Roshan celebrates 1 millionth subscriber

The leading mobile operator in Afghanistan now claims a 70% market share

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By  Published  November 30, 2006

Afghanistan\'s leading telecommunications operator Roshan reached its end of year target of 1 million subscribers on its cellular network at the beginning of November, gaining around 200,000 subscribers since 1Q06 and bringing its market share to 70%. The announcement in November came amidst increased competition within the Afghani mobile market after the licensing of Etisalat as the country\'s fourth operator — joining Roshan, Areeba and AWCC — earlier this year. “We are very excited and proud about reaching the million subscribers milestone, as this is evidence of the preference the Afghan people have for Roshan” said Roshan CEO, Karim Khoja Despite turbulent conditions in the region Roshan displaced original incumbent AWCC as Afghanistan\'s leading telephone service provider in its first year of operation, after successfully bidding against Investcom for the country\'s second licence in 2003. Investcom\'s US$40.1 million bid for Afghanistan\'s third licence, in conjunction with UAE company Alokozay Group, was a success and the two companies launched their Areeba brand during the first half of 2006; Investcom owning 60% of the consortium with Alokozay owning the remaining 40%. Khoja believes Roshan\'s expansion reflects its investment in the region. The enterprise is Afghanistan\'s largest tax contributor and its decision to implement a franchise based distribution model has, according to Khoja, acted as a catalyst for the reconstruction activities of the country. “We are the largest formal employer. When I say we have 170 stores, we\'ve probably got about 1,000 people or more now selling our goods.” Roshan has also announced that it has invested over US$45 million in Siemens equipment and infrastructure to operate its network, with almost 50% of its network infrastructure now utilising Siemens technology. Dietmar Appeltauer, president of Siemens Communication Networks said his company is “committed” to aid the reconstruction of Afghanistan and that Siemens\' relationship with Roshan has allowed it to participate in one of the fastest growing sectors of the country. Afghanistan is virtually a prepaid market.

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