Afghanistan has reportedly seen the launch of its first 3G network according to local news source Outlook Afghanistan. UAE-based Etisalat Afghanistan today announced the launch of its 3G network in a ceremony attended by the head of the nation’s telecoms watchdog, the Afghanistan Telecoms Regulatory Authority (ATRA) and the minister for communications and information technology. Etisalat is yet to reveal the coverage of the network, or specific plans or packages for 3G services.
As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the ATRA launched a tender for 3G concessions in July last year, reportedly receiving three applications. ATRA has not yet revealed the results of the tender, though the four existing operators – Etisalat, MTN Afghanistan, Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) and Telecom Development Company Afghanistan (Roshan) – were given the opportunity to upgrade their licences to offer 3G services, whilst ATRA received applications from a further three companies competing to enter the market; Sahar 3G, Toseye Eatemad Mobin and Shezai Tel USA.