[prnewswire] The telecommunications operators of Afghanistan, Afghan Telecom, Afghan Wireless Communications Company, Etisalat, MTN and Roshan, today announced the launch of the Afghanistan Telecommunication Operators' Social Association (ATOSA), a forum through which operators can collectively work together to provide the people of Afghanistan with high-quality and reliable telecommunications services. The Association will collaborate closely with the Government of Afghanistan to ensure the continued growth and success of the telecommunications sector in the country.
"The launch of ATOSA is an important development for the telecommunications sector. The mobile market in Afghanistan is one of the fastest growing in the world. Such growth is predicated on a public-private partnership and framework between the Government of Afghanistan and its private sector partners that should set an example for encouraging investment, private sector participation and ultimately delivery for our citizens in other sectors of the economy," said His Excellency Amirzai Sangin, Minister of Communications and Information Technology.
The telecommunications industry is one of Afghanistan's major success stories, providing vital services to the Afghan people. Today, over 10 million Afghans have access to telecommunication services compared to 20,000 in 2001; service reaches more than 80% of the population, approximately 23 million people. The telecommunications industry has spurred growth in a number of industries, including the financial, trade, agriculture, health, security and technology sectors.
ATOSA will also provide a forum through which operators can constructively raise and address issues of common concern, including security and predictability in the policy environment. In addition, the Association will work to improve relations with other industries and sectors in Afghanistan to encourage a cooperative reconstruction effort.
"The telecommunication operators of Afghanistan are committed to building on growth in the sector in a manner which is transparent and conducive to creating an enabling environment for the private sector throughout Afghanistan. We will work with the Government of Afghanistan, Parliament and the Afghanistan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA), to continue to play a significant role in developing the country. The telecommunications sector has and will continue to be a catalyst, enabling people to access information, pricing, conduct business, but most of all talk to each other. ATOSA looks forward to supporting growth in the years ahead as we focus on extending coverage into rural areas," said Najibullah Kamali, President, ATOSA.
Since 2001, the industry has played a significant role in developing the country, creating over 100,000 indirect jobs and investing over USD $1.2 billion in building a national telephone network for the first time in Afghanistan's history. The industry is the largest tax paying sector in Afghanistan with an estimated USD $500 million paid in taxes, duties and fees to the Government of Afghanistan since 2003, representing over 10% of all domestically generated Government revenues in the same period.
Telecommunication Operators Launch Afghanistan Telecommunication Operators' Association