KABUL, Afghanistan, June 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Roshan, Afghanistan's leading total communications provider, today announced it has surpassed six million active subscribers less than one year after the company became the country's first operator to cross the five million mark. Roshan attributes the rapid subscriber growth to its superior network quality, innovation and overall customer service and customer experience. Roshan has also experienced significant growth in non-voice services and, in particular, in providing leading data products to its customers.
Since inception in 2003, Roshan has invested more than $550 million in network infrastructure to deliver high quality voice and high speed data services to over 60% of the population in Afghanistan. "Our market research shows the customers consistently choose Roshan for the superior performance of our network," said Roshan CEO, Karim Khoja. "We are constantly assessing the evolution of the market and will continue to invest over $60 million in our network every year to deliver the most relevant products and services, and the widest coverage, without compromising on quality," said Khoja.
"Roshan is focused on delivering innovative products and services to meet the unique demands of the Afghan market," said Khoja. Roshan pioneered mobile data services in Afghanistan, becoming the first operator to introduce BlackBerry and data products. Roshan's data packages are differentiated to meet the varying needs of large corporate clients, small business owners, and youth eager to connect to the world, including growing access to social media tools. The span of youth oriented data products range from Night Surf promotion for late night browsing, to the added features of the Yaraan Voice and Data promotion which features Euro 2012 football updates.
In a continued spirit of bringing innovation to the market, in 2008, Roshan introduced the M-Paisa mobile wallet (also known as M-Hawala) to Afghanistan with Vodafone, making Afghanistan the second country in the world to adopt Vodafone's mobile money product. The M-Paisa wallet allows 97% of the Afghan population, which is unbanked, to enter the financial system via their mobile phones. Today over 1.2 million M-Paisa customers can send money to family members, pay bills, and buy airtime and receive their salaries through cashless transactions on the Roshan network by simply pressing a button on their mobile phones.
Continuous enhancements to the M-Paisa service are added, and in May 2012, Roshan introduced international mobile money transfers services to Afghanistan in partnership with Western Union. M-Paisa customers in Afghanistan can receive Western Union Mobile Money Transfer transactions from around the world directly into their mobile wallet accounts, in particular from countries with the largest population of Afghans living abroad, like UAE, Germany and Canada.
For world-class quality standards in customer service, Roshan's award winning call center recently became the first entity in Afghanistan to achieve the internationally recognized and rigorous ISO 9001 certification. Over 6 million customers can access highly trained customer care professionals fluent in Dari and Pashto, Afghanistan's two national languages, as well as English.
Roshan is also the only operator to harness its network to provide to provide an integrated approach on corporate social responsibility through Roshan Community, its dedicated corporate social responsibility program. This includes innovative services such as bringing telemedicine solutions to the country's rural populations, as well as a national price information system called Malomat targeted to Afghan farmers. Malomat provides farmers and traders with the latest pricing information for commodities such as wheat, rice, pomegranates and chicken in 13 markets, ensuring that they secure the highest value possible for their crops. Currently 500 farmers are participating in a trial program in five provinces across the country.
Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd) is Afghanistan's leading total communications provider with over 6 million active subscribers and a network that covers over 230 cities and towns in all of the country's 34 provinces.
Roshan is a true Afghanistan success story, serving as a catalyst for economic growth and actively contributing to the country's long-term development. Since its inception eight years ago, Roshan has invested over $500 million in Afghanistan and is the country's single largest investor and taxpayer, contributing approximately 5% of the Afghan government's overall domestic revenue. Roshan directly employs more than 1,200 people, 20% of whom are women, and provides indirect employment to more than 30,000 people.
Roshan is deeply committed to Afghanistan's reconstruction and development. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), is a major shareholder of Roshan and promotes private initiatives and building economically sound enterprises in the developing world. Also owned in part by Monaco Telecom International (MTI) and TeliaSonera, Roshan brings international expertise to the country and is committed to the highest standards of network quality and coverage for the people of Afghanistan.