Etisalat announces major cut in call, SMS rates

Kabul, January 3, 2008 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Private mobile-phone company Etisalat, four months after launching operations in several cities of Afghanistan, announced on Thursday a cut in call and short messaging service (SMS) charges in an effort to lure more customers.

Under the package unveiled here today, the company said, Etisalat subscribers would be charged only one afghani a minute, which previously cost five afghanis. By the same token, it added, a text message that earlier accounted for 2.5 afghanis would now cost only one afghani.

Minister for Communication and Information Technology Eng. Amirzai Sangin, meanwhile, welcomed the Etisalat announcement as a significant stride towards healthy competition among major telecom actors operating in the impoverished Central Asian country.

He hoped other private mobile companies such as Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC), Roshan and Areeba would follow suit by bringing down call rates as well as SMS charges to woo more subscribers. Saving Etisalat, all other companies continue to exact almost five afghanis a minute and 2.5 afghanis per SMS.

In an exclusive chat with Pajhwok Afghan News, acting chief of Etisalat Ghanem al-Marzooqi promised the company would cover the whole of Afghanistan during the current year. Currently, the UAE-based group is operational in Kabul, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz City, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Baghlan, Ghazni and some other cities.