Etisalat launches 3G in Afghanistan

19 March 2012 |

Etisalat is claiming to be the first operator to launch 3G network services in Afghanistan.

The Middle Eastern operator signed an agreement to launch 3G services today at a ceremony held at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Communications and IT building in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

“Today is an auspicious moment in the history of telecommunications in Afghanistan – one that calls for a celebration of a public-private partnership for connecting people and improving lives,” said Ahmed Alhosani, CEO at Etisalat Afghanistan.

Etisalat’s 3G launch is part of a $100 million investment plan announced in April last year, with the aim of doubling its Afghan mobile subscriber numbers.

Afghanistan’s 3G auctions were held in November 2011 by regulator ATRA. The auction allowed bidding from entrants Sahar 3G, Toseye Eatemad Mobin and Shezai Tel USA as well as existing operators Telecom Development Company Afghanistan, MTN Afghanistan, Afghan Wireless Communications Company and Etisalat.

According to data from TeleGeography, Etislalat Afghanistan had a 17.4% mobile market share in December 2011, placing it in fourth place behind Afghan Wireless Communications Company (22.2%), MTN Afghanistan (26.6%) and Telecom Development Company Afghanistan (32.7%).

Demand for telecoms services in Afghanistan is high due to years of war and a lack of fixed line infrastructure. There has been an estimated 25.9% mobile subscriber growth between December 2010 and 2011, with 17,558,000 subscribers estimated at the end of last year.