Afghanistan’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) has announced that its wholly-owned operational arm, Afghan Telecom, has signed a USD32 million agreement with Chinese vendor ZTE for the supply of GSM and 3G network equipment. ZTE will provide 700 base stations, which the telco will use to reach areas that are not currently covered, or are unable to receive 24-hour service due to security problems. The MCIT added that it would invest a total of USD100 million in the deployment over the next two years. It has not yet been revealed whether Afghan Telecom will sell services itself or lease access to the network to the nation’s existing cellcos. As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Afghan Telecom is the nation’s fixed line incumbent and currently offers mobile voice services via CDMA-based wireless in the local loop (WiLL). According to the Afghan Telecoms Regulatory Authority (ATRA), at mid-2012 the WiLL subscriber base had fallen to 150,873 from more than 200,000 three months earlier, as customers migrated to full-mobility services.