Modern high capacity wireless service to link
Afghan communities to the world.
Afghan Cellular Phone Network Set to Help Rebuild Economy
New Afghan Cellular Phone Network Set to Help Rebuild Economy
Kabul, Afghanistan - Hamid Karzai, chairman of Afghanistan's Interim Administration, attended the launch today of his country's first mobile GSM network. The new mobile public network has been built by the Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC), a joint venture between Afghanistan's Ministry of Communications and Telephone Systems International (TSI), of the U.S. During the ceremony, Chairman Karzai made the very first telephone call to an Afghan expatriate living in Germany.
The project to deploy a mobile network in Afghanistan is the brainchild of Ehsan Bayat, an Afghan emigre who now lives in the US. Mr. Bayat founded TSI. The company has brought together leading edge technologies from US businesses, including WorldCom, TECORE Wireless Systems and AirNet Communications Corporation, to deploy a robust, high capacity mobile network in Afghanistan.
The AWCC GSM network will provide Afghanistan with national and international mobile calling, voice mail, SMS text messaging and data services, as well as Internet access. The first phase of the project will provide services in Kabul, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad and Kandahar. Equipment for Herat and Mazar-i-Sherif has arrived in Afghanistan and installation is commencing this week. Equipment for Jalalabad and Kandahar has been integrated in the US and is awaiting shipment.
WorldCom will handle the international traffic and call termination for the mobile services and, initially, users will pay for the service through the purchase of pre-paid re-charge cards that AWCC is making available in the country. WorldCom will provide a similar service from fixed-line telephones. Customers without their own phones will be able to make calls from Public Call Offices (PCOs).
Commenting on the launch of the service, Engineer Abdul Rahim, Afghanistan's Minister of Communications, said: "This is an important day for the people of Afghanistan. For too long, we have been isolated from the outside world and from friends and family who left the country. But this service will do more than reunite families. It is the first step on the road to rebuilding Afghanistan's infrastructure and delivering a better quality of life for our people through education and job creation".
A team of 30 expatriate engineers and telecom specialists from all of the companies involved has been deployed in Afghanistan. AWCC already employs more than 100 Afghans and is actively recruiting more to work on the next stage of the project, which will see the network rolled out to the country's provincial capitals.
The development of these new services will create significant opportunities for local business people - including the management of retail distribution outlets. AWCC's long-term aim is for the company to be run by Afghans. Together with the Ministry of Communications, AWCC is working to set up a facility to provide local people with the necessary technical and management skills to run the venture and stimulate economic growth."Many Afghans and the team of telecoms specialists that TSI has assembled have worked tirelessly to build this network and provide the people of Afghanistan with a better link to the outside world in the shortest possible time. But there remains much to do. Our task now is to begin to extend the network further to better serve all of the people in Afghanistan, including those in the provinces", said Ehsan Bayat, Chairman of AWCC.
© 2003 Afghan Wireless Communication Company