Pakistan’s cellcos are estimated to have incurred losses of around PKR1 billion (USD9.56 million) in lost revenue after services were temporarily disabled for two days, ProPakistani writes. Mobile voice and internet services were disabled for reasons of national security during an Islamic festival, the celebrations of which have been the focus of sectarian violence and terrorist attacks in the past. 68 districts were affected by the blackout, impacting tens of millions of mobile subscribers, with cellcos estimating their losses to be around PKR1 billion, whilst the government lost out on around PKR300 million in potential tax income from calls and messaging.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, controversial cellular blackouts were used heavily in 2012-13, with one cellco claiming in March 2013 that it had been ordered to switch off its network no fewer than 24 times. The rules for ordering the closures were subsequently tightened, however, and the measure is now employed only once or twice each year, typically on days deemed most susceptible to terrorist attacks due to their religious or cultural significance.