Mobile handset imports in Pakistan see sharp rise

Karachi: Pakistan`s imports of mobile handsets swelled to reach Rs 33.5 billion, during the fiscal year July 2010 to March 2011, period, according to figures released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS).

According to these figures, mobile handset sales increased to a whooping Rs 33.5 billion ($392 million) from July 2010 to March 2011 as opposed to Rs 18 billion in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year, showing a growth of 85 per cent in the third quarter of the fiscal year.

On an average, imports worth Rs 3.72 billion were carried out every month during the period under-review. Handset imports in the month of March were recorded at Rs 4.75 billion ($55.76 million), an increase of 48 per cent from last year.

The sale of handsets increased to more than nine million in the said period if average monthly sales are evaluated at one million in the nine months in accordance with data shared by market experts.

As per estimate, if one million handsets having an average cost of Rs 4,000 are sold every month, it translates into Rs 4 billion overall sales. Therefore imports and sales costs are almost the same.

The little difference in numbers of imports and sales figures shows the high demanding trend in the local market owing to change of technology and introduction of new designs of handsets.

Market experts said more than 60 per cent of the market consists of handsets falling in the Rs 4,000 to Rs 9,000 price range. Pakistan`s market has a solid demand of high cost handsets that exceeds the Rs 50,000 benchmark.

Imports and sales are constituted of more than 70 per cent Chinese-made handsets whereas different brands such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG and Samsung have retained their 25 -30 percent share in the local markets.

Importers and dealers forecast that import and sales may be affected as the telecom authority has come up with strict regulations, which could slow down the inflow of Chinese-made handsets in the local markets.