Pakistan’s 3G/4G user base increased 27 per cent to 37.6 million in the six months to end-2016, with 4G subscribers nearly tripling to 2.9 million.

Mobile broadband penetration (3G/4G adoption) rose to 27.5 per cent from 22 per cent at the end of June.

Mobilink, the leader with a 30 per cent market share, reported the fastest 3G growth climbing 38 per cent to 12.3 million during the six-month period, according to a report from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Number two Telenor and third-ranked Zong saw their 3G user base increase 18 per cent to 9.9 million and 7.1 million respectively. Zong, which is owned by China Mobile, boosted its 4G numbers more than threefold to 2.3 million.

Number four Ufone’s 3G subscriber base rose 2 per cent 5.3 million. Warid, which is in the process of merging with Mobilink, expanded its 4G subs from 367,000 in June to 640,000 last month, PTA reported.

Only Zong and Warid have launched 4G services.

The country’s total mobile connections edged up 2.5 per cent to 136.5 million during the July-December period. Its mobile teledensity stabilised at between 69 per cent and 70 per cent over the past 18 months.