In 2011, the Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) launched an initiative to aid members of the Afghan population who did not have access to banking services. It launched a fully owned subsidiary called the Afghan Besim Mobile Money Company (ABMMC), which then received a license to do business from AISA and a license to provide mobile money services from Da Afghanistan Bank. Today, ABMMC supports a wide range of mobile-money users, offering services under the My Money brand name.
Because AWCC is the only mobile operator that offers GSM coverage to every province in Afghanistan, the synergy between AWCC and ABMMC has allowed My Money to expand further than its competitors. The My Money services, which range from sending and receiving funds to paying salaries and merchants, were designed to fit the needs of rural and urban Afghans alike. ABMMC specifically hopes to reduce the reliance of underserved markets on unregulated systems of money transfer and grow its subscriber base until it mirrors that of AWCC as a whole.
Ehsan Bayat, the founder of Ariana Television and Radio and a pioneer in the Afghan telecommunications industry, was honored with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) human rights award in late 2014. Mr. Bayat has made considerable contributions to improving the lives of people who live in Afghanistan’s rural areas, with a focus on assisting to women, young people, and people who are poor or elderly. Dr. Sima Samar, the chairperson of the AIHRC, presented the award in recognition of the 66th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Ehsan and Fatema Bayat founded the nonprofit Bayat Foundation in 2005 to promote the wellbeing of the Afghan people. The foundation has since worked on more than 200 projects, including building infrastructure and promoting health and education programs. Ehsan Bayat said that he was honored to have received the award and emphasized the “critical need” to ensure equal opportunities for people all over the world. He plans to continue supporting human rights education and protecting the rights of all Afghan people.
Afghan Wireless recently introduced improved mobile connectivity for its subscribers in Kabul, implementing 3.75G+ mobile broadband service throughout the city. Additionally, the firm paired its 3.75G+ deployment with a network-wide upgrade to Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6).
To send and receive information over the Internet, all computers and mobile devices must have an Internet Protocol, or IP address. Under Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4), every IP address comprised 32 bits, which allowed for 4.3 billion unique IP addresses and enabled 4.3 billion individual devices to connect to the Internet. Initially released in June 2012 as an update to IPv4, IPv6 is the newest generation of IP developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). IPv6 also represents a significant expansion to the Internet’s address directory.
According to Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist, the number of mobile devices in the world had already surpassed the number of available IPv4 addresses at the time of the upgrade to IPv6.
Additionally, research from Ericsson indicates that the growth in mobile devices is outpacing that of the general population. In 2012, the communications technology company predicted that the number of mobile device subscriptions would exceed the world’s population within five years.
The IETF developed IPv6 in response to the rapidly increasing number of Internet users and devices. IPv6 presents a new method of assigning addresses, using 128 bits rather than 32 bits, and allowing for approximately 340 trillion, trillion, trillion IP addresses.
As the largest telecommunications service provider in Afghanistan, Afghan Wireless Communication Company continuously strives to provide modern, reliable mobile coverage to customers throughout all 34 Afghan provinces. Its technical advancements and improved service offerings have included the launch of BlackBerry Enterprise Service, a comprehensive suite of mobile solutions that combines smartphones with a variety of supportive software and services.
Afghan Wireless implemented the feature in collaboration with Research in Motion, an international developer of state-of-the-art wireless solutions. The cross-platform service facilitates increased mobility and connectivity for professionals, linking wireless mobile devices with wireless networks and business applications to easily store and retrieve a vast array of information. BlackBerry Enterprise Service allows users to easily access their email, calendars, and multimedia, along with numerous other applications for both personal and professional use. Additionally, it integrates with several enterprise email software suites, including IBM, Microsoft Exchange, and Novell GroupWise, and utilizes advanced encryption and a host of other security features to ensure the protection of both personal and professional data.
The leading telecommunications company in Afghanistan, Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) has provided both phone and Internet services throughout the country since 2002. The first service provider in Afghanistan to offer 3.75G+ mobile broadband connectivity, Afghan Wireless regularly implements technical improvements to augment the quality and scope of its services. The company also offers a wide range of innovative mobile services and features.
One such feature, AWCC SuperWiFi, offers added convenience and flexibility to subscribers in Khost, Afghanistan, by offering an additional option for mobile users to access the Internet on the go. The service uses strategically placed Wi-Fi access points in public places such as restaurants and car dealerships to allow users to access the Internet safely and securely throughout the city. SuperWiFi increases the range of mobile Internet connectivity for AWCC subscribers without requiring the use of the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) data infrastructure.
Afghan Wireless offers SuperWiFi data packages to suit a variety of subscriber needs. Its most basic social media package allows users to access Facebook and Twitter for 24 hours with a 250 MB data cap. Other SuperWiFi social networking bundles provide access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Skype in increments of 15 or 30 days and with a choice of 5 GB, 20 GB, or unlimited data. For those using SuperWiFi for business purposes, Afghan Wireless also offers an “all day work partner” package that allows users to access various email and business applications.
In December 2014, Afghan Wireless became the first telecommunications company in Afghanistan to offer true mobile broadband services. Afghan Wireless Managing Director Amin Ramin expressed confidence that subscribers would quickly notice the improvements, noting that he and his associates are “proud to become the first true mobile broadband provider in the country by the globally-accepted definition of the word ‘broadband.’”
Offering high-speed access and nearly constant connectivity, broadband is the most commonly used method of establishing Internet access. It is available in a number of different types of connections, which may vary based on subscribers’ location and choice of service package.
A Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), which uses preexisting, unused telephone lines, offers speeds of between several hundred kilobytes per second (KBps) and millions of bits per second (Mbps). The speed of a DSL broadband connection typically varies based on a home or business’ distance from the telephone company facility or switching station.
Offered by cable TV providers, cable broadband requires a cable modem and coaxial cables. Since users within defined geographic areas share the same bandwidth, cable broadband subscribers may experience speed fluctuations based on network traffic loads.
Broadband providers may also use satellites to deliver Internet services, providing access to remote areas, but at far slower speeds. In contrast, fiber optic broadband connections represent one of the fastest methods of Internet connectivity, transmitting electrical signals in the form of light through extremely fine glass fibers.
For more than a decade, Afghan Wireless Communication Company has facilitated the delivery of wireless and broadband mobile services throughout Afghanistan. Serving approximately 4 million subscribers, the firm has led the development of the nation’s telecommunications sector, introducing a wide variety of modern mobile services and innovative program offerings.
In 2002, Afghan Wireless began providing service as a joint venture between U.S.-based Telephone Systems International (TSI) and the Afghanistan Ministry of Communications. Launched by AWCC Chairman Ehsan Bayat, TSI played a critical role in the initial development of the company and its mobile network, implementing state-of-the-art telecommunications technologies from several U.S. firms. At the time of its launch, AWCC offered national and international mobile calling, voicemail, text messaging, and data capabilities.
Afghan Interim Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai commemorated the occasion at Afghan Wireless’ official launch ceremony, making the company’s first official telephone call, to a former Afghan resident living in Germany. Engineer and Afghan Minister of Communications Abdul Rahim lauded the launch as a historic event for Afghanistan, praising its ability to open the lines of communication not only among Afghan families, but also between the country and the rest of the world.
Minister Rahim also praised the firm’s launch as a crucial step in the redevelopment of Afghanistan’s economy and infrastructure.. The development project initially recruited more than 100 Afghans, in addition to a team of 30 expatriate telecommunications specialists and engineers. At the time, Afghan Wireless had also initiated a partnership with the Ministry of Communications to establish an educational facility that would prepare locals to eventually oversee the administrative and technical operations of the new firm.