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Afghanistan-Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband-Statistics and Analyses

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Consolidation likely in Afghanistan mobile marketAfghanistan 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 2016 despite the positive signs of a civil society taking shape, the country was still suffering from the ongoing conflict and multiple difficulties in administering the nation. 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 around 90% of the population by 2016. Whilst the sector is flourishing, at least in a relative sense, the regulatory side is still in its infancy.

Efforts were made to roll out fixed-line services, but the country's telecommunications services rely heavily on its mobile infrastructure. There are five mobile operators competing in Afghanistan's telecom sector. Between them they claimed a total of more than 25 million subscribers, with an overall mobile penetration of almost 80%. Four of the five were carrying market shares in excess of 20%, while the fifth, Afghan Telecom's Salam was just starting to build its 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.

More recently, there has been a slump in the mobile market which was attributed to the withdrawal of foreign troops and an exodus of the nation's middle class amidst renewed violence. According to one source, this withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan was expected to lead to consolidation in the nation's mobile market. The exit of foreign troops had resulted in a shortage of high-value customers, leading to a drop of around 30%-40% in the value of the mobile market, according to the source.

In the meantime, internet penetration remains 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. Coming into 2016, 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 has continued on its positive expansion path into 2016;

mobile subscriber growth looks to be ongoing in the range 5% to 10% per annum in 2016;

mobile penetration has reached 80% under a generally difficult market environment;

mobile coverage (population) has passed 90% according to the MCIT;

all five of the mobile operators have been assigned 3G concessions;

by the time AWCC launched its 3G network in 2015, all five operators had launched 3G;

some early moves were being made for the adoption of 4G technology;

there are suggestions that the mobile market will undergo consolidation as the operators experience falling revenue with the departure of foreign troops;

the country's internet market continues to struggle but steady growth has been evident;

following a major surge in internet users 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 access/usage is dropping;

on a positive note the Afghanistan National Data Centre (ANDC), a government-owned data centre, has been steadily expanding its data centre role;

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 a negative impact on the telecom sector.


Table Of Content


1. Executive summary

2. Key statistics

3. Country overview

3.1 Background

3.2 Economy

4. Telecommunications market

4.1 Market Overview and Analysis

4.2 Historical background

5. Regulatory environment

5.1 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)

6. Telecommunications infrastructure

6.1 Overview of the national telecom network

6.1.1 Background-2000/2001

6.1.2 Background-post major conflict

6.2 Fixed-line statistics

6.3 Developments

6.3.1 Optical fibre backbone

6.3.2 AWCC's all-IP infrastructure strategy

6.3.3 Telecommunication Development Fund (TDF)

6.3.4 AWCC's microwave ring

6.4 International infrastructure

6.4.1 Satellite services

7. Fixed network operators

7.1 Overview

7.2 Afghan Telecom

7.3 Other operators and licences

7.3.1 Afghan Wireless Communications Co (AWCC)

7.3.2 Wasel Telecom

7.3.3 Other licences

8. Fixed Internet and broadband market

8.1 Market overview and analysis

8.2 Background

8.3 Statistics

8.4 Forecasts-internet subscribers-2015; 2018; 2021

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 Afghanistan National Data Centre (ANDC)

10.7 Other digital services

10.7.1 WiFi hotspots

10.7.2 Internet cafes

10.7.3 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

11. Mobile communications

11.1 Market Overview and Analysis

11.2 Mobile statistics

11.2.1 General statistics

11.2.2 Operator statistics

11.3 Mobile forecasts

11.3.1 Forecasts-mobile subscribers-2016;2018; 2021

11.3.2 Forecasts-mobile broadband subscribers-2016;2018; 2021

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 Overview

12.2 Afghan Wireless (AWCC)

12.2.1 Background

12.2.2 Statistics

12.2.3 Developments

12.3 Roshan

12.3.1 Overview

12.3.2 Statistics

12.3.3 Background

12.4 MTN Afghanistan

12.4.1 Overview

12.4.2 Statistics

12.4.3 Developments

12.5 Etisalat Afghanistan

12.5.1 Overview

12.5.2 Statistics

12.5.3 Developments

12.6 Salam Telecom (Aftel)

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

List Of Figure

1 Afghanistans GDP real growth rate-2006-2017

2 Fixed-line subscribers and teledensity-2009-2016

3 Internet users and penetration-2010-2015

4 Mobile subscribers and annual change-2006-2016

5 Market share by major operators-2015

Exhibit 1 Awarding of 3G licences-by operator and date

Exhibit 2 Launch of 3G services-by operator and date

List Of Table

Table 1-Country statistics Afghanistan-2015

Table 2-Telephone network statistics-2015

Table 3-Internet statistics-2015

Table 4-Mobile statistics-2015

Table 5-National telecommunications authorities

Table 6-Afghanistan's GDP real growth rate-2006-2017

Table 7-Historical-Fixed-line subscribers and teledensity-1994; 2000-2008

Table 8-Fixed-line subscribers and teledensity-2009-2016

Table 9-Fixed wireless (WLL) subscribers-2011-2015

Table 10-Fixed-line subscribers and teledensity-wireline v. wireless-2009-2016

Table 11-Fixed-line subscribers-wireline and wireless-2015

Table 12-Afghan Telecom-wireline and wireless subscribers-2012; 2014-2015

Table 13-Historical-Internet users (ITU)-2002-2006

Table 14-Internet users (ITU)� 2007-2015

Table 15-Internet users (MCIT)-2002; 2004; 2006; 2008; 2010-2015

Table 16-Historical-Internet subscribers-2002-2004

Table 17-Fixed internet subscribers-2005-2016

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; 2010-2015

Table 22-Afghanistan-Facebook users and penetration-2012; 2015

Table 23-Forecast-fixed internet subscribers-2016; 2018; 2021

Table 24-Mobile subscribers and annual change-2002-2016

Table 25-3G mobile broadband subscribers and penetration-2013-2016

Table 26-Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change-2015

Table 27-Market share by major operators-2015

Table 28-Historical-ARPU by operator-2008-2012

Table 29-Forecast mobile subscribers-2016; 2018; 2021

Table 30-Forecast-mobile broadband subscribers-2016; 2018; 2021

Table 31-AWCC's mobile subscribers-2005-2015

Table 32-Roshan's mobile subscribers-2005-2015

Table 33-MTN's mobile subscribers-2007-2015

Table 34-MTN's ARPU-2011-2015

Table 35-Etisalat's mobile subscribers-2007-2015

Table 36-Key broadcasting statistics-2015

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The Afghanistan-Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband-Statistics and Analyses report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.Please review the Executive Summary and Table of Contents for more details.


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