10% of Pakistanis Connected to the Internet; 50% of Those are on Mobiles

Information Communication Technology (ICT) is the fastest growing industry in Pakistan. Pakistani’s have had Internet connectivity since the early 90’s and are currently 27th in terms of global internet usage. The last decade has seen an exponential rise in the number of Internet users in Pakistan using the information super highway because of:

  • Rapid technological advances
  • Falling prices of computing equipment and mobile phones

Currently, according to World Bank figures, a whopping 10% of Pakistan’s total population have access to the internet. 13% of India’s population, which is generally perceived as technologically advanced have access to the internet. Considering Pakistan places 6th in the South Asia region, 10% is a pretty good number.

Internet Penetration in Pakistan

Internet penetration in the country has improved substantially owing a lot to competition in the ISP and telecommunication market. These days, Internet access is not just limited to desktops and laptops. The availability of smartphones has caused mobile Internet users to increase. According to statistics published by the Tribune, out of the 30-odd million Internet users in Pakistan, roughly 50% have accessed the Internet using a mobile device. 12% of the total number state it’s their primary access device.

Google Digital Consumer Study

Pakistan Digital Consumer Study carried out by Google provides insights to digital media consumptions trends surveyed 1000 participants from 7 metropolitan cities.  According to the survey:

  • Time spent online averages at around 2.5 hours daily on weekdays and 3.5 on weekends, but varies from person to person
  • The average online session lasts for about 5 minutes only
  • More people go online daily for recreational purposes as compared to switching on the TV, 70% and 41% respectively
  • News, educational and informational content consumption is significantly higher on mobile devices
  • 97% of the users use broadband with a negligible number still using dial-up
  • Daily usage by device was found to be:

–       PCs: 86%

–       Smartphones: 77%

–       Feature phones (normal phones with browsing): 73%

–       Tablets: 59%

Pakistan Internet Use Survey

Another survey conducted by the Express Tribune sheds more light on the Internet access habits of Pakistanis. 1100 participants from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad aged 18-35 made up the pool. The key takeaways from this study were:

  • Internet access based on devices used:

–       Laptops: 81%

–       Mobile devices: 65%

–       Desktops: 47%

  • Usage of the Internet by location was at:

–       Home: 90%

–       Workplace: 52%

–       Elsewhere: 16%

  • Social networking and chatting was found to be the number one activity with email a close second
  • 56% of the respondents had made online purchases
  • Nearly half of the respondents never click on an online ad
  • 82% use proxies and/or VPNs for accessing blocked content
  • Media consumption in order of ranking stands at videos, music and information/news

The Google study predicts mobile Internet usage to overtake desktop internet access by mid 2014. And with everyone waiting for 3G launch sometime this year in Pakistan and mobile companies poised to invest heavily in the technology, this prediction doesn’t seem far-fetched at all.

How do you feel about the reach of the Internet as a user in Pakistan? Could/should we be increasing access to the average Pakistani population?

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