Afghan operator reaches out to rural community with network expansion

 The Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) has chosen Nokia Siemens Networks to expand and modernise its 2.5G (GSM/GPRS) network, as well as provide subscriber data management and charging & billing platforms.

With a current mobile penetration rate of around 57% and roughly 17 million subscribers, Afghanistan has come a long way in the past decade; in a statement earlier this year, the country’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology confirmed that there were no phones in the country as recently as 2002.

However, there are still many underserved parts of the country, and AWCC is looking to expand, with a particular focus on reaching a larger segment of the country’s rural population.

“We are committed to improving the mobile network for our people across Afghanistan. While this demanded overhauling our network to build additional capacity and introduce new technologies, we also had to protect our existing investments,” said Daniel M. Florentine, Member Board of Directors AWCC.

“The mobile phone– and the opportunities it brings – are becoming a fundamental right for all citizens. As in the rest of the world, people across Afghanistan want widespread access to mobile networks,” added Veqar ul Islam, head of sub region “east”, Nokia Siemens Networks Middle East and Africa. “We can help Afghan Wireless deliver consistent services across the country and provide the required edge to outperform competition while reducing its capital and operational costs.”

As part of the contract, Nokia Siemens Networks will upgrade the operator’s radio network with its energy-efficient Flexi Base Station and Flexi Base Station Controller to deliver increased capacity, connectivity and uninterrupted services. The small size and low energy consumption of these units make them highly suitable for operation in remote, rural areas. AWCC will also benefit from lower operational costs with the deployment of integrated packet-based transport capability that supports increased voice and data traffic on the installed base of network connections. In addition, the operator’s energy costs will be reduced as a result of swapping outdated mobile switches with state-of-the-art mobile softswitches.

Nokia Siemens Networks will also roll out its subscriber data management solution, including its One-NDS centralized subscriber repository so that AWCC can easily generate insights on end-user behavior to develop services catering to the specific needs of different users. The telecom suppliers’ charge@once billing platform will improve AWCC’s time-to-market for new and targeted marketing campaigns and combine services across pre-paid and post-paid subscribers. In addition, Nokia Siemens Networks will deliver a complete range of professional services, including network implementation, care and system integration.

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