Afghanistan - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Afghanistan gains momentum in the rollout of fibre networks

Afghanistan continues to be confronted by the challenges. 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. The telecommunications networks now covers over 90% of the population.

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 2023 growth is expected to continue but overall market penetration will remain extremely low.

Afghanistan is making good progress on the roll-out of the government project for a nationwide optical fibre backbone. The MCIT officially launched the ‘Wakhan Corridor Fibre Optic Survey Project’, the first phase of a plan to install a cross-border fibre link connecting Afghanistan with China.

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. There are five mobile operators competing in Afghanistan’s telecom sector.

Afghanistan’s mobile market has experienced reasonably strong growth over 2012 to 2018 period from a relatively small base. Moderately strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023.

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 2023 by which time the market is predicted to reach market penetration of 30%. The mobile broadband market will be driven by a rising level of mobile subscribers and strong competition.

Key developments:

  • The MCIT officially launched the 'Wakhan Corridor Fibre Optic Survey Project',
  • 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.

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

    • Background
    • Economy
  • Telecommunications market

    • Market Overview and Analysis
    • Regional Market Comparison
    • Historical background
  • Regulatory environment

    • Overview
    • Regulatory authorities
      • Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA)
      • Minister of Communications and Information Technology
    • Framework for emergency telecoms systems
    • Spectrum
    • Number Portability (NP)
    • Access
    • Mobile
    • Digital Media
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Fixed-line Statistics
    • Optical fibre Backbone
    • IP infrastructure
    • Rural Access
      • Telecommunication Development Fund (TDF)
      • Remote Village
    • Microwave ring
    • International infrastructure
      • Satellite services
    • Cloud Computing
  • Fixed network operators

    • Overview
    • Afghan Telecom
    • Other operators
      • Afghan Wireless Communications Co (AWCC)
      • Wasel Telecom
    • Other licences
  • Broadband Statistics and Forecasts

    • Internet Service Providers (Isp)
    • WiMAX
    • WiFi hotspots
    • Internet cafes
  • Mobile communications

    • Introduction
    • Mobile statistics And Forecasts
    • Mobile Broadband Statistics and Forecasts
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • Introduction
      • Third Generation (3G)
      • 4G / LTE
    • Mobile data services
      • Mobile banking and m-money
      • Roshan’s Malomat service
    • Mobile Satellite
  • Mobile operators

    • Operator Statistics
    • Afghan Wireless (AWCC)
    • Roshan
    • MTN Afghanistan
    • Etisalat Afghanistan
    • Salam Telecom (Aftel)
    • Wasel Telecom
  • Digital economy

    • e-Commerce
    • e-Government
    • e-Health
    • e-Education
    • e-Banking
    • Afghanistan National Data Centre (Andc)
  • Digital Media

    • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
    • Broadcasting market
      • Overview
      • Digitalisation
      • National broadcasters
      • Cable TV
  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Country Statistics, Major Operators and Telco Authorities – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Top Level Country Statistics – 2018 (e)
  • Table 3 – Fixed Line Subscriptions and Penetration – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 4 – Historic - Fixed-line subscribers and teledensity – 1994; 2000 – 2008
  • Table 5 – Historic - Fixed-line subscribers – wireline v. wireless - 2009 – 2016
  • Table 6 – Afghan Telecom - wireline and wireless subscribers – 2012; 2014 – 2016
  • Table 7 – Fixed Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2008 – 2023
  • Table 8 – Internet Users and Penetration – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 9 – Historic - Internet users (ITU) – 2002 – 2006
  • Table 10 – Historic - Fixed internet subscribers – 2003 – 2016
  • Table 11 – International internet bandwidth – 2005 – 2017
  • Table 12 – Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2007 – 2023
  • Table 13 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and annual change – 2002 – 2006
  • Table 14 – Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2013 – 2023
  • Table 15 – Mobile subscribers by category –2018
  • Table 16 – 3G mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 17 – Percentage of Population Covered by Type of Mobile Network
  • Table 18 – Mobile operator and systems
  • Table 19 – Subscribers and Market share by Major Operators – 2018
  • Table 20 – Historic - ARPU by operator – 2008 – 2012
  • Table 21 – AWCC’s mobile subscribers – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 22 – Roshan’s mobile subscribers – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 23 – MTN’s mobile subscribers – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 24 – MTN’s ARPU – 2011 – 2016
  • Table 25 – Etisalat’s mobile subscribers – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 26 – Key broadcasting statistics – 2016

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Mobile, Mobile Broadband & Fixed Broadband Penetration – 2018; 2023
  • Chart 2 – Asian Telecoms Maturity Index by Market Category
  • Chart 3 – Asian Telecoms Maturity Index – Central Asia
  • Chart 4 – Asian Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita
  • Chart 5 – Fixed Broadband vs Mobile Penetration - Central Asia (selected countries)
  • Chart 6 – Fixed Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2008 – 2023
  • Chart 7 – Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2007 – 2023
  • Chart 8 – Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2013 – 2023

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Key Market Characteristics by Market Segment
  • Exhibit 2 – Central Asia -Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
  • Exhibit 3 – Licensed ISPs – 2018
  • Exhibit 4 – Awarding of 3G licences – by operator and date
  • Exhibit 5 – Launch of 3G services – by operator and date

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