Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Afghanistan Mobile Operator Overview

As of March 2014, the penetration rate in Afghanistan was estimated at 89% over a population estimate of 29.8 million.
The country's telcom regulator is the Afghanistan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA). 
Last week at an event in Washington, DC, Amirzai Sagin – Afghan Minister of Communications and Information Technology – said that in the last 12 years Afghanistan has come a long way in terms of developing the ICT sector (Information and Communications Technology). Today, there are five major telecom companies, and approximately 60 internet providing companies operating in Afghanistan. More than 90 percent of the Afghan population has access to mobile services, and 22 million of them own at least one mobile phone. The number of internet users continues to increase as the cost of internet has decreased from $1,000/mb in 2002 to $22/mb today. In addition, the Ministry has started issuing National Electronic IDs, which is a centralized system for avoiding fraud. At the end of his keynote address, the Minister said something very important that Afghanistan has the capacity to carry out the next presidential election, which will be in five years, via mobile phones.

All five mobile operating companies (Etisalat, MTN, AWCC, AfTel, and Roshan) are offering their own mobile money product. In 2008 Roshan began the use of the M-PAISA mobile money service. These products include mobile wallet technology, where customers can store their money digitally as opposed to using cash. Roshan’s M-PAISA operates in 6 major cities with 17,000 active users. The users portfolio is about to reach $79.5 million by the end of 2014. Most Afghans receive their monthly salary through their mobile phones, and relatives send money via phone from one province to another.

Last week at an event in Washington, DC, Amirzai Sagin – Afghan Minister of Communications and Information Technology – said that in the last 12 years Afghanistan has come a long way in terms of developing the ICT sector (Information and Communications Technology). Today, there are five major telecom companies, and approximately 60 internet providing companies operating in Afghanistan. More than 90 percent of the Afghan population has access to mobile services, and 22 million of them own at least one mobile phone. The number of internet users continues to increase as the cost of internet has decreased from $1,000/mb in 2002 to $22/mb today. In addition, the Ministry has started issuing National Electronic IDs, which is a centralized system for avoiding fraud. At the end of his keynote address, the Minister said something very important that Afghanistan has the capacity to carry out the next presidential election, which will be in five years, via mobile phones.

All five mobile operating companies (Etisalat, MTN, AWCC, AfTel, and Roshan) are offering their own mobile money product. In 2008 Roshan began the use of the M-PAISA mobile money service. These products include mobile wallet technology, where customers can store their money digitally as opposed to using cash. Roshan’s M-PAISA operates in 6 major cities with 17,000 active users. The users portfolio is about to reach $79.5 million by the end of 2014. Most Afghans receive their monthly salary through their mobile phones, and relatives send money via phone from one province to another.


Source


Roshan’s network now covers 60% of Afghanistan’s population. A third of the country’s subscribers are Roshan customers, giving it the largest market share of the five mobile network operators in the country. And there is plenty of room yet to grow. Though the Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority puts telephone penetration at 72%, Ladak says the proportion of people with  phones is probably half that. Afghans, like their counterparts in the rest of the poor world, own more than one SIM card to take advantage of different rates and packages. 
That should mean there are millions of Afghans yet to connect.

Foremost among these, perhaps, is that 3G data and services such as ringtones and caller tunes make money, even in a very poor country.  
When Roshan launched 3G services last year, the demand took it by surprise. Perhaps it shouldn’t have: Afghans, like anyone else, enjoy entertainment and music. Some 600,000 subscribers, or 10% of Roshan’s total customer base, now use 3G. Their top destinations are—yes—Facebook, YouTube and news websites. 

Mobile networks cover 88.5% of Afghanistan’s population.





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