Pakistan telecom sector suffers massive financial losses due to COVID-19
ISLAMABAD - The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc all over the world since its outbreak, badly affecting daily wagers to business tycoons.
The economic fallout of the health crisis are also being felt in developing country like Pakistan where all sectors, including telecom, suffered financial losses.
In telecom sector, Telenor is worst hit company as it faced losses upto 11 percent in first quarter of 2020 as compared to the same period of last year. Mobilink suffered 2-3% losses while Zong and Ufone are also among the firms which lost to the virus.
Well-informed circles of telecom sector said that Pakistani market, where four telecom firms are operational, has capacity for two to three companies.
A merger of Telenor and Ufone is likely and if it happens total companies in Pakistan will reduce to three. They are of view that it will decrease the deficit to maximum extent.
The sources claimed that initial negations between the firms have started, adding that there would be three companies by the end of 2020 it talks are successful and government departments do not create any hurdle.
Business activities, education, and all public and private working came to a halt following the lockdown, which has been imposed to control the spread of coronavirus.
The telecom companies have to face losses due to decrease in the use of their services following the lockdown.
Telenor and Ufone hold 3G network with 5MHZ each. The Telenor additionally holds 4G spectrum but it could take benefit from it due to less availability of the compatible mobile phones.
Moreover, Ufone is facing losses as it has less customers and it is also unable to provide 4G service which is need of the hour.
Following initial talks between Ufone and Telenor, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is expected to back the merger.
After the merger, the new firm will have customers more than Zong and Mobilink and its spectrum will also double to 10MHZ, making a way for it get 4G spectrum.-ABRAR MUSTAFA
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