Kabul residents finding it hard to get new telecom connections

KABUL (SW) – A number of Kabul residents say that the delay in the process of distributing new connection cards by telecommunication networks has made them face many problems.

Gul Agha, a resident of Kabul city, says that he has been trying to buy a new SIM card for the past three weeks, but he has not yet received it. He wants the related offices and telecommunication networks to resume the process of distributing new SIM cards.

He says: “Our SIM card was blocked and now when we came to get a new SIM card, the company says that the SIM card distribution has been completed. I have been coming and going for three weeks. Our wish is that the distribution of SIM cards starts again.”

Mutiullah, another resident of Kabul and a customer of one of the telecommunications companies, also wants to see the process of distributing SIM cards to resume. He adds: “We use a SIM card for convenience, and in some places where friends are far away, we call to get to know about them. I wanted to get my brother a new SIM card, but it is not available.”

However, officials at the Afghanistan Telecommunications Services Regulatory Authority (ATRA) say that over the past two years, nearly four million SIM cards have been distributed across the country.

Jalaluddin Shams, the ATRA spokesperson, says that the process of distributing SIM cards has been delayed due to the delay in the submission of reports on the registration of SIM cards by telecommunication networks. He adds: “Telecom companies’ SIM cards are sealed at Kabul airport and the ATRA allows them if necessary. From 100,000 to 150,000 have been distributed by telecommunications companies, they are obliged to submit their report on the registration of SIM cards to the administration in one to three months. The companies do not process the report on time and the administration does not allow the distribution of other SIM cards.”

In this report, we tried to have the point of view of telecommunications companies about the delay in the process of distributing SIM cards, but the officials of these companies did not answer the questions by Salam Watandar.

It should be mentioned that at least four private companies and two state-owned telecommunications companies are operating in Afghanistan.