Mobile data revenue: Afghanistan telecom provider Roshan bags 3G license

Telecom Lead Asia: Afghanistan’s telecom communications provider Roshan has won 3G license.


Karim Khoja, chief executive officer of Roshan

The leading mobile operator in Afghanistan is looking at enhancing its mobile data revenue significantly after launching 3G services.


According to a report in Times of India, India’s 3G/WCDMA connections topped 33 million in the first quarter of 2012, less than 4 percent of the total telecom subscriber base of around 920 million.

According to venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Internet Trends Report 2012, while India ranked eighth globally in terms of absolute number of 3G subscribers, its 3G penetration rate of 4 percent was worst on a list of to 30 countries in terms of users.

Other emerging economies like Brazil and China had a better 3G subscriber base as well as penetration than India. Similar fast-growing economies like Indonesia (11 percent), South Africa (21 percent) and Philippines (11 percent) had better penetration rates too. The data was compiled at the end of the fourth quarter of 2011.

Roshan is aiming for a commercial roll out of its 3G service later in the year.


The company is the first to bring Blackberry and M-Paisa mobile money services to Afghanistan.


“Not only does the license further bolster Roshan’s robust and high-performing data services, but it also complements our existing state-of-the-art network that currently offers the widest, most reliable and highest quality coverage across all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces,” said Karim Khoja, chief executive officer of Roshan.


Roshan has over 6 million active subscribers and a network that covers over 230 cities and towns in all of the country’s 34 provinces.


Roshan has invested over $550 million in Afghanistan.


“3G technology is vital for the economic growth and development of Afghanistan in a host of different sectors – from education to health to commerce. In awarding this license to Roshan, we are embracing the mobile broadband revolution, expanding the country’s data services and enhancing capacity, aimed at improving the lives of Afghans as they connect with each other and the rest of the world,” said Minister Sangin.


Meanwhile, Afghanistan mobile operator Roshan and Western Union, a global payment services provider, have launched the Western Union Mobile Money Transfer service in Afghanistan. The mobile payment service enables Roshan’s M-Paisa users to receive money from abroad.


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