Aftel plots 4G launch by year-end

26 Sep 2019

State-backed provider Afghan Telecom (Aftel) – which offers mobile services under the Salaam brand – has announced plans to launch commercial 4G services by the end of the year, the National quotes Aftel COO Mohammad Bashar Niazi as saying. The activation would potentially make Aftel the second mobile provider to launch an LTE system in the country, following Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC), which switched on the nation’s first cellular 4G network in May 2017. The official noted that it expects to gain around five percentage points of market share from the 4G launch, boosting its share from roughly 11% to around 16% by 2020. Commenting on the potential for growth, the COO highlighted Afghanistan’s low level of broadband takeup: ‘currently internet penetration is around 19.6% and with the availability of cheap smartphones, this figure will go up significantly.’ As another potential driver of subscriptions, the provider noted the demand for mobile banking and other financial services.