The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Wins GSMA Government Leadership Award

By Gsma, PRNE
Monday, February 14, 2011

BARCELONA, Spain, February 15, 2011 - The GSMA today presented His Excellency Amirzai Sangin, Minister of
Communications & IT of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, with the mobile
industry's prestigious annual Government Leadership Award. The award
recognises the immense achievements made by the Afghan government in its
commitment to the widespread expansion of mobile communications.

In just ten years the Afghan government has taken a country with no
mobile infrastructure to a point where 80 per cent of the population is now
covered by telecommunications networks. It has licensed four GSM operators
and has created an environment of healthy, transparent competition and
low-cost, broad accessibility. By leading this transformation, Afghanistan's
government is driving economic growth; the mobile industry now directly
employs more than 50,000 people, and accounts for 12 per cent of all
government revenues. Telecommunications has become the single largest source
of foreign investment, bringing more than $1.2 billion dollars into the
national economy.

"I am extremely delighted to receive this award on behalf of the
Government of Afghanistan, and want to thank the GSMA for recognizing the
efforts of our government for creating policies and a regulatory environment
that, together with the efforts of all stakeholders, have resulted, despite
the challenges of the ongoing insurgency and war, in the tremendous success
of telecommunications and ICT in Afghanistan," said Minister Sangin. "With
our partners, we are determined to continue to develop the potential for
telecommunications and ICT as an enabler for the socio-economic development
of our country."

"This award acknowledges the pioneering leadership of the government of
Afghanistan and is a testament to the vision, courage and integrity of its
policy makers who are encouraging foreign investment in the country," said
Tom Phillips, chief regulatory officer, GSMA. "By reducing the spectrum fees
payable by mobile operators and creating a light-touch regulatory environment
which does not impose onerous burdens on operators, the government of
Afghanistan is building a new economic era and driving trade through the
power of mobile communications."

The judging panel for this year's Government Leadership Award was
composed of:

    - Professor Martin Cave, London School of Economics
    - Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President and CEO, Telenor Group
    - Ambassador David A. Gross, Partner, Wiley Rein
    - Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board, GSMA

The award was presented at the Government Mobile Forum, an annual one-day
event in which more than 350 government and regulatory representatives from
around the world meet with industry to discuss specific regulatory issues
relating to the development of mobile communications. The Forum is a key
event in the GSMA's Ministerial Programme which takes place every year in
Barcelona during the GSMA Mobile World Congress. In 2011 the Ministerial
Programme has attracted government delegations from more than 120 countries.

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications
industry. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's
mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile
ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers,
Internet companies, and media and entertainment organisations. The GSMA is
focused on innovating, incubating and creating new opportunities for its
membership, all with the end goal of driving the growth of the mobile
communications industry.

For more information, please visit Mobile World Live, the new online
portal for the mobile communications industry, at or the GSMA corporate website at

Ben Evetts, +44-(0)-7879-614941, bevetts at or press at

will not be displayed