Main trends

Telecommunications are developing successfully for the last two decades in Afghanistan. In 2000, if a person wanted to call abroad, he/she needed to travel to the neighbouring country of Pakistan to do so. Now it is possible to call wherever you want from almost everywhere in the country. Nevertheless, this achievement was not easy to reach. Almost US$2bn were invested in this sector. For almost a decade there were only four companies competing with each other and according to the MoCIT no more companies would be allowed to join the sector for a while. Thus, this brings a kind of monopoly situation in the sector. A normal call inside Afghanistan is almost US$0.05-0.065 per minute, while it is US$0.01-0.015 in Pakistan. A normal SMS with 160 characters costs almost US$0.04 while in Pakistan in most cases it is free. Packages are not very useful and compared with the cost of normal calls it is almost the same. Most companies offer prepaid plans. Taxes to the government amount to 10 percent of the payments. But there is no transparent system to report to the public how these taxes are used. Although the government is claiming they have installed the “Real Time” system to bring all data of taxes allocations and could make it public, bust still no sign of doing this. AWCC and Roshan have a program allocating part of their income to public benefit projects, although in very small percentages. But no other company has similar measures. AWCC supports some women dormitories while Roshan is supporting some sports development processes.

There is no confirmed data to differentiate mobile users by age, gender of geography. But most experts in this regard agree that youths are the most numerous users. Users in urban areas are more than those in rural areas. And, in a male-dominated country such Afghanistan, very obviously male users are more than female users.