Purchasing mobile phones has become much easier as a result of the government’s latest move aimed at making technology more accessible to the general public.
Federal Minister of IT and Telecom Syed Amin Ul Haque launched the “Smartphone For All” initiative in Islamabad today, which will enable low-income people to buy mobile phones via easy installments.
The initiative has been launched in collaboration with GSMA and Pakistan’s fastest-growing installment payment service KistPay.
Besides Amin Ul Haq, the Head of Asia Pacific for GSMA Julian Gorman addressed the event. Head of Policy Janet White, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Major General (R) Aamir Azeem Bajwa, Asif Jafri of KistPay, and Chief Executives of Ufone, Jazz, Telenor, and Special Communication Organization (SCO) also attended the launch ceremony.
To facilitate the transition to mobile broadband for an additional 50 million people in the next three years, Asif Aziz, CCO Jazz suggested that the government needs to discontinue the import and local production of 2G phones, prioritize local assembly of 4G-enabled smartphones, develop and implement a regulatory cover that enables telecom companies to offer smartphones on installments, and reduce withholding tax on essential telecom services from 15% to 8%. This will help boost digital adoption and unlock tremendous socio-economic opportunities for the masses.
In his remarks at the ceremony, federal minister Amin Ul Haq stated that under the scheme, anyone can obtain a mobile phone by paying 20 to 30 percent of the total cost of the device. He stated that no guarantees or lengthy paperwork were required to obtain the mobile phone; instead, the sale could be completed with just the ID card.
He further informed that phones worth Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 100,000 will initially be distributed in 3 to 12-month installments. The devices will have modern software, will be non-payable, and will not be used anywhere else in the world.
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Amin Ul Haq explained that the scheme’s goal is to make phones more accessible to the masses while also introducing small businesses to e-commerce as a means to harness the industry’s potential.
The minister added that the scheme has been launched to ensure the availability of smartphones with enhanced connectivity. Currently, over 70 projects worth Rs. 65 billion are underway to provide connectivity in every corner of the country.