EghtesadOnline: Afghan ICT Minister Shahzad gul Aryobi visited Tehran earlier in the week and discussed with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi ways to expand ties in information and communication technologies.
Saying that Iran and Afghanistan should build relations in all possible fields, Aryobi said, “The Afghan government is keen on enhancing collaboration with Iran in the communications and technology sectors,” the Iran ICT ministry website reported.
“During my visit, I met with Iran’s private technology firms that have shown interest in and great potential for working with Afghanistan. I also toured the Telecommunication Infrastructure Company of Iran. It has extensive human resources and financial capabilities.”
State-owned TIC is the largest provider of telecom infrastructure and offers services to private and public operators, Financial Tribune reported.
Jahromi referred to the shared cultural background of the two neighbors and said both sides can benefit from the cultural affinity and enhanced technological collaboration.
Over 2 million Afghans live in Iran. Jahromi said, “Many Afghans live and work in Iran. They should be provided with quality communication services to be able to stay in touch with family and friends back home. We can and will enhance their access to such services.”
To enhance the services, Iran has expanded its fiber-optic network to the Afghan border. “However, due to some complexities inside Afghanistan, only radio-based communication are used between the two countries,” Jahromi added.
Compared to radio-based communications, services offered through fiber optic are of better quality. In addition to higher Internet speed, landline networks are more reliable and less prone to disruptions.
Furthermore, radio-based communications are costlier and in case of disruptions more time and money is needed to restore the connection.
The Iranian minister noted that the two countries should also expand technological cooperation adding that there is immense potential for collaboration in this sector.
Jahromi is expected to travel to Afghanistan in the near future, but no date has been announced. “During the visit joint technological projects will get a boost.”
ICT Expo in Kabul
Co-sponsored by the tech consortium Iriana, Iran’s ICT Ministry and Iran ICT Guild Organization, an ICT exhibition ‘ArianaICT’ will be held in Kabul April 16-19.
During his visit to Tehran, the Afghan minister met with the local guild’s director Rasoul Saraeian, who said, “The exhibition can herald a new era in Iran-Afghan technological collaboration.”
Those interested can visit arianaict.com for further information.
In the past several years, Afghan communication infrastructure has seen a significant boom. Of the 36 million people in the country, 23.7 million (65.8%) have a mobile phone and 10 million are active Internet users.
Expansion of communication services as a cornerstone of sustainable development is on the Afghan government agenda. From 34 Afghan provinces, 25 have optic fiber networks. The state has also introduced an e-governance plan.