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Ministry of IT Launches Easy Installment Plan for Mobile Handsets

The long-anticipated initiative to provide mobile handsets on easy installments is set to debut on January 12, 2024, courtesy of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication in tandem with telecom operators. This initiative aims to significantly enhance smartphone accessibility, particularly among low-income segments in Pakistan.

Dr Umar Saif, the caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, highlighted this milestone during discussions with a group of journalists. Notably, he revealed that a telecom operator plans to introduce Apple iPhones under this installment scheme, elevating the offerings available to consumers.

In the event of installment defaults, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) will implement measures similar to the Device Identification, Registration, and Blocking System (DIRBS) to block the handsets, ensuring adherence to payment obligations.

Dr Saif emphasized the initiative’s underlying objective: promoting responsible financial behavior while fostering the continuous expansion of smartphone accessibility. He outlined the initiative’s mechanics, elucidating that telecom companies will directly offer smartphones to customers through installment plans.

Moreover, Dr Saif made significant announcements regarding the imminent launch of 5G services, scheduled for July next year. Anticipating this rollout, the government plans to auction 300 MHz spectrum. This announcement follows the establishment of the Advisory Committee for Spectrum Auction and strategic steps toward laying a robust optical fiber cable network across the country.

Currently, Pakistan boasts approximately 200,000 kilometers of fiber cable, linking 6,000 mobile towers that are due for upgrades. Dr Saif underscored the importance of expanding this optical fiber cable network, promising faster connectivity and enhanced internet services for users nationwide.

In parallel to these developments, the government is gearing up to initiate a pioneering project on January 11: the establishment of 10,000 e-Rozgar Centres nationwide. Dr Saif envisions these centers equipped with state-of-the-art facilities tailored for freelancers and startups, addressing the workspace challenges faced by an estimated 1.5 million freelancers in Pakistan.

“This historic initiative aims to alleviate the challenges encountered by approximately 1.5 million freelancers, who currently lack suitable workspaces,” Dr Saif affirmed, underlining the project’s significance for the burgeoning freelance economy in the country.

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