Afghanistan finally sees the launch of 4G mobile services Afghanistan continues to be confronted by the challenges.
The political and civil stability of the country is a dark cloud hanging over the country; is a particular threat to the effectiveness of the telecommunications network and the viability of the telecommunications sector.
By 2017 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.
Efforts are being made to roll out fixed-line services, but the country’s telecommunications services rely heavily on its mobile infrastructure. Fixed-line broadband market penetration has not grown significantly over the last five years. Over the next five years to 2022 growth is expected to continue but overall market penetration will remain extremely low.
Afghanistan is ranked 32nd out of 34 with a Telecoms Maturity Index score of 7. This ranks Afghanistan third last in the Market Challengers category. (BuddeComm’s Asian Telecoms Maturity Index, is an index (on a scale between 0 and 100) that measures and ranks the relative maturity of the telecoms industry in all of the 34 countries in Asia.) Compared to other Asian nations, Afghanistan has very low mobile and mobile broadband penetration and extremely low fixed broadband penetration.
Afghanistan has a highly competitive mobile market that continues to flourish despite the background of the ongoing conflict throughout the country. The mobile sector has been boosted by the absence of effective fixed-line alternatives.
Afghanistan’s mobile market has experienced reasonably strong growth over 2012 to 2017 period from a relatively small base. AWCC launched Afghanistan’s first LTE system in May 2017 with coverage of Kabul.
By early 2018 no other operators had launched 4G services. Moderately strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2022. Afghanistan has seen a strong increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years, however the mobile broadband market is still at an early stage of development and penetration remains relatively low compared to other Asian nations. Strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2022.
The mobile broadband market will be driven by a rising level of mobile subscribers and strong competition. The extent to which it will be driven by increasingly faster speeds offered by the mobile operators, will depend if the extent to which they rollout 4G networks over the next five years. By 2017 Afghanistan was making good progress on the roll-out of the government project for a nationwide optical fibre backbone.
Key developments: AWCC launched Afghanistan’s first LTE system with coverage of Kabul. Afghanistan is making good progress on the roll-out of a nationwide optical fibre backbone. Afghanistan’s mobile market has experienced reasonably strong growth. The mobile broadband market is being driven by a rising level of mobile subscribers and strong competition.
Companies mentioned in this report: Afghan Telecom/Aftel/Salam Telecom/Networks, Afghan Wireless Communications Company/AWCC, Roshan/ Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd (TDCA), Etisalat Afghanistan, MTN Afghanistan, Wasel Telecom.
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