4G on the horizon for Afghanistan

21 May 2014

Afghanistan is set to see the introduction of 4G technology in the near future, ICT minister Amirzai Sangin said, speaking at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology’s (MCIT’s) celebration of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-driven World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) in Kabul. In his speech, the minster praised the success of the MCIT, noting that the country’s telecom sector was forced to start more-or-less from scratch a little over a decade ago and that in ten years Afghanistan had made progress that had taken other nations 50 years. Despite their disadvantage, Sangin said that Afghanistan has caught up and now stands amongst the developed nations of the world, with near-nationwide cellular coverage (88.6% at end-2013 according to sector watchdog Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority [ATRA]), 3G services and 4G expected soon. The sector now provides employment to more than 140,000 people and generates in excess of USD200 million per year for government coffers – to date, the segment has contributed USD1.3 billion to the treasury. On a darker note, Sangin also acknowledged that the development of traditional fixed telephony and internet services continued to be hampered by the security issues still plaguing the nation.