Afghanistan’s state-run operator Afghan Telecom (Aftel) is aiming to launch commercial 4G services before the end of the year.
The operator’s COO Mohammad Bashar Niazi confirmed the goal in an interview with local news outlet The National. Aftel anticipates that adding a 4G offering would boost its market share by as much as 5%, taking it up to 16% by next year.
If it meets its target then Aftel, which provides services using the Salaam brand, would be Afghanistan’s second mobile operator to launch an LTE offering in the country after the Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC), which activated a 4G network in May 2017.
Niazi noted that Afghanistan’s low broadband penetration demonstrates the market’s potential for growth, saying “currently internet penetration is around 19.6% and with the availability of cheap smartphones, this figure will go up significantly.”
He added that surging demand for mobile financial services, including banking, would also stimulate data growth.