Communications in Afghanistan

Communications in Afghanistan has dramatically increased since 2002, and has embarked on wireless companies, internet, radio stations and television channels. Afghan telecommunication companies, such as Afghan Wireless and Roshan, have been boasting rapid increase in cellular phone usage in the mid 2000s. In response to this Etisalat and MTN Group were launched in 2007.

The Afghan Ministry of Communications signed a $64.5 agreement in 2006 with China's ZTE on the establishment of a countrywide optical fiber cable network. The plan was intended to improve telephone, internet, television and radio broadcast services throughout the country.[1]

Contents

Telephone

There are 17.2 million mobile phone lines (cellular phone lines) in Afghanistan as of 2011[2][3], but only 73,000 fixed-telephone-lines including CDMA fixed-telephone-lines. Mobile communications have improved because of the introduction of wireless carriers into this developing country. The first was Afghan Wireless, which is US based that was founded by Ehsan Bayat. The second was Roshan, which began providing services to all major cities within Afghanistan. There are also five or more VSAT's installed in Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazari Sharif, and Jalalabad, providing international and domestic voice/data connectivity. The international calling code for Afghanistan is +93. The following is a partial list of mobile phone companies in the country:

Internet

Internet user at Kandahar University

Afghanistan was given legal control of the ".af" domain in 2003, and the Afghanistan Network Information Center (AFGNIC) was established to administer domain names. As of 2010, there are at least 46 internet service providers (ISPs) in the country.[6] Internet in Afghanistan is also at the peak with 1 million users in 2009.[7]

Television

There are over 50 Afghan television channels worldwide - many of which broadcast in Afghanistan and others mainly in the USA.

Radio

As of 2007, there are an estimated 50 private radio stations throughout the country. Broadcasts are in Dari, Pashto, English, Uzbek and many other languages.

The number of radio listeners are decreasing and are being slowly outnumbered by television. Of Afghanistan's 6 main cities, Kandahar and Khost have a lot of radio listeners. Kabul and Jalalabad have moderate number of listeners. However, Mazar-E-Sharif and especially Herat have very few radio listeners.[8]

Postal service

In 1870, a central post office was established at Bala Hissar in Kabul and a post office in the capital of each province. The service was slowly being expanded over the years as more postal offices were established in each large city by 1918. Afghanistan became member of the Universal Postal Union in 1928,[9] and the postal administration elevated to the Ministry of Communication in 1934.[10] Civil war caused a disruption in issuing official stamps during the 1980s-90s war[11] but in 1999 postal service was operating again. Postal services to/from Kabul worked remarkably well all throughout the war years. Postal services to/from Herat resumed in 1997. [12] The Afghan government has reported to the UPU several times about illegal stamps being issued and sold in 2003 and 2007.[13][14]

Afghanistan Post has been reorganizing the postal service in 2000s with the help of Pakistan Post.[11] The Afghanistan Postal commission was formed to prepare a written policy for the development of the postal sector, which will form the basis of a new postal services law governing licensing of postal services providers. The project was expected to finish by 2008.[15]

References

External links



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