65 million) in Q3 2022, compared to e-commerce startups that raised 19% of total funding. The i2i data shows that in Q3 2022, fintech raised 37.1% higher than what it raised in Q2 2022 ($27.7 million). Similarly, in Q2 2022, the total investment of fintech was 63% higher compared to what it raised in Q1 2022 ($17 million).

E-Commerce in Pakistan. Source: State Bank of Pakistan

E-Commerce:

E-commerce continued to grow in the country. Transaction volume soared 107.4% to 45.5 million while the value of transactions jumped 75% to Rs. 106 billion over the prior year, according to the State Bank of Pakistan. 

Pakistan Among World's Top 10 Smartphone Markets. Source: NewZoo

PEACE Cable: 

Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) cable, a  96 TBPS (terabits per second), 15,000 km long submarine cable, went live in 2022. It brought to 10 the total number of submarine cables currently connecting or planned to connect Pakistan with the world: TransWorld1, Africa1 (2023), 2Africa (2023), AAE1, PEACE,  SeaMeWe3, SeaMeWe4, SeaMeWe5, SeaMeWe6 (2025) and IMEWE. PEACE cable has two landing stations in Pakistan: Karachi and Gwadar. SeaMeWe stands for Southeast Asia Middle East Western Europe, while IMEWE is India Middle East Western Europe and AAE1 Asia Africa Europe 1. 

Mobile Data Consumption Growth in Pakistan. Source: ProPakistan

Fiber Optic Cable: 

The first phase of a new high bandwidth long-haul fiber network has been completed jointly by One Network, the largest ICT and Intelligent Traffic and Electronic Tolling System operator in Pakistan, and Cybernet, a leading fiber broadband provider.  The joint venture has deployed 1,800 km of fiber network along motorways and road sections linking Karachi to Hyderabad (M-9 Motorway), Multan to Sukkur (M-5 Motorway), Abdul Hakeem to Lahore (M-3 Motorway), Swat Expressway (M-16), Lahore to Islamabad (M-2 Motorway) and separately from Lahore to Sialkot (M-11 Motorway), Gujranwala, Daska and Wazirabad, according to Business Recorder newspaper.

Mobile telecom service operator Jazz and Chinese equipment manufacturer Huawei have commercially deployed FDD (Frequency Division Duplexing) Massive MIMO (Multiple Input and Output) solution based on 5G technology on a large scale in Pakistan. Jazz and Huawei claim it represents a leap into the 4.9G domain to boost bandwidth. 

Pakistan Telecom Indicators November 2022. Source: PTA

 

Pakistan's RAAST P2P System Taking Off. Source: State Bank of Pakistan

Broadband Subscriptions:

Pakistan has 124 million broadband subscribers as of November, 2022, according to Pakistan Telecommunications Authority.  Broadband penetration among 140 million (59% of 236 million) Pakistanis in 15-64 years age bracket is 89%.  Over 20 million mobile phones were locally manufactured/assembled in the country in the first 11 months of the year. 

Bank Account Ownership in Pakistan. Source: Karandaaz

Financial Inclusion Doubled In Pakistan in 5 Years. Source: Karandaaz

Documenting Pakistan Economy:

Pakistan's unbanked population is huge, estimated at 100 million adults, mostly women. Its undocumented economy is among the world's largest,  estimated at 35.6% which represents approximately $542 billion at GDP PPP levels, according to World Economics. The nation's tax to GDP ratio (9.2%) and formal savings rates (12.72%) are among the lowest. The process of digitizing the economy could help reduce the undocumented economy and increase tax collection and formal savings and investment in more productive sectors such as export-oriented manufacturing and services. Higher investment in more productive sectors could lead to faster economic growth and larger export earnings. None of this can be achieved without some semblance of political stability. 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on August 17, 2023 at 10:41am

The first fintech service in Pakistan was introduced in 2009 by telecom company, Easypaisa. At first, the service only provided money transfers. However, it has since introduced a mobile app that offers a wide range of financial services, making it Pakistan's first fintech platform.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2023/08/17/the-f...

Now, Pakistan has a wide range of mobile financial services (MFS). Their usage level is significant because these services allow individuals to set up a mobile money account using their SIM number. Mobile financial services are convenient and offer essential financial services such as money transfers and bill payments. These services do not have any physical banks but instead rely on agents (vendors) nationwide.

Banks often provide their users with an online banking experience either by creating a portal or an app. However, only a few bank MFS apps enable customers to perform financial transactions while others simply provide information on a user’s financial status.

Fintech Startups: Neobanks
Even though the existing services offer a decent mobile financial experience to their users by taking care of basic needs, this is not fintech at its true scale. Pakistan has seen a significant increase in fintech startups in recent years. These neobanks operate entirely online without any physical banking network. They allow users to open a bank account, make instant payments, transfer money, pay bills and create virtual cards.

However, the question remains, what are the keys to a successful fintech startup in Pakistan?

Challenges Faced By Fintech Startups In Pakistan
1. Market Saturation And Limited Investment
The fintech market is already filled with incumbent organizations. These organizations are not always welcoming of innovation, which is an issue for upcoming fintech companies trying to find partnerships or investments.

And since most of the fintech services in Pakistan are owned by well-established banks or telecommunications companies, almost all funding and investments are directed toward them, leaving fintech startups with limited venture capital and funding opportunities.

2. Poor Financial Inclusion
Pakistan's financial inclusion status is below average, ranking 16th out of 26 countries in a Brookings report. Despite 80% of financial services being provided by the banking sector, they serve only 15% of the population, which is a significantly low percentage.

A survey by the State Bank of Pakistan revealed that basic financial literacy is possessed by only 23% of Pakistan’s population. The World Bank states that about 100 million adults in Pakistan are not even aware of the regulated financial services provided in the country. This number represents 5% of the world’s 2 billion unbanked people.

3. Unreliable Infrastructure
The digital infrastructure in Pakistan also needs to be improved. A clear example is the nationwide internet blackouts, which make internet services in Pakistan unreliable. This uncertainty and unreliability of the internet can disrupt transaction processing and service delivery. Payment services like Paypal are also nonexistent in Pakistan, which shows the massive lack of digital payment infrastructure in Pakistan’s cash-based economy.

4. Regulatory Failures
Despite implementing regulations such as the Regulations for Mobile Banking Interoperability and creating the Third Party Service Provider (TPSP) License that highly favor fintech startups, not all policies by Pakistan's government are friendly to fintech advances; a clear example of this is the 2018 ban on cryptocurrency trading and mining.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 17, 2023 at 6:41pm

TPL Maps - Pakistan’s first consumer navigation app set to revolutionise travel

https://www.dawn.com/news/1770618

TPL Maps, a subsidiary of TPL Corp, announced the launch of their consumer navigation app, the nation’s first smart maps application that brings cutting-edge location data, location intelligence, and GIS services to both corporate institutions and individual users. The app is set to transform the way mapping is done in Pakistan, while also empowering businesses to harness the power of location-based data and intelligence for scaling their operations.

TPL Maps, debuted the beta version of the app on Monday August 14, 2023. This ground-breaking app designed to provide local users with fuel-efficient route optimisation, public transport and mass transit information, and hyper-local landmark-based navigation, all in one platform.


“We are thrilled to introduce the TPL Maps app, a game-changer in the mapping landscape of Pakistan,” said Sarwar Khan, CEO - TPL Maps. “Our team of Pakistani engineers and data scientists worked tirelessly to create a comprehensive mapping solution that caters to both individual users and corporate entities. With its advanced features and unparalleled accuracy, TPL Maps will redefine how Pakistanis navigate and how corporations utilise location-based data.”

As the pioneer in Pakistan’s location technology industry, TPL Maps boasts the largest localised data catalogue of over 8 million Points of Interest, spanning more than 350 cities nationwide. The app boasts a robust database maintained and expanded by a team of over 100 dedicated employees, including 20 skilled data scientists.

Their dedication to innovation is further reinforced by the wealth of big data that fuels TPL Maps. With inputs from over 8 million Point of Interest, a road network spanning over 1 million kilometers, and a comprehensive archive of over 550,000 cartograms, the app offers unparalleled precision and detail in its mapping services.

During its two years in operation, TPL Maps has earned the trust of local and international brands alike by leveraging the power of location. Its seamless integration of location intelligence and GIS services has enabled businesses to make data-driven decisions, optimise resource allocation, and increase their revenues.


“Through TPL Maps, we aim to empower businesses across Pakistan to understand the significance of location and harness its potential for business growth,” said Khan. “With our strong grasp over location technology, we are here to guide our clients on how they can leverage location data and intelligence to drive business performance, identify cost-saving opportunities, and improve their overall efficiency.”

The launch of TPL Maps marks a significant milestone in the evolution of location intelligence in Pakistan. Its user-friendly interface, paired with a wealth of accurate and up-to-date data, positions TPL Maps as the industry leader in providing smart mapping solutions that cater to diverse needs.

To experience the power of TPL Maps firsthand, users can download the app from the App Store/Play Store, available for both iOS and Android devices and Flutter. For corporate institutions looking to scale their operations and optimise performance, TPL Maps is ready to provide personalised solutions tailored to their unique requirements, offering 30,000 free hits for trial.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 19, 2023 at 9:38pm

Pakistani FinTech Neem secures strategic investment from DNI Group

https://fintech.global/2023/06/26/pakistani-fintech-neem-secures-st...

It has been announced that Neem, an innovative Pakistani FinTech startup, has entered into a strategic partnership with DNI Group.

Neem is renowned for its commitment towards revolutionising financial accessibility and inclusivity across emerging markets, particularly in Pakistan.

The company has secured significant financial investment from DNI Group, a globally recognised investment firm with operations across 28 countries. The deal signifies a vote of confidence in the embedded finance model and is reflective of the burgeoning Pakistani digital tech ecosystem.

Neem is in the process of developing a Banking-as-a-Service platform. Their vision is to foster financial wellness among underserved communities. The business aims to empower numerous digital platforms across different industries, by offering their customers a comprehensive suite of embedded finance products through secure, API-based integrations.

The new funding will further strengthen Neem’s commitment to financial wellness, an ethos that revolves around the principle that individuals and businesses can take control of their financial lives with the right tools and access.

It is also expected to enhance Neem’s collaboration with other portfolio companies under the DNI Group umbrella, such as Airvantage, an airtime lending firm, and Paymenow, an earned wage access solution provider.

Neem has always sought to make a significant impact in its homeland of Pakistan, whilst nurturing the ambition to expand into other emerging markets in the long term. With the strategic investment from DNI Group, Neem believes it has found an experienced global partner capable of aiding them to realise this goal.

Ross Venter, CEO of DNI’s technology arm, Digital Ecosystems, expressed his excitement about the partnership. He said, “DNI is thrilled to join forces with Neem, a team of like-minded individuals operating in a vibrant, growing economy.

“Neem’s mission to provide financial wellness to the Pakistani market aligns perfectly with DNI’s objectives of empowering people and enhancing financial and digital inclusion. Through DNI’s strategic investment in Neem, we aim to accelerate the development, exchange, and commercialisation of our respective technologies for the benefit of consumers within our global communities.”

Despite challenging macroeconomic circumstances, the digital ecosystem in Pakistan continues to thrive and innovate. Neem is unwavering in its commitment to fostering financial resilience and prosperity for the people of Pakistan and beyond.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 30, 2023 at 4:41pm

Google Gen AI on Agtech in Pakistan:

Pakistan is one of the world's largest producers and suppliers of food and crops. The country's agriculture sector consists of four subsectors:
Food and fiber crops
Horticulture and orchards
Livestock and dairy
Fisheries and forestry
Pakistan's major crops include wheat, cotton, rice, sugarcane, and maize. These crops contribute around 4.9% to the country's total GDP.
Some of the top agriculture startups in Pakistan include: Pak Agri Market, ZD&K Farms, Radical Growth, Mohalla, Khalis Fertilizers.
Some of the top agritech startups in Pakistan include:
Tazah Technologies
Agriculture Republic Pakistan
Crop2X Private Limited
Fowrry Technologies Private Limited
zamindar
SUSTAINABLE AGRI IS
Startups in Pakistan are developing IoT solutions for smart irrigation, such as solar-powered tube wells, or for animal data, such as Cowlar, a solar-powered fitbit for cows.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 30, 2023 at 4:42pm

Why aren’t farmers using new tech?
Kai Ryssdal and Sofia Terenzio
Aug 30, 2023

https://www.marketplace.org/2023/08/30/why-arent-farmers-using-new-...

Agtech, short for agriculture technology, is a growing industry that’s using data tools and software to help farmers improve yields and use fewer resources.

With population growth increasing the global demand for food and climate change hurting crop yields, a swift adoption of agtech may be needed now more than ever. Yet, farmers are hesitant about embracing these new technologies.

What’s in the way of farmers quickly adopting agtech, and how can the industry get more farmers on board?

“Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal talked to reporter Belle Lin from the Wall Street Journal about her recent article on why so few farmers are using agtech. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Kai Ryssdal: Could we have a quick primer, please? What is agtech?


Belle Lin: Absolutely. Agriculture technology, agtech is really the set of tools — both hardware and software — that enables farmers growers to really get the most out of their farming resources and inputs and up boosting their yields. So that’s really the goal of this kind of current wave of farm technology. But it’s really the kind of larger ecosystem software, hardware, robotics, tractors autonomous maybe that allow farmers to kind of do their work with greater efficiency.

Ryssdal: So two things that you said there one yield and current wave, we’ll get to the yield in a minute. But I want to talk about current wave, because as you pointed out, in this piece, it’s been a decade-ish, that that sort of the bigger picture, agtech thing has been a thing.

Lin: That’s right. So it’s about a decade since data analytics and what’s sometimes known as Big Data came around. So, these massive amounts of data that oftentimes companies collect, can also be collected on Americans farms, where some of the environments where the richest data is to be collected. You can collect it on almost every single specific piece of land on the soil itself on the seeds that are planted, where they’re planted down to the type of pesticide that is applied to a single weed where that weed is located. So you can understand, you know, how specific these things can get. And that’s related to this idea of precision agriculture, where all these like very specific inputs tailored to a specific farm, help a farmer to end up doing their work in a way that’s more informed by that data, and boosts their yields with fewer resources.

Ryssdal: Right, so to that yield thing, that’s the name of this whole game — it’s getting more stuff out of the ground per acre farmed than they did before. And there’s an amazing statistic in here it says, according to the Department of Agriculture in 2017, farmers using digital soil maps, which are part of this technology produced about 49% higher winter wheat yields than farmers who didn’t. Again, that’s USDA data. And yet, the thrust of this piece is that farmers almost have too much data and kind of know what to do with it.

Lin: Yeah, absolutely. So not only is there this kind of challenge of getting farmers to use these tools, but once they’ve used them, they face this kind of data paralysis, which is how a farmer described this to me, he’s farming corn and soybean. He feels like he’s collecting so much data on all these different parts of his farm, that he doesn’t know what to do with it. And so that’s a huge problem as well across sectors where, you know, big data, data analytics has promised to kind of deliver all these efficiencies and productivity gains. But oftentimes, what consumers and these farmers feel is that they don’t have that background to say, “OK, now that I know the moisture levels of all my soil, this is what I should do,” right.

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 30, 2023 at 4:42pm

Why aren’t farmers using new tech?
Kai Ryssdal and Sofia Terenzio
Aug 30, 2023

https://www.marketplace.org/2023/08/30/why-arent-farmers-using-new-...

Lin: Yeah, absolutely. So not only is there this kind of challenge of getting farmers to use these tools, but once they’ve used them, they face this kind of data paralysis, which is how a farmer described this to me, he’s farming corn and soybean. He feels like he’s collecting so much data on all these different parts of his farm, that he doesn’t know what to do with it. And so that’s a huge problem as well across sectors where, you know, big data, data analytics has promised to kind of deliver all these efficiencies and productivity gains. But oftentimes, what consumers and these farmers feel is that they don’t have that background to say, “OK, now that I know the moisture levels of all my soil, this is what I should do,” right.

Ryssdal: I do not want to sound by any means ageist here, and apologies to the young farmers out there. But the average age of a farmer in this economy right now, as you point out is like 58.

Lin: Yeah, and that’s a big problem. Those folks are not as accustomed to utilizing technology to help inform their decisions.

Ryssdal: This is perhaps a little bit of field. But there’s an infrastructure part of this as well, right, in that a lot of almost all of this probably counts on connectivity and broadband. And I imagine if you’re out in in wherever you are on the Great Plains connectivity might be bad, you might not have service.

Lin: Yeah, that’s a great point. All of what we’re talking about in terms of agtech relies on having that internet connection, reliable way of streaming the data that you collect. And so connectivity is a major problem on farms that are far flung or not as connected to the internet speeds that people in cities are used to. And so one of the problems that farmers run into is that when they’re driving their equipment over a hill, for instance, you might have connectivity and one side of the hill, but you don’t on the other.

Ryssdal: Not to put a depressing punctuation mark on this conversation, but there are — I honestly can’t remember if it’s 8 or 9 billion people on this planet now — but there are going to be more in the future. And we have to feed them all. And this is part of the way we’re going to do it and adjust to climate change too, by the way.

Lin: Yeah, theoretically, farmers could boost their yields, and that would generate more food to feed the world’s growing and hungry population, and also in a way that they’re using fewer resources. So that’s the promise of it all, but right now it’s falling a bit short.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 23, 2023 at 7:56pm

These entrepreneurs in Pakistan are moving the country’s massive secondhand clothes market online

https://www.fastcompany.com/90956788/pakistan-economy-swag-kicks-se...

With the country in the middle of a historic economic crisis, secondhand sellers are seeing big business as they build an e-commerce market.

Iqra Anwar, a resident of Lahore, the second largest city of Pakistan is a frequent thrift shopper. Though her favorite brands—American fast-fashion staples like H&M, Zara, and Victoria’s Secret—don’t have outposts in the city, she still manages to buy their preloved versions at dirt cheap prices by thrifting.

“I got tank tops for 200 rupees (66 cents), which I would have otherwise gotten for 2000 rupees or for even more than 3000 rupees (around $10),” she says about her latest purchase.

The 22-year-old university student wanted stylish and branded clothes on a budget while she attended her classes. She’s not alone. With Pakistan in the midst of its worst-ever economic crisis and its currency severely devalued alongside record-high inflation (annual inflation was at 38% in May), she says she’s seeing more people are turning to affordable, secondhand clothing.

“Now, a lot of my friends who are from elite backgrounds ask me to go thrifting with them because the economy has affected anyone and everyone,” Anwar says. “They could buy [new] Shein and Zara products two years ago, but now they cannot.” Shoppers like Anwar also recognize the climate impact of getting as much wear out of fast-fashion items. “Because of fast fashion, there are landfills with clothes that people have only worn once,” she says. “It has become more of a social good thing to thrift.”

Whatever their reasons, shoppers in Pakistan have no shortage of pre-worn clothes. In 2021, Pakistan imported $180M of secondhand clothing, becoming the second-largest importer of pre-owned clothing in the world. Secondhand clothing was mainly imported from China, United States, and Canada and became the 69th most imported product in Pakistan. The country has long had a booming secondhand market, with clothing being sold at its “landa bazaars.” As the purchasing power of everyday Pakistani shoppers has been diminished, these bazaars—and a growing roster of online clothing sellers—have become resources for keeping wardrobes across the country full.

Until relatively recently, online sale of pre-owned clothing in Pakistan has been negligible. One of the earliest marketplaces to debut online was Swag Kicks, founded by self-described sneakerhead Nofal Khan who, as a child, would rely on his relatives visiting from Western countries to get him high-end branded sneakers that were unavailable in Pakistan. That is, until he discovered warehouses housing imported secondhand shoes.

“There were Jordans, Onitsuka Tiger, Nike Air Force 1s . . . the kind of shoes that I would never get in Pakistan,”Khan says. “When I used to wear those shoes to university, a lot of people would ask me where I got them from. That’s when I realized . . . they didn’t have access to quality shoes.” This made him realize the potential of this business and pushed him to start an online marketplace.

Earlier this year, Swag Kicks raised $1.2 million in a seed funding round led by i2i Ventures, joined by Techstars Toronto, SOSV Orbit, and local angel investors. This money, Nofal says, is being invested into automating the inventory process, scaling existing technology and improving disinfection and sanitization of clothes.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 23, 2023 at 7:57pm

These entrepreneurs in Pakistan are moving the country’s massive secondhand clothes market online

https://www.fastcompany.com/90956788/pakistan-economy-swag-kicks-se...


Digitalizing this market makes sense for Pakistan: the country has a huge young population with around 64% of the population under 30 years old. Internet penetration stood at 36.7% at the start of 2023, giving easy access to online stores.

“Young people are looking at global trends on Instagram and TikTok. They follow Western celebrities, and they know which shoes are famous, but they don’t have access to those brands,” Khan says. “We are bridging the gap by bringing the best of sneaker culture to Pakistan . . . and listing them on our website for a fraction of the cost of what their brand-new counterparts would cost.”

Digitizing has also given the online marketplace an upper hand over the existing physical landa bazaars. These markets are crowded, located in far-flung areas and often considered unsafe for women. And physical stores limit inventory, something Khan says is an advantage to selling online. “At any given point, we have 25,000 different types of shoes,” he says. “Physical stores can hold a limited amount of inventory.”

Through trending reels and captivating visuals, the startup aims to attract a younger audience on social media. Its TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook pages boast a combined reach of 135,000 followers.

Instagram in particular is where a growing number of sellers are courting younger shoppers like Iqra—and its user demographics are on their side. People, aged 18 to 24, are Instagram’s largest user group in Pakistan, which has 13 million users nationwide.

Sellers like Zari Faisal are using this to their advantage, using the platform as a storefront for pre-owned clothing. Faisal’s Instagram account, Thrifty Preloved, started in 2019 as an experiment, and has grown to have more than 40,000 followers who place an average of 300 orders per week—fulfilled by more than 20 employees. Faisal adds five to six new products per day, and offers delivery to nationwide—including smaller cities like Lodhran and Bahawalpur.

More than just e-commerce destinations, Instagram accounts also serve as resources for potential customers—Faisal says she has helped suggest outfits for a follower asking about what they might wear to a business presentation. “Our team got really involved,” Faisal says. “To be that sort of buddy that someone comes to for fashion advice is something that we really enjoy doing.”

Faisal sees continued growth in thrift shopping as Pakistan’s economic turmoil continues—and says she’s playing a role in keeping fashion accessible. “A generic Zara piece would cost around 13000 Pakistani rupees (roughly $43.66) minimum. . . . We’re able to provide Zara pieces, under, like you know, 2500 rupees ($8.25),” she says. “We are getting access to [good quality] products at pricing that none of us would be able to afford in Pakistan right now.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 29, 2024 at 8:27pm

1st carrier neutral IXP, data centre set up in Pakistan

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/1152827-1st-carrier-neutral-ixp-da...

ISLAMABAD: The United Arab Emirates-based Etisalat has set up Pakistan’s first carrier-neutral IXP and data centre in the country to strengthen the reliability of internet connectivity while the PTCL will work with the DE CIX German data centre and IXP operator to run the operations of the new data centre.

Bringing a world-class data centre operator to Pakistan will now enable Pakistan to both bring super-scaling cloud services such as AWS, Google Cloud and Azure and provide a local content hub for content services such as YouTube, TikTok and Netflix. Inaugurating the Pakistan Internet Exchange (PIE) powered by the DE-CIX, the first carrier-neutral IX in the country, Federal Minister for IT & Telecommunications Dr Umar Saif made the landmark announcement associated with the IT sector and revealed that China would start routing its internet traffic through Pakistan and it would make Pakistan a regional hub for connectivity. At the same time, it would be a source of earning huge revenue for internet transit traffic.

Describing the revolutionary steps, Dr Saif said: “Pakistan is a massive digital market, with an internet user-base larger than the population of Italy. Over the past few years, we have made significant strides in advancing fiber connectivity. We got two fiber loops from Kashghar to Rawalpindi, further extended to Karachi by the PTCL. Additionally, multiple submarine cables making landfall in Karachi further enhance our connectivity. Now, the PTCL Business Solution’s carrier neutral data centre, managed by a tier 1 data centre operator, DE-CIX is up and running and generates exciting prospects for localized content hosting from leading platforms like YouTube, Netflix and TikTok. The content cached and routed from Pakistan can seamlessly reach other markets, positioning us as the regional digital connectivity hub. It can generate annual revenues, ranging from $200-400 million through transit traffic to substantially add to our economy.” The PTCL is the largest integrated information communication technology company of Pakistan and DE-CIX is the world’s leading Internet Exchange (IX) operator. Housed in the PTCL data centre in Karachi, the IX is operated by the DE-CIX as a service (DaaS) model and built on the DE-CIX’s award-winning interconnection infrastructure. The interconnection platform offers local peering as well as remote access to the DE-CIX Frankfurt (Germany), one of the largest IXs in the world. The PIE powered by the DE-CIX is set to serve as a hub for regional connectivity, enabling local networks low-latency interconnection and localization of global content, while increasing network stability, scalability and security.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 29, 2024 at 8:29pm

Pakistan Regional Hub For Internet Connectivity: Post by Umar Saif on X


https://x.com/umarsaif/status/1751924936871162047?s=20

Umar Saif
@umarsaif
Today is a momunental day for the Pakistan telecom and IT industry. Three important milestones achieved today in collaboration with PTCL, SCO, PTA, De CIX, PEACE Cable and China Mobile:

1. We have reached an agreement for China to start routing their Internet traffic through Pakistan — making Pakistan a regional hub for connectivity. This will earn Pakistan huge revenue for Internet transit traffic.

2. Etisalat has setup Pakistan’s first carrier-neutral IXP and Data center in Pakistan to strengthen the reliability of internet connectivity.

3. PTCL will work with DE CIX German data center and IXP operator to run the operations of this new data center. Bringing a world-class data center operator to Pakistan will now enable us to both bring super-scaling cloud services such as AWS, Google Cloud and Azure to Pakistan and provide a local content hub for content services such as YouTube, TikTok and Netflix.

4. Pakistan’s internet users can now access services locally and Pakistan can become a hub of regional connectivity.

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