Strong interest in Afghan GSM auction

17 Aug 2005

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) has reported strong international investor interest in the auction of two national GSM licences. Since the details of the tender were published in May this year, more than 80 potential investors requested the documents, and five companies eventually submitted offers by yesterday’s closing date. The bidders are: Germany’s KB Impuls, Luxembourg-based MIC, Alokozay FZE and Warid Telecom (both of the UAE), and local start-up Watan Mobile. The MoC is expected to award concessions by mid-September, and will allow winners to launch commercial GSM services from 10 January 2006.

Mobile phone services came late to Afghanistan. Afghan Wireless Communications Company (AWCC) – a joint venture between the MoC and Afghan expatriate Ehsan Bayat’s US-based Telephone Services International (TSI) – launched GSM services in 2002, and a second GSM player, Telecom Development Company Afghanistan (TDCA, operating under the brand name Roshan), launched in mid-2003.