Telecommunications services in Afghanistan rely heavily on its mobile infrastructure. Afghanistan has a highly competitive mobile market that continues to flourish despite the background of the ongoing conflict throughout the country. Fixed-line broadband market penetration has not grown significantly over the last five years, so growth in the telecoms sector relies heavily on the mobile segment, with mobile penetration rising to 60% in 2019 and the total number of subscribers reaching almost 23 million. The Telecom Regulatory Authority is the agency dedicated to regulating, licensing, and supervising broadcasts, post, and telecommunications in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s economy is recovering from decades of conflict. Despite improvements in life expectancy, incomes, and literacy since 2001, Afghanistan is still extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Corruption, insecurity, weak governance, lack of infrastructure, and the Afghan Government’s difficulty in extending rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth.
In 2017 Afghanistan’s growth rate was only marginally above that of the 2014-2016 average. The drawdown of international security forces that started in 2012 has negatively affected economic growth, as a substantial portion of commerce, especially in the services sector, has catered to the ongoing international troop presence in the country. Planned reforms may still take time to be implemented and Afghanistan will remain dependent on international donor support over the next several years.