Since 2001 Afghanistan has made significant economical progress within its mobile phone sector. Its mobile phone sector has experienced exponential growth, as shown by the 12 million mobile phone users across Afghanistan. Approximately 60% of the population has a mobile phone connection and Afghanistan even has access to high-speed 3G connections. This new telecommunications network possesses great potential for rejuvenating Afghanistan’s economy and providing a wealth of technological luxuries for the Afghan public.
The existence of four private mobile companies and one state-owned company has resulted in private investments in Afghan telecommunications exceeding US$1.6 billion. This injection of wealth has helped Afghanistan boost its economy whilst simultaneously helping the country to develop a credible reputation within worldwide technological markets.
The Government’s involvement in expanding the mobile phone sector has had a substantially beneficial impact on Afghanistan’s economy. The Government has executed a series of initiatives to expand network service delivery and support good governance. As a result private firms have been quick to adopt these advanced mobile phone technologies. In 2011, these initiatives resulted in the GSMA presenting the Afghan Minister of Communications and IT with the mobile industry’s prestigious annual Government Leadership award; recognizing the monumental achievements made by the government in promoting and expanding mobile communications. Thegovernment’s committed investmentwithin the mobile sector creates a myriad of lucrative opportunities for the Afghan economy. These include the creation of new jobs, increased foreign investment in Afghan companies and also an increased amount of government revenue.
Furthermore, the meteoric rise of Afghanistan’s mobile phone sector is beginning to facilitate a thriving mobile app market which in itself is beneficial for the Afghan economy. Mobile phone users can gain access to local, national and international news as well as discovering vast social network communities. There are even apps to help improve literacy and numeracy skills, as well as learning other languages. In turn, other Afghanbusinesses and industries can capitalize upon the vast advertising potential of these mobile phone apps, thereby facilitating a network within which both individuals and businesses can thrive.
Several leaders of industry have enthused about the growth of Afghanistan’s mobile phone market and its ability to improve the everyday amenities to which Afghans have access. JesKaliebe Petersen Director of Development for Paywast stated;
“We are excited to launch Paywast News, because it has the potential to have a direct impact on how modern Afghans get their information, and provides a steady stream of relevant updates and current affairs… There are currently more than 800,000 Android and iPhone devices in Afghanistan, and 3G consumption is growing quickly”.
Ultimately, Afghan’s mobile phone sector has a vast potential to boost other sectors of the economy. Western companies such as PremierPatient Line currently provide telecommunications services to medical practices and the Afghan government have expressed similar plans to use their flourishing mobile phone sector to improve other industries within society. Despite years of war and adversity, the Afghan economy is showing signs of revival. The exponential growth of its mobile phone sector demonstrates great economic potential for the future. Hopefully, much like the mobile phone sector has thrived in recent years, so too will the rest of the Afghan economy.