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 ...


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 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 February 18, 2023 at 9:09pm

Enabling digital transformation

By Jorgen C Arentz RostrupFebruary 17, 2023
Digital technologies in Pakistan could create up to Rs9.7 trillion ($59.7 billion) in economic value by 2030, if they are fully leveraged. This is equivalent to about 19 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2020.

‘Digital Lives Decoded 2022’, a study conducted by Telenor Asia, found that 54 per cent of Pakistanis believe mobile devices and mobile technology have significantly improved their careers and aided in developing their skills, with women reporting that their mobile devices have significantly improved their quality of life.

Mobile phones are also widely seen as a way of generating income. Nearly half of the people surveyed in the study feel mobile usage provided work and income opportunities that were unavailable before the pandemic. In Pakistan, 38 per cent of the respondents believe mobile access has created new opportunities for them.

Our research points to mobile connectivity being an enabler of productivity, progress, economic opportunity, and flexibility. Enabling people to connect to what matters most to them, accessibility to information, increasing productivity and an easy and safe way to manage their finances, are just a few of the many advantages of an increasingly digitized world.

However, privacy and security have become serious concerns in every country we surveyed for the Digital Lives Decoded 2022, including Pakistan.

In the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2023 unveiled last month, the failure of cyber security measures, including loss of privacy, data fraud or theft, and cyber espionage was identified as one of the top five risks that Pakistan faces. The Global Cyber Security Index, which measures the commitment of countries to cybersecurity, placed Pakistan 18th out of 38 Asia-Pacific nations, trailing Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India.


Due to an unprecedented rise in the cost of operations in Pakistan, the sector’s financial health has been severely impacted. The need for further investments to make customers and businesses in Pakistan less vulnerable to cyber threats is urgent. Such priorities include the build-up of national capabilities and capacities in cyber security. The country already produces over 20,000 Information Technology (IT) graduates each year, has nurtured over 700 tech start-ups since 2010, and has the fourth highest earning IT workforce in the world, so there is tremendous potential left untapped.

There is an urgent need for the telecom sector to get the much-needed fiscal space and support to continue investing in and modernizing the infrastructure which would meet the digital needs of Pakistani society, enable the economic recovery and support the government’s longer term nation building ambitions.

As an owner of two of Pakistan’s most significant telco and mobile financial companies, Telenor looks forward to continued engagement with the government, civil society and all other digital ecosystem players in the country to support the continued digital development of Pakistan.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 26, 2023 at 4:39pm

Data Centers in Pakistan

Depending on whose list you check, there are about 20 data centres in Pakistan. Data Center Catalog provides details of the operators. Singapore-based certification company EPI Certification (EPI) has certified four owned by Pakistan Telecom and one each by Jazz Mobile and the University of Lahore. The Uptime Institute has certified five others to Tier 3.

The industry appears to be booming. A two day Data Centre Summit was to be held in Islamabad in October 2021 but was postponed because of COVID-19.

The government-owned National Telecommunication Corp. (NTC) opened what was claimed to be the country’s first national data centre in Islamabad in 2016 to help implement the e-governance agenda of the federal government. It was built by local IT services company Inbox Business Technologies and Huawei. In 2022, the National Information Technology Board (NITB) opened a data centre in Islamabad, also built by Huawei.

The Pakistan government might do well to have concerns about Huawei’s role, given allegations of Chinese spying via Huawei equipment. As Network World Asia’s survey of Southeast Asian data centres reported, a report commissioned by Papua New Guinea’s National Cyber Security Centre into a data centre built by Huawei for the PNG government claimed data flows could be easily intercepted without detection, that the layout of the data centre did not match the intended design, and that core switches were not behind firewalls.


Data centres in India
India is a hotbed of data centre activity. The country is currently home to more than 80 third-party data centres and is witnessing investment from both local and international players. India is ranked ninth globally for data centre density by Cloudscene.

Nasscomm, the not-for-profit industry association representing the $227 billion dollar IT business process management industry in India, said in 2019 that India had huge potential to take a large share of the global data centre market if it could act fast to implement the recently announced data centre draft policy.

One of the largest players in the Indian data centre market is NTT. It claims to operate 10 centres across the country with 43,000 square metres of data centre space and 150MW IT load, and it claims to have an additional 41,400 square netres and 250MW of IT load under development.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 26, 2023 at 6:36pm

Asia Pacific outlook: Surge in data centers

According to Cushman & Wakefield, the Asia Pacific data center market is poised to become the world’s largest data center region over the next decade. In a 2022 report, Singapore takes the top data center spot in the Asia Pacific, and the second place globally – tying with Silicon Valley after Virginia. In the region, Hong Kong claims the second spot, Sydney comes in third place, while Shanghai maintains fourth place.

The surge in data center activities is led by colocation providers including AWS, Microsoft, Tencent and Alibaba. Research firm Report Linker revealed that investments into the region’s data center market amounted to US$63.15 billion last year, with investments predicted to reach US$94 billion by 2027.

Data center markets at a glance
The largest data center market in the region, Singapore lifted a moratorium on new data center construction in January 2022. The moratorium was first implemented in 2019 to allow new server facilities that meet energy efficiency criteria to be constructed. As of last year, Singapore had more than 70 data centers operating with a total power capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

For telecom operators, where data centers are becoming a strategic asset, many are deliberating data center partnerships or sell-offs to cash in. Last November, Globe Telecom was in advanced talks with ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC) to establish a data center business in the Philippines.

To optimize and grow the value of its large and unique portfolio of quality infrastructure assets, Singtel outlined plans to create a regional data center business last year. Through a partnership with Thailand’s Gulf Energy and AIS, Singtel’s regional data center strategy aims to offer customers a differentiated value proposition.

The global pandemic sparked work-from-home arrangements and a spike in digital infrastructure and cloud demand. Hyperscalers are amongst those pressured to increase data centers. Compounded by the acceleration of 5G deployments and resulting technologies, strategic investments into data centers have been on the rise. New sources of funding from private equity funds also contribute to the growing data center market to capitalize on future growth opportunities.

Datacenterpricing, a data centre research specialist, estimated over 1.5 million square meters of space under development for data centres in the Asia Pacific.

A recent high-profile investment is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)’s US$150 million into data centers serving emerging countries in the Asia Pacific. Of which US$100 million would be channeled through Keppel’s Keppel Data Centre Fund II (KDC Fund II), which closed with US$1.1 billion in funding commitments.

After the US, China has the second-largest hyperscaler data center capacity, accounting for 15% of the world’s total. According to Datacenterpricing, China will expand its data center market by 239,000 square meters to represent a 14% growth. Without overloading its power grids, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced the set-up of four mega data center clusters outside the main population epicenters.

South Korea is also a hotspot for data centers. In January, Equinix and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC will jointly develop and operate two xScale data centers in Seoul, South Korea. Digital Realty will also be launching its first carrier-neutral data center in the capital to scale large enterprise applications.

Emerging data center markets
With many countries in the region still underserved, Asia Pacific will continue to witness unprecedented growth in the data centers, fuelled by increased digitalization and e-commerce.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 26, 2023 at 6:37pm

Asia Pacific outlook: Surge in data centers

Emerging data center markets
With many countries in the region still underserved, Asia Pacific will continue to witness unprecedented growth in the data centers, fuelled by increased digitalization and e-commerce.

Indonesia, for instance, offers immense opportunities with a digital economy projected to be worth US$124 billion by 2025. The country houses more than 200 million internet users and an e-commerce market expected to reach US$100 billion by 2025. Last May, Singapore-headquartered STT GDC entered into a partnership with Indonesian Triputra Group to develop a new data center operating platform in Jakarta. Tencent Cloud built two data center facilities in the country.

Alibaba Cloud also built its third data center in Indonesia last year. In the Philippines, Alibaba Cloud built its first data center last year to support businesses’ digitalization. This year, Alibaba has plans to debut centers in Thailand to expand its foothold in the region – a key profit driver which accounts for about 8% of the company’s total revenue, and amid greater competition by Tencent in China.

In one of the latest, SpaceDC partners with JLL to build the largest data center in the Philippines. India, being the second most populous country in the world, is another country with very high population, but with a very low data center capacity. The current data traffic boom in India makes it another high-growth market for data centers. According to reports, Bharti Airtel plans to triple its data center capacity to 400 megawatt by 2025.

Data centers demand is here to stay. As some telecom operators rethink their strategy for non-core operations, others view the data center business as a worthwhile investment. With the emergence of 5G and accompanying technology, telecom operators are well-positioned to seize opportunities working with, rather than against hyperscale providers to extend their capabilities to the network edge

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 26, 2023 at 6:44pm

Colocation Data Centers

Currently there are 4984 colocation data centers from 130 countries in the index.
Please navigate through the data center index by choosing a country.

Afghanistan (2)
Algeria (4)
Angola (7)
Argentina (15)
Australia (134)
Austria (25)
Azerbaijan (3)
Bahamas (3)
Bahrain (2)
Bangladesh (4)
Belarus (2)
Belgium (40)
Bermuda (3)
Bolivia (2)
Bosnia And Herzegovina (1)
Brazil (73)
Brunei (1)
Bulgaria (29)
Cambodia (5)
Cameroon (1)
Canada (179)
Cayman Islands (2)
Chile (15)
China (87)
Colombia (7)
Costa Rica (7)
Croatia (8)
Cyprus (16)
Czech Republic (24)
Denmark (32)
Dr Congo (1)
Ecuador (1)
Egypt (14)
El Salvador (1)
Estonia (13)
Finland (24)
France (163)
French Guiana (1)
French Polynesia (1)
Georgia (4)
Germany (229)
Ghana (5)
Gibraltar (5)
Greece (18)
Greenland (1)
Guatemala (2)
Guernsey (3)
Honduras (1)
Hong Kong (61)
Hungary (9)
Iceland (9)
India (159)
Indonesia (54)
Iran (23)
Ireland (27)
Isle Of Man (3)
Israel (17)
Italy (86)
Japan (54)
Jersey (5)
Jordan (6)
Kazakhstan (1)
Kenya (9)
Kosovo (1)
Kuwait (3)
Laos (1)
Latvia (18)
Lebanon (2)
Libya (1)
Liechtenstein (2)
Lithuania (12)
Luxembourg (15)
Macau (1)
Macedonia (5)
Malaysia (33)
Malta (8)
Mauritius (10)
Mexico (14)
Moldova (3)
Montenegro (2)
Morocco (5)
Myanmar (1)
Nepal (6)
Netherlands Antilles (1)
New Caledonia (3)
New Zealand (45)
Nicaragua (2)
Nigeria (11)
Norway (36)
Oman (4)
Pakistan (21)
Palestine (1)
Panama (7)
Peru (4)
Philippines (3)
Poland (40)
Portugal (32)
Puerto Rico (3)
Qatar (3)
Reunion (1)
Romania (46)
Russia (59)
Saudi Arabia (22)
Serbia (6)
Singapore (41)
Slovakia (14)
Slovenia (8)
South Africa (31)
South Korea (20)
Spain (72)
Suriname (2)
Sweden (60)
Switzerland (79)
Taiwan (10)
Tanzania (2)
Thailand (22)
The Netherlands (122)
Trinidad And Tobago (1)
Tunisia (2)
Turkey (68)
Uganda (1)
Ukraine (34)
United Arab Emirates (9)
United Kingdom (266)
Uruguay (7)
Us Virgin Islands (1)
USA (1851)
Venezuela (5)
Vietnam (19)
Zimbabwe (1)

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 26, 2023 at 8:10pm

Ranking of countries by number of data centers

1. USA 1851
2. UK 266
3. Germany 229
4. Canada 179
5. France 163
6. India 159
7. Australia 134
8. The Netherlands 122
9. China 87
10. Italy 86
11. Switzerland 79
12. Brazil 73
13. Spain 72
14. Turkey 68
15. Hong Kong 61
16. Sweden 60
17. Russia 59
18. Japan 54
19. Indonesia 54
20. Romania 46
21. New Zealand 45
22. Singapore 41
23. Belgium 40
24. Poland 40
25. Norway 36
26. Ukraine 34
27. Malaysia 33
28. Denmark 32
29. Portugal 32
30. South Africa 31
31. Bulgaria 29
32. Finland 24
33. Czech Republic 24
34. Iran 23
35. Saudi Arabia 22
36. Thailand 22
37. Pakistan 21
38. South Korea 20
39. Vietnam 19
40. Greece 18
41. Latvia 18
42. Israel 17
43. Cyprus 16
44. Argentina 15
44. Egypt 14
45. Mexico 14
46. Slovakia 14
47. Estonia 13
48. Lithuania 12
49. Mauritius 10
50. Taiwan 10
51. Iceland 9
52. Hungary 9
53. Kenya 9
54. UAE 9
55. Malta 8
56. Venezuela 7
57. Uruguay 7
58. Jordan 6
59. Nepal 6
60. Cambodia 5
61. Ghana 5
62. Gibraltar 5
63. Macedonia 5
64. Morocco 5
65. Bangladesh 4

Rest of the list has less than 4 data centers each

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 27, 2023 at 1:25pm

Centre releases Rs10bn for first digital census

The federal government on Monday released Rs10 billion for the upcoming first digital census in the country.

Addressing a presser, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Spokesperson Sarwar Gondal said the total expenditure for the upcoming census is Rs34 billion, and the centre has released Rs10 billion while the case of Rs24 billion is in ECC. Gondal believed that there will be no problem on the issue of the funds, adding that all chief ministers had no objection to the procedure.

He added that security arrangements have been finalised with the assistance of all provinces while 1 lac 21 thousand people have been trained all over Pakistan, adding that 1 lac 26 thousand electronic devices will be used in this census.

“495 Census Support Centers have been set up in the country, NADRA will provide support for malfunctions in software and electronic devices,” said Gondal.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 27, 2023 at 1:34pm

Pakistan Tech Firm, Marketer for P&G and Colgate Plans IPO

Symmetry Group plans share sale, expand international business
Firm help client targets nation’s 124 million internet users

(Bloomberg) -- Symmetry Group Ltd., a Pakistani technology company founded back when most of the country’s internet users were on dial-up connections, plans an initial public offering in March that could raise about 430 million rupees ($1.6 million).
Most Read from Bloomberg
The Karachi-based company, which specializes in digital services including marketing and whose clients include the local units of Procter & Gamble Co. and Colgate-Palmolive Co., will sell 78 million shares at a fixed price of 5.5 rupees a share, according to Chief Executive Officer Syed Sarocsh Ahmed. The offering will include 71% new stock, and the rest will consist of existing shares sold by the founders.
Symmetry was started in 2003 by Ahmed and his brother, Executive Director Syed Adil Ahmed, with an investment of 150,000 rupees — equivalent to about $2,580 at the time. They sold ads on websites and gave free consultations to Pakistan’s largest media houses, which were not geared for digital marketing.

“We saw a gap,” said Adil, whose experience includes a stint at Yahoo Inc. “Digital marketing was happening globally, it was the next big thing. It was not happening in Pakistan at that time,” he said in an interview.

The company now focuses on the digitization of marketing, sales and other consumer-centric functions. It generated net income of 71.3 million rupees in fiscal 2022, according to a document seen by Bloomberg News. That’s an increase of 24% on the previous fiscal year, Bloomberg...

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 27, 2023 at 5:18pm

Pakistan B2C Ecommerce Market Opportunities Databook Q1 2023 Update: Sector to Reach $18.7 Billion by 2027 at a 10.7% CAGR

According to the publisher, B2C Ecommerce market in Pakistan is expected to grow by 15.36% on annual basis to reach US$12.5 billion in 2023. The Medium to long-term growth story of B2C Ecommerce industry in Pakistan promises to be attractive . The B2C Ecommerce is expected to grow steadily over the forecast period, recording a CAGR of 10.70% during 2023-2027. The country's B2C Ecommerce Gross Merchandise Value will increase from US$10.8 billion in 2022 to reach US$18.7 billion by 2027.

This report provides a detailed data centric analysis of B2C ecommerce market dynamics, covering over 100 KPIs in Pakistan. It details market opportunity across key B2C verticals - Retail Shopping, Travel & Hospitality, Online Food Service, Media and Entertainment, Healthcare and Wellness, and Technology Products and Services.

It provides market share by key players across key verticals along with sales channels (Platform to Consumer, Direct to Consumer, Consumer to Consumer). In addition, it provides spending pattern by payment instruments along with a snapshot of consumer behaviour in Pakistan.

The report also covers niche trends such as market size by live streaming engagement model and cross border purchases. It also covers ecommerce spend share by operating systems, device (mobile vs desktop) and cities.

In addition, to detailed data-centric analysis, this report provides analyst commentary on key trends, drivers, strategies, and innovations in the B2C ecommerce industry in Pakistan.


This report provides a detailed data-driven look at the Pakistan B2C Ecommerce industry, covering various segments and highlighting areas of interest across the verticals in the industry. In addition, it provides a comprehensive understanding of market dynamics and future forecast.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 27, 2023 at 5:30pm

SCO (Special Communications Organization ISP)) Data Center Project

SCO is establishing a state of the art Tier-3 Data Center as per international standards to provide Cloud Computing Services which will enable youth, IT Professionals, Universities, government organizations, private entities including the Banking sector, health and education sectors to host their websites over secure platforms.

SCO Incubation Center Gilgit

In a joint venture with Karakoram International University (KIU), SCO has established the first Business Incubation Center in Gilgit. With all the funding provided by SCO, the incubation center is a promising facility for young aspiring entrepreneurs to showcase their expertise in the field of software development.

SCO Software Technology Park in Gilgit

SCO Software Technology Park, Gilgit’s first IT Park was inaugurated by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General (Retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa in Konodas Gilgit on October 6, 2020. This modern IT Park has excellent facilities of backup power, security and OFC data connectivity.

EZ Shifa – Online Doctor Kiosk by SCO

Gilgit Baltistan is the most hard area in terms of accessibility and difficult terrains and people are unable to avail basic health facilities in far flung areas. In view of these difficulties SCO installed Ez Shifa Kiosks (Provides Online Doctor Facility) at Khunjerab, Concordia & Shimshal. It is helping the local communities and tourists to avail the health facilities free of cost.

4G BTS at Concordia, K-2 Base Camp

Commemorating the efforts and achievements of the martyr mountaineer Ali Sadpara, SCO has installed Ali Sadpara BTS at Concordia, K2 Base Camp. The project is meant to pay due respects to the late hero of the nation and provides internet services at one of the highest points in the world. This deployment has made the communication easy for mountaineers and trekking groups.

Karakoram Highway (KKH) Seamless Connectivity

SCO is also credited with introducing GSM Mobile technology along KKH. SCO installed 62 BTS towers along Karakoram Highway Babusar-Khunjerab Pass align perfectly with the Prime Minister’s vision of promoting tourism in the country.


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