Afghanistan, the landlocked country located in the center of Asia, comprises of a population of 29 mn. The telecom industry of the country has significantly shot up after the fall of Taliban and with the total teledensity reaching 65%, the growth which the telecom industry has encountered is really praiseworthy. As the operators and the regulators of the country are planning to launch 3G services as soon as possible, the war-torn nation is sure to emerge as a hot-spot for the telecom industry.
The total number of the mobile subscribers in the country reached 17.5 mn as of June 2011. The operators and regulators of the country are seeking a way to deploy 3G or even 4G services in the country. The country has 4 mobile operators-Afghanistan Wireless Communications Company, Roshan, MTN, and Etisalat.
Afghan Wireless, incorporated in 2002, was the first mobile operator in the country with Ehsan Bayat as the chairman of the organization. The operator boasts of its country-wide network and is the only one to reach that milestone. The operator provides its services in both post and prepaid format with many beneficiary offers for the subscribers like Yak Bar se, Friends and Family-which provides calling on selected numbers at low charges, Jawanan-an affordable scheme for youth of the country, night talk, etc.
The operator, on the VAS front, provides services like-caller ringback tone (CRBT) with a list of songs varying from holy Islamic content to foreign pop songs; Islamic portal, which upon dialing 786 provides namaaz procedure and information about the religion; contests and quizzes, enabling the customers with a chance to win prizes; SMS, GPRS, and bulk SMS, a tool for corporate subscribers with which they can reach to a number of people simultaneously at low costs.
The operator, with 20% stake of the government, also provides BlackBerry services enabling the business community of the country to access, compose, and forward emails using BlackBerry push delivery. The roaming facility of the company is available across 340 networks in 102 countries worldwide.
Roshan started its operations in the country in 2003 and holds a subscriber base of over 5 mn with its network covering 230 cities in all the provinces of the country. The operator on the voice front offers services like call management, missed call notification, voice mail, caller ID, call waiting, call hold, call forwarding, etc.