ISLAMABAD: Telecom sector, during July-December Financial year (FY) 2021, has contributed around Rs. 97.7 billion to the national exchequer in terms of taxes, regulatory fees, initial and annual license fees, activation tax and other charges said Finance Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin at a news conference on Thursday. According the Economic Survey 2020-21 the telecom sector is a significant source of revenue generation for the national exchequer and the sector’s contribution to the national exchequer registered 129 percent growth in FY2021. Revenues from telecom sector, the minister said, in two quarters of 2021 reached an estimated Rs 276.0 billion. The cellular mobile sector in Pakistan demonstrated impressive growth in terms of nationwide expansion of networks and provision of broadband services. About 98 percent urban households in the country have mobile phone and about 45 percent individuals own them. Cellular mobile subscribers in Pakistan reached 182 million at the end of March 2021 compared to 167.3 million at the end of June 2020, showing a growth of 8.6 percent in 9 months. Growth in this segment is a healthy sign for the operators as more subscribers mean more revenue generating opportunities. Where lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic slackened economic activity, he said, vibrant telecommunication systems played a pivotal role in ensuring availability of essential services to the community. The pandemic enabled actualization of the true potential of broadband services, transforming the way people lived and worked from home. All daily activities related to education, health and virtually every other sector of the economy were digitized, creating a huge nationwide demand for telecom services. Rising to the occasion, PTA supported by other telecom operators ensured connectivity and network resilience; Mobile and Fixed Broadband subscriber base showed strong growth during July-March 2021. At the end of March 2021, broadband subscribers touched 100 million. The total broadband penetration both fixed and mobile in Pakistan stood at 47.6 percent in March 2021 registering an increase of about 19.7 percent as compared to the FY2020. The subscriber base of local loop (FLL&WLL) segment, he said, reached 2.46 million at end March 2021 as compared to 2.40 million in June 2020. The net addition of 0.06 million subscribers translates to a 2.5 percent growth. Mobile Data Usage Data usage by CMOs during July 2020 to February 2021 reached 4,196 petabytes which indicates a huge increase in eight months. During the last FY2020 data usage remained 4,498 petabytes, he added. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has unveiled 5G roadmap incorporating the testing of 5G technology and allied services during the FY2021. Under the policy directives of the government for introduction and trials of future wireless networks in Pakistan, stakeholders consultation exercise was undertaken to draft a framework on the matter. Furthermore, PTA permitted tests and trials of 5G services under limited environment and on noncommercial basis. Successful trials have been conducted by CMPak, Jazz, Telenor, Ufone and PTCL. During the trials, operators conducted demo test cases including, remote surgery for the first time in Pakistan, cloud gaming and overview of other 5G technology applications. These were among the first trials of 5G services in any South Asian country, with a recorded download speed of more than 1 Gigabits per second (Gbps). Pakistan was thus recognized as a pioneer of 5G trials in the region. PTA foresees 5G technology operating in a highly heterogeneous environment and providing ubiquitous connectivity for a wide range of devices, new applications and use cases.