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19 June 2015

ISOC Asia-Pacific Bureau: Building engagements in Pakistan

By Naveed HaqRegional Infrastructure and Connectivity Director

Home to around 180 million people, Pakistan is an important economy in the South Asian region. The country is witnessing an exponential growth in terms of Internet usage, especially for the mobile broadband segment, reporting over 600% increase in data usage during the last quarter. It may be noted that 3G and 4G LTE services only made their entry last year in Pakistan offering a new dimension to the overall Internet growth.

Internet Society Asia-Pacific Bureau is building engagements with local stakeholders; the team was recently in Islamabad and Lahore on an engagement trip.

In partnership with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, mobile operators and Samsung Pakistan, the Bureau spearheaded the first-ever ‘Pakistan Mobile Apps Award’  aimed at encouraging young innovators and entrepreneurs to develop innovative mobile applications. It received over 100 entries, and an awards ceremony was held in Islamabad to recognize the winners of the competition. The event was attended by representatives from the Ministry, industry, academia and media.

The Bureau was invited for to give a talk on ‘Network Neutrality’ at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). It was great to observe the attention of the participants and how the young generation in Pakistan is mindful of Internet issues.

The Bureau team also visited LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship founded in summer 2014. Since then, 13 startups have graduated from the center in two cohorts. The third cohort of 16 startups is currently being mentored and groomed to become high-growth businesses of tomorrow. The center has already created over 60 jobs, generated over $200K in annualized revenue and raised close to $600K of investments.

The Bureau team also held meetings with the chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the CEO of the Comsats Internet Services  and the Internet Society Pakistan Islamabad Chapter.

A number of potential areas for partnership was identified with the office of the regulator and industry players; the Bureau looks forward to further strengthening its work and engagements in Pakistan.



Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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