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Afghanistan - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses


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Afghanistan - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Afghanistan expands its online access as 3G networks roll out

Afghanistan continues to be confronted on the widest possible front by the challenges of moving from a fragile present into a more stable and positive future. By 2015 despite the positive signs of a civil society taking shape, the country was still suffering from the ongoing conflict. After many years of war and civil strife, an encouraging aspect of the country's efforts to rebuild has been the considerable success evident in the creating a functional telecommunications sector virtually from nothing. According to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), the telecommunications networks covered almost 90% of the population by 2015.

Efforts were made to roll out fixed-line services, but the country's telecommunications services rely heavily on its mobile infrastructure. There were five mobile operators competing in Afghanistan's telecom sector by 2015. Between them they claimed a total of almost 24 million subscribers, with an overall mobile penetration of 75% by that stage. Four of the five were carrying market shares in excess of 20%, while the fifth, Afghan Telecom, was almost irrelevant at that stage with less than 1% of the mobile subscriber base. Indeed Afghanistan has a highly competitive mobile market that continues to flourish despite the background of the ongoing conflict throughout the country. Not surprisingly the mobile sector has been boosted by the absence of effective fixed-line alternatives.
In the meantime, internet penetration remained generally low throughout Afghanistan. With internet access initially relying heavily on dial-up services and an extremely low number of broadband subscribers in place, the online segment of the market was looking for a boost. That boost came in the form of 3G mobile licences. The 3G services being offered by the various operators had been launched in 2013 and were providing a special opportunity for delivering mobile broadband to Afghanistan's population. By mid-2015 there were around two million 3G mobile broadband subscribers in the country; however, this was only 8% of the total mobile subscriber base.

The political and civil stability of the country is a dark cloud hanging over the country; it is of course a particular threat to the effectiveness of the telecommunications network and the viability of the telecommunications sector. Nevertheless, there does appear to be a will to secure the future of telecommunications in Afghanistan.

Key developments:

Afghanistan's mobile market continued on its positive expansion path into 2015;
mobile subscriber growth looked to be ongoing at around 10% per annum in 2015;
mobile penetration has passed 75% under a generally difficult market environment;
mobile coverage (population) had passed 90% according to the MCIT;
five mobile operators have been assigned 3G concessions;
with AWCC launching its 3G network at the start of 2015, all five operators had launched 3G;
some early moves were being made for the adoption of 4G technology;
the country's internet market continues to struggle but steady growth has been evident;
since the major surge in internet users reported by the ITU in 2009/2010, there has been positive growth in internet usage;
the arrival of 3G mobile broadband services has rapidly expanded internet access;
most importantly the price of internet is dropping;
the country's first satellite, Afghansat-1 was launched in 2015 under a strategic partnership with Eutelsat;
on a broader front, the ongoing political and civil unrest continued to be of concern to the country and its people, with any deterioration in the situation certain to have an impact on the telecom sector.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Afghan Telecom/Aftel, Afghan Wireless Communications Company/AWCC, Roshan/ Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd (TDCA), Etisalat Afghanistan, MTN Afghanistan, Wasel Telecom, Ericsson, ZTE.


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
3.1 Background
3.2 Economy
4. Telecommunications market
4.1 Recent developments
4.2 Historical overview
4.3 Market analysis
5. Regulatory environment
5.1 Historical overview
5.2 Regulatory authorities
5.2.1 Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA)
5.2.2 Minister of Communications and Information Technology
5.3 Regulatory developments
5.3.1 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
5.3.2 Pakistan-Afghanistan border
6. Fixed network operators
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Afghan Telecom
6.3 Other operators and licences
6.3.1 Afghan Wireless Communications Co (AWCC)
6.3.2 Wasel Telecom
6.3.3 Other licences
7. Telecommunications infrastructure
7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
7.1.1 Background 2000/2001
7.1.2 Background - post major conflict
7.1.3 Fixed-line statistics
7.2 Developments
7.2.1 Optical fibre backbone
7.2.2 Telecommunication Development Fund (TDF)
7.2.3 AWCC's microwave ring
7.3 International infrastructure (satellite, submarine)
7.3.1 Satellite services
8. Internet and broadband market
8.1 Overview
8.2 Background
8.3 Statistics
8.4 Forecasts internet subscribers 2015; 2017; 2020
9. Internet Service Providers (ISP)
10. Digital economy
10.1 e-Commerce
10.2 e-Government
10.3 e-Health
10.4 e-Education
10.5 e-Banking
10.6 Other digital services
10.6.1 WiFi hotspots
10.6.2 Internet cafes
10.6.3 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
11. Mobile communications
11.1 Market analysis
11.2 Overview
11.3 Mobile statistics
11.3.1 General statistics
11.3.2 Operator statistics
11.3.3 Forecasts mobile subscribers 2015;2017; 2020
11.3.4 Forecasts mobile broadband subscribers 2015;2017; 2020
11.4 Mobile infrastructure
11.4.1 Introduction
11.4.2 Third Generation (3G)
11.4.3 4G / LTE
11.5 Mobile data services
11.5.1 Mobile banking and m-money
11.5.2 Roshan's Malomat service
12. Mobile operators
12.1 Afghan Wireless (AWCC)
12.1.1 Background
12.1.2 Statistics
12.1.3 Developments
12.2 Roshan
12.2.1 Background
12.2.2 Statistics
12.2.3 Developments
12.3 MTN Afghanistan
12.3.1 Background
12.3.2 Statistics
12.3.3 Developments
12.4 Etisalat Afghanistan
12.4.1 Background
12.4.2 Statistics
12.4.3 Developments
12.5 Aftel (Afghan Telecom)
13. Broadcasting market
13.1 Overview
13.2 Digitalisation
13.3 National broadcaster
13.4 Afghan TV
13.5 Herat TV
13.6 Cable TV
14. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Afghanistan 2015
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2014
Table 3 Internet statistics 2014
Table 4 Mobile statistics 2014
Table 5 National telecommunications authorities
Table 6 Afghanistan's GDP real growth rate 2006 - 2017
Table 7 Afghan Telecom - wireline and wireless subscribers 2012; 2014
Table 8 Historical - Fixed-line subscribers and teledensity 1994; 2000 - 2008
Table 9 Fixed-line subscribers and teledensity 2009 - 2015
Table 10 Fixed wireless (WLL) subscribers 2011 - 2015
Table 11 Fixed-line subscribers and teledensity 2009 - 2015
Table 12 Fixed-line subscribers wireline and wireless 2014
Table 13 Historical - Internet users 2002 - 2006
Table 14 Internet users 2007 2015
Table 15 Internet users 2002; 2004; 2006; 2008; 2010 2014
Table 16 Historical - Internet subscribers 2002 - 2004
Table 17 Fixed internet subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 18 Fixed broadband subscribers 2005 - 2015
Table 19 International internet bandwidth 2005 - 2015
Table 20 Internet traffic incoming - 2002; 2004; 2006; 2008; 2010; 2012 2015
Table 21 Internet price 1Mb/month - 2002; 2004; 2006; 2008; 2010 2014
Table 22 Afghanistan - Facebook users and penetration 2012; 2015
Table 23 Forecast - fixed internet subscribers 2015; 2017; 2020
Table 24 Mobile subscribers and annual change 2002 - 2015
Table 25 3G mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2013 - 2015
Table 26 Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change 2014
Table 27 Market share by major operators 2013
Table 28 Market share by major operators 2014
Table 29 ARPU by operator 2008 - 2012
Table 30 Forecast mobile subscribers 2015; 2017; 2020
Table 31 Forecast mobile broadband subscribers 2015; 2017; 2020
Table 32 AWCC's mobile subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 33 Roshan's mobile subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 34 MTN's mobile subscribers 2007 - 2015
Table 35 MTN's ARPU 2011 - 2015
Table 36 Etisalat's mobile subscribers 2007 - 2014
Table 37 Key broadcasting statistics 2014
Chart 1 - Afghanistans GDP real growth rate - 2006 2017
Chart 2 - Fixed-line subscribers and teledensity - 2009 - 2015
Chart 3 - Internet users and penetration - 2010 2014
Chart 4 - Mobile subscribers and annual change - 2005 - 2015
Chart 5 - Market share by major operators 2014
Chart 6 AWCC's mobile subscribers - 2005 - 2014
Chart 7 - Roshans mobile subscribers - 2005 - 2014
Exhibit 1 Awarding of 3G licences by operator and date 2012 - 2014
Exhibit 2 Launch of 3G services by operator and date 2012 - 2015

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