The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) will resolve issues of the business community in the shortest possible time and mobile service providers have already been directed to improve their services, announced PTA Chairman Major General (Retd) Amir Azeem Bajwa.

During a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Bajwa highlighted that the signal quality issue was being faced in congested areas, narrow streets and basements.

Owing to Covid-19, online work had increased and a 70% rise in data usage had been witnessed, he pointed out, adding that 2-2.5 million new subscribers were coming into the system.

He told LCCI office-bearers that telecom operators had been directed to improve the quality of service. He, however, said that the installation of towers would take time.

Bajwa pointed out that mobile assembly had started in Pakistan and last year 2.4 million handsets were assembled while during the last two months, 1.5 million sets were assembled.

“This shows the rapid growth of the sector,” he said, adding that soon 50% of handset parts would be manufactured in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that the business community had been complaining for the last few months about poor signals of mobile networks, especially in the dense markets of Lahore.

He said that the use of mobile phones had increased tremendously in Pakistan as the number of cellular subscribers touched 180 million while the number of 3G/4G subscribers reached 95 million.

“Lahore, being a large city with a population of more than 11 million, has a considerable share in the use of mobile phones,” he maintained.

Misbah stressed that in these times, businessmen were using mobile phones for running and promoting their business. There are several apps like WhatsApp, IMO, Skype, etc which are being used for making audio/ video calls.

“Furthermore, mobile banking has emerged as another important and useful tool in the last few years. Networks available for use by the businessmen like UBL Omni, Easypaisa, Jazz Cash, U-paisa and Paymaz Zong have also caused great ease in making quick payments to remote clients across the country,” he added.

The LCCI chief said that with greater use of such technology, the dependency of businesses had increased on the quality of service provided by the mobile companies. “In case of zero or poor signals, all commercial activities are severely affected.”

He added that the old markets in Lahore were densely populated and these were mostly bearing the brunt of the problem.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2021.

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