A Swift Rise

The tele­com in­dus­try of the coun­try is on a sig­nif­i­cant rise, even eye­ing to launch 3G ser­vices soon

Voice&Data - - SAARC - Rimit singh

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.

Mo­bile

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—afghani-

stan 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.

The op­er­a­tor pro­vides Black­berry ser­vices as well and was the first one to pro­vide m-paisa in the coun­try, pro­vid­ing the ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion with safe and se­cure range of mo­bile fi­nan­cial ser­vices. The other op­er­a­tor, MTN, was the sec­ond com­pany to re­ceive the GSM li­cense in the coun­try in July 2006 through its le­gal en­tity Areeba and was later re­named to MTN in 2008. The op­er­a­tor’s net­work has

AFSAT got in­cor­po­rated in 2007 and pro­vides ser­vices in­clud­ing wire­less in­ter­net, shared ser­vices, and satel­lite cov­er­age maps

its pres­ence in 30 prov­inces, cov­er­ing 18 mn peo­ple of the coun­try.

The com­pany pro­vides nu­mer­ous ben­e­fi­ciary ser­vices like MTN play, of­fer­ing the con­sumers ac­cess to con­tents like games, mu­sic, videos, etc; MMS; GPRS; ME2U, an SMS based credit trans­fer ser­vice al­low­ing trans­fer of credit from one mo­bile to other; CRBT; voice mail, etc, in pre­paid and post­paid for­mat.

Eti­salat Afghanista­n is a 100% owned sub­sidiary of Eti­salat UAE. The com­pany flagged off its op­er­a­tions in the coun­try in 2007 and has in­vested $300 mn till date, dou­bling its rev­enue ev­ery year.

The op­er­a­tor pro­vides its ser­vices in 182 districts of the coun­try and has 12,000 re­tail out­lets. The Afghanista­n Tele­com Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity (ATRA) has even signed a deal with the com­pany to pro­vide ser­vices in the ru­ral and re­mote ar­eas of the coun­try. The com­pany has tied up with 120 op­er­a­tors in 80 coun­tries to pro­vide roam­ing ser­vices to its sub­scribers. The com­pany pro­vides smart de­vices like tablets in­clud­ing ipad, Galaxy tab, Blacberry play­book, and Dell Streak 5 with its post­paid plans.

In the VAS seg­ment, the com­pany pro­vides ser­vices like credit trans­fer, voice mail, caller ring back tunes, mu­sic on call, SMS, data and in­ter­net, and in­ter­na­tional pre­paid recharge which en­ables the users to recharge the cell phones of their friends or fam­ily vis­it­ing an­other coun­try.

Fixed/broad­band

The to­tal num­ber of land­line subscripti­ons in the coun­try stands at 0.07 mn at the end of June 2011, which is quite low, but has in­creased minutely com­pared to what the num­ber was in March 2011.

Afghan Tele­com Cor­po­ra­tion, in­cor­po­rated in 2006, is the only op­er­a­tor pro­vid­ing fixed phone ser­vices in the coun­try. The com­pany’s voice ser­vices in­clude district com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work (DCN), which pro­vides both voice and in­ter­net ser­vices for the peo­ple in iso­lated re­gions; vil­lage com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­work (VCN),

pro­vid­ing voice and data ser­vices in the re­mote ar­eas of the coun­try.

Afghan Tele­com also pro­vides its fixed phone ser­vices in pre­paid for­mat by the name Digi­phone, with which the users can make lo­cal as well as in­ter­na­tional calls. The com­pany also of­fers pay­phone ser­vice in the city of Kabul. The land­locked coun­try has 6 in­ter­net ser­vice providers in­clud­ing AFSAT, Neda Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, Ceretechs.com, In­sta Tele­com, Io Global Ser­vices, RANA Tech­nolo­gies, and Li­wal­net.

AFSAT got in­cor­po­rated in 2007 and pro­vides ser­vices in­clud­ing wire­less in­ter­net, shared ser­vices, and satel­lite cov­er­age maps. The com­pany even pro­vides net­work­ing equip­ments like routers, modems, dish an­ten­nas, etc.

Neda Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions started off its op­er­a­tions in 2003 with dial-up ser­vices and now pro­vides broad­band in­ter­net ser­vices in al­most ev­ery ma­jor city of the coun­try through wire­less, VSAT, dial-up, and CDMA. The com­pany’s list of so­lu­tions in­clude wire­less, Wimax, VSAT net­work, and IT so­lu­tions. The in­ter­net ser­vice providers have re­cently in­tro­duced an online pay­ment plat­form for the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Ceretechs.com started pro­vid­ing the in­ter­net ser­vices in 2002 and got the

In­sta Tele­com pro­vides ser­vices in­clud­ing DSL cable in­ter­net, wire­less broad­band in­ter­net ser­vices, VSAT, and VPN so­lu­tions

tag of be­ing the first ISP of the coun­try. The com­pany pro­vides ser­vices like broad­band wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity (BWA), web ser­vices, LAN and WAN in­stal­la­tion, power pro­tec­tion, and in­ter­net ser­vices with their speed rang­ing from 32 KB to 36 Mbps. The com­pany even pro­vides so­lu­tions like Voice over IP so­lu­tions and soft­ware de­vel­op­ment.

In­sta Tele­com pro­vides ser­vices in­clud­ing DSL cable in­ter­net, wire­less broad­band in­ter­net ser­vices, VSAT, and VPN so­lu­tions. The com­pany’s clients list in­cludes or­ga­ni­za­tions like Govern­ment of Afghanista­n, coali­tion forces like NATO, Em­bassies, NGOS, etc.

For more re­lated ar­ti­cles go to voicen­data.com

Global Ser­vices of­fers VSAT, wire­less based broad­band in­ter­net ac­cess, VNO, and man­aged ser­vices to large cor­po­rate banks, SMES, and homes in the coun­try. The com­pany’s list of tech­nol­ogy part­ners com­prises of or­ga­ni­za­tions like Iostar, a satel­lite based ser­vice plat­form com­pany; REACH, a car­rier of com­bined voice, IPL, and IP data ser­vices; Vi­asat, a com­pany deal­ing in satel­lite and other wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tion prod­ucts, etc.

RANA tech­nolo­gies, with its cor­po­rate of­fice in the cap­i­tal city of Kabul, pro­vides broad­band in­ter­net ser­vices through VSAT, Wimax, and BGAN (broad­band global area net­work). The com­pany even pro­vides af­ter-sales tech­ni­cal ser­vices of tech­nol­ogy giants in­clud­ing Cisco, Xerox Har­ris, Poly­com, Siemens, Mobotix, and HID Global. The in­ter­net ser­vice is also pro­vided to the US mil­i­tary in the coun­try by the com­pany.

The ISP Li­wal­net is a sub­sidiary of Li­wal and pro­vides var­i­ous ser­vices in the coun­try like satel­lite in­ter­net, dig­i­tal TV ser­vice, dis­tance learn­ing ser­vices, etc. The in­ter­net ser­vice provider even of­fers do­main and host­ing ser­vices to or­ga­ni­za­tions in the coun­try. The com­pany deals in net­work prod­ucts of com­pa­nies in­clud­ing 3Com, Cisco sys­tems, HP, and In­tel.

It seems the coun­try, af­ter the de­struc­tion, is ris­ing up again like a Phoenix. The tele­den­sity of 65% and the emer­gence of nu­mer­ous op­er­a­tors pro­vid­ing ben­e­fi­ciary ser­vices to the coun­try res­i­dents re­flect that the na­tion will be a par­adise for in­vestors in the com­ing fu­ture.

rim­its@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in

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