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News and Views

Wireless Milestone Reached in Afghanistan

This week, the two largest Afghan cellular communications companies, Afghan Wireless and Roshan, announced they had each reached two million subscribers. Afghanistan currently has over 5.4 million cell phone users out of a population of 32 million, and more than $1 billion has been invested in cell phone infrastructure.

Cell phone communication is becoming increasingly popular throughout the developing world because of increases in the cost of the copper wires necessary for landlines and the relative ease of constructing cell towers.

Cell phones have stepped in to fill other voids in the developing world and in Afghanistan. Already, some companies offer subscribers a cellular money-transfer service that negates the need for credit card and ATM infrastructure in the country.

Services like money-wiring and reliable communication networks are having a huge impact on the ease and fluidity of doing business in Afghanistan. Minister of Communication and Information Technology Amir Zai Sangin has predicted that the telecommunication and information technology sector will be "the engine of growth for Afghanistan."

Cell phone coverage is available in all of Afghanistan’s provinces and air-time costs only a few cents a minute.

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