Bluefish supplies SIMs to Afghan operator

Mobile technology firm Bluefish has supplied 40,000 SIM cards to support the operator of Afghanistan's first cellular phone network.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  May 1, 2003

Mobile technology firm Bluefish has supplied 40,000 SIM cards to support the operator of Afghanistan's first cellular phone network.

Under the deal, Bluefish has provided SIM cards enabling voice calls to the Afghan Wireless Communication Company, a joint venture between Afghanistan's ministry of communications and Telephone Systems International, a US-based firm founded by Afghan-American businessman Ehsan Bayat.

The agreement comes as Afghan Wireless is expanding its GSM network to cover the cities of Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif. The project, set up last year, initially provided coverage in Kabul.

According to Bluefish group head of marketing Scott Allen, the deal was worth around US$90,000. It is unclear how many subscribers Afghan Wireless thinks it can sign up, but Allen says the company is buying in phones and SIM cards as the need arises.

"Afghan Wireless haven't told us the potential subscriber base. To some extent, they don't know themselves, which is why we're getting repeat orders every three months or so. We have to wait and see how the rehabilitation of Afghanistan goes," Allen says.

In February, Afghan Wireless bought US$4.5m worth of switching equipment from Siemens, which can support up to 100,000 simultaneous users.

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