By Roger Field
Roshan becomes the first mobile operator in Afghanistan to strengthen its network by using capacity on national fibre backbone
Afghanistan’s state-backed operator Afghan Telecom has signed an agreement to sell capacity on its fibre optic cable to Roshan, the country’s leading mobile operator.
Roshan, which has some 3.5 million subscribers across Afghanistan's 34 provinces, will use the fibre capacity to complement its existing GSM infrastructure, allowing it to provide additional capacity for its growing subscriber base.
Afghan Telecom and Roshan intend to expand on the deal in the coming months as the fibre backbone is extended throughout Afghanistan and connected to the rest of the world via links to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran and Pakistan.
Karim Khoja, CEO, Roshan, said his company has long been committed to supporting the deployment of fibre in the country. "We declared our interest in, and support for, the OFC [optical fibre cable] project over four years ago and we are proud to be able to express our long term commitment to Afghanistan by being Afghan Telecom's first major anchor tenant.
“We believe that this project can have a significant impact on the information and telecommunications sector in Afghanistan, ensuring the availability of competitively priced capacity and infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the industry. We look forward to strengthening our relationship and cooperation with AT in the years to come.”
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and Afghan Telecom started construction of the fibre backbone in April 2007. When completed, the project will bring high speed and high capacity telephony, internet and video services to 68 cities in 17 provinces of the country.