Afghanistan Telecom Community Announces Plans to Address the Citizen Needs During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Press Release

For immediate release

April 5, 2020

 

Afghanistan Telecom Community Announces Plans to Address the Citizen Needs During the Coronavirus Outbreak

 ATRA (Kabul/April 5, 2020): Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) and the Telecom Services Providers announced plans and packages to address the rising demand for bandwidth at the user end, during the Coronavirus Outbreak. Due to the government announced lockdown following the COVID-19 spread across the country, employees are required to work from home and students to attend classes online, which in turn has increased the consumer demand for bandwidth. The plans that were announced include lowering rates, introducing new packages, and utilizing telecommunication networks and technology to provide free or low-cost access to educational content online.

 “We, as a community, would like to express our concerns, and are committed to providing solutions to our citizens that could address their immediate needs during the lockdown.” Said Omar Mansoor Ansari, Acting Chair of ATRA. “ATRA has been helping, through its private sector partners, to raise awareness about the COVID-19 through SMS, Caller Ring Back Tones (CRBT), digital content, and technologies that reached millions of Afghans and continue to do so.” Mr. Ansari added.

 In addition to ATRA, the attendees of the conference included the Ministry of Communications and IT (MCIT), and mobile network operators (MNOs), the Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC), Etisalat, MTN Afghanistan, Roshan, and Salaam.

 “The government of Afghanistan is committed to helping lower the prices of the Internet and enhance its quality, however, it requires a pragmatic approach and working with all stakeholders.” Said Fahim Hashimi, Acting Minister of Communications and IT (MCIT).

 Through their statements, the telecom companies announced some exciting offers. Etisalat, for instance, announced a Stay Home, Stay Connected package which doubles data for any top-up of 4, 7, and 10 BG, Salaam’s offer included 20% and launching special student packages. The AWCC offered attractive discounts of average 30% on various packages and wholesale prices for ISPs.

 “Through our networks, we will strive to ensure that Afghans remain connected with their families and friends, and can attend work from home, and their classes online." Said Mr. Aliullah Sarwari, Vice President at AWCC.

 The key objectives of this first-ever joint regulator-government and private sector press event were to raise awareness on the risks associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, and how the telecom sector will help citizens stay connected and access knowledge resources. The event also aimed to convey a positive message to the wider community that the sector players care, and will provide support at the critical time that the world is going through.

 Event video report: https://youtu.be/jxPUJf0ijXI

 About ATRA:

Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) was established in 2006 with the aim to regulate the telecom sector in Afghanistan. Provide an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in developing telecom and Internet infrastructure and services. This is ensured through applying standards, providing universal access to the services, regulating the market, overseeing and fostering competition in the telecom market in a nondiscriminatory and transparent manner, improving level playing field in the telecom and Internet domains in the country.

 

Contacts for press:

Phone: +93 777 292 354

Email: media@atra.gov.af