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Mobile phone services being expanded

Mobile phone services being expanded

Jul 22, 2013 - 20:49

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology plans to extend telecom services to 480,000 people in remote areas, despite security concerns, an official said on Sunday.

A contract on expanding the services was signed between the ministry and three mobile phone service- providers -- Afghan Telecom, Roshan and Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) -- in Kabul.

Khair Mohammad Faizi, the Afghanistaninfo-icon Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) deputy head, told a news conference it was their job to facilitate telecommunication service providers to extend services across the country.

He said 240 towers would be installed as part of the project, with eight of the boosters being installed by the Afghan Telecom, 195 by Roshan and 37 by AWCC in remote areas of 173 districts in the 34 provinces.

Faizi added mobile phone services providers regarded remote areas as unimportant due to logistic problems and high investment costs and less income.

In line with ATRA’s rules and international procedures, he said a fund had been established for the improvement of telecommunication services in villages and every mobile phone firm was bound to contribute 2.5 percent of its income to the fund.

He said six telecommunication projects had so far been implemented with the help of the fund in all districts.

“The deteriorating security situation has been a major concern and hurdle to the extension of telecommunication services,” Faizi said, adding most towers in southern provinces were yet to be activated due to security threats.

He said the Talibaninfo-icon insurgents had banned mobile phone services in some restive parts from 6pm up to 6am.


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