Pakistani freelancers contributed a remarkable $350.15 million in foreign exchange earnings during the fiscal year 2024 (July-March). According to the Economic Survey 2023-24, the expansion of broadband services and flexible telecom pricing regulations played a crucial role in increasing the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). ARPU rose to Rs. 284 per month in FY2024 (Jul-Dec), up from Rs. 248 per month in FY2023.

Pakistan is known for having some of the lowest telecom prices globally, with 1 GB of data costing just $0.12. Since FY2018, the cost of data per GB has plummeted by 71%, from Rs. 114.6/GB to Rs. 32.8/GB in FY2023. The IT industry in Pakistan generates annual exports of around $2.6 billion. To achieve an ambitious annual export target of $15 billion within the next five years, the industry needs at least 200,000 specialized IT professionals.

From 2019 to March 2024, the IT sector attracted local investments totaling $6.3 billion and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) amounting to $1.4 billion. Despite facing economic challenges, the telecom sector generated Rs. 735 billion in revenues during FY2024 (July-March) and contributed Rs. 213 billion in taxes and fees.

ICT export remittances saw an impressive increase, rising from $1.944 billion to $2.283 billion during FY2024 (July-March). Specifically, in March 2024, ICT services export remittances surged to $306 million, marking a 36% increase from March 2023. Compared to February 2024, ICT export remittances grew by $49 million (19.1%) in March 2024.

The IT & ITeS industry achieved a trade surplus of $1.996 billion during FY2024 (July-March), an increase of 15.84% from the previous year. Conversely, the Services sector recorded a trade deficit of $1.655 billion. ICT sector exports accounted for 39.31% of total service exports, amounting to $2.283 billion, the highest among all services.

The information and communication industry experienced a decline of -3.02% due to lower telecommunication spectrum fees. However, broadband subscriptions saw a significant rise from 58.7 million in FY2018 to 135.4 million as of March 2024. Data usage in the telecom sector reached 24,515 petabytes in FY2024, emphasizing the critical role of broadband services in Pakistan’s digital connectivity. The survey underscores the need for infrastructure expansion to support growing broadband demand.

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