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TELECOMMUNICATION
 
Afghan Wireless inaugurated GSM services in Kabul in April 2002. Since then, the company has invested a total of USD 75 million and employs 800. In late 2003, Afghan Wireless completed a USD 14 million upgrade of its switching platform to accommodate accelerating demand, utilizing a 100,000-line Siemens switching platform that replaced smaller switches from the U.S. vendor, Tecor. Afghan Wireless is 80 percent owned by Telecommunications Systems International (TSI) of the United States and 20 percent by the Afghan Ministry of Communications.

Roshan began operations in July 2003 with an initial capital base of USD 55 million and plans a total investment of USD 120 million. They provide coverage in Kabul, Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad and Kunduz. Roshan secured about 60 000 subscribers in the first six months of operations and subsequently split a market of 662 500 subscribers with Afghan Wireless. Roshan is a consortium, with a 51 percent stake by the Aga Khan Foundation for Economic Development. Other shareholders include Monaco Telecom International (35 percent); MCT, a U.S. telecom holding company with networks in Central Asia (9 percent); and, Alcatel (5 percent).

Areeba Afghanistan, the third private cell-phone company in Afghanistan launched its services in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kandahar and Jalalabad in July 2006 with an investment of USD 140 million. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank has a USD 45 million stake. The company is wholly owned and managed by Investcom, an international provider of telecommunications services listed on the London and Dubai stock exchanges. Areeba Afghanistan plans to build a nationwide cellular network that will provide mobile services throughout Afghanistan. The mobile license awarded to Areeba Afghanistan requires the company to provide 50 percent coverage of Kabul within six months of commencing operation and 80 percent coverage of certain other major cities within the first year of operation.

The Afghan Ministry of Communications and IT announced in 2007 that the fourth company in the name of Etisalat has also started operations in Afghanistan.
 
     
   
 
 
EMBASSY OF AFGHANISTAN IN OTTAWA
240 Argyle Ave. Ottawa, Ontario, K2P-1B9 | Phone: (613) 563-4223 / 65 | Fax: (613) 563-4962 | contact@afghanembassy.ca
 
   
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