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Telecommunications rates to be reduced, official

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Telecommunications rates to be reduced, official

 The telecommunications has witnessed much improvements within last 14 years and more than 3 billion USD have been invested in the said sector so far.

Talking with The Kabul Times correspondent during an interview, Mohammad Yasin Samim, head of public relations department and spokesperson for Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said that five telecom companies are operating in Afghanistan, where one of which is a state-run company, begun activity with the investment from the government of Afghanistan and providing services almost to all over the country.
“There are two departments of ATRA and TDF within the framework of the Ministry of MoCIT. The TDF related expenditures are being paid by the government and the telecom services of the remote areas are being covered by the private companies”, Samim said, adding that currently over six thousands of telecom antennas installed across the country and covering residential areas. 
Hinting on the ministry’s upcoming plans, the MoCIT official went on to say that efforts are underway to further improve the quality of telecommunication services and to install the antennas, considering the majority of people and prioritizing their need according to the plans, as prior to this, there were no proper mechanism, but currently the ministry is making effort to go forward according to plan and principles.
“Despites to telecommunication services, nearly 67 ISP companies have also received license from the MoCIT, through which over 4 million of the country’s citizens have access to the internet. Based on the strategic plans, it is hoped to further increase the speed of the internet as well as to reduce the telecommunication rates, the ministry official added, saying that discussions are taking place with regional countries, including Iran, central Asian countries and Pakistan so that to pave the way for purchasing the essential equipment and improve the services. “A contract was signed with Iran and two contracts with Kazakhstan’s Post Telecom and Uzbek Telecom as well as Man Telecom to ease telecommunication and Internet services”, he added.
Pointing to Fiber Optic as one of the basic infrastructures of Afghanistan, Mohamamd Yasin Samim said that five of the country’s provinces, including Bamyan, Daikundi and Takhar would be connected to internet through fiber optic with financial support from World Bank and 22 other provinces are already connected to the said technology.
“The new plan which was discussed in the cabinet session of the country is to connect the remained 9 other provinces to fiber optic and the quality of this technology has been increased since joining the regional countries”, Samim said, adding that the fiber optic line would pass from Afghanistan to south Asian countries and the country would earn sufficient income.
Asked to provide details on distribution of SIM cards in the bazaar, the MoCIT official said that over 26 million of SIM cards have been dispatched to bazaar, where all of them are not active properly and nearly 18 million of which are active across the country.  “Installation of the telecommunication antennas are rapidly going on. Coordination on implementation of the infrastructural projects are taken place among the MoCIT, Municipalities, Ministry of Public Works as well as the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Developments, so that to pave the way for Fiber Optic project to be implemented together with other uplift projects in the country’s major cities or rural areas”, the official said, adding that a particular system was installed in the MoCIT to monitor the 10 percent telecommunication taxes which is a legal system and was already approved by the parliament. “The 10 percent taxes would be applied on both registered and non-registered SIM cards. Over 10 billion Afghanis collected so far”, he said.
Pointing to installation of telecom antennas in the residential areas, Samim said that based on a new mechanism drafted by the MoCIT, the antennas should be installed far from the residential houses, as according to him it would have its impacts on human being. Karima Malikzada