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Iraq - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Market developments lay the foundation for future growthDespite developing in leaps and bounds in post-war Iraq, the telecoms industry still holds much growth potential. The main story of telecommunications in Iraq continues to be mobile. Prior to the 2003 Iraq war mobile telecoms did not exist in most of Iraq outside the Kurdish areas. Since then mobile penetration has reached levels indicative of market maturity.

Four operators share the market but Zain of Kuwait’s subsidiary Zain Iraq has much the largest market share, with well over 50% of the market. Asiacell, which counts Qtel of Qatar as a major shareholder, has just over a third of the market. The market’s unrealised growth potential continues to attract international investment, most notably in early 2011 when France Telecom acquired a stake in one of the two remaining minor players.

In an effort to rapidly deploy telecoms network infrastructure a number of Wireless Local Loop licences were awarded. Licence recipients have since deployed CDMA networks and launched voice and broadband services in a number of regional cities, offering many in the market the opportunity to take up broadband subscriptions for the first time.

Competing against the CDMA networks in the broadband market are WiMAX, ADSL and satellite platforms. Current Internet user levels are very low and hence present a great investment opportunity. Impediments to market development include the lack of international backhaul and regulatory uncertainty.

Should 3G licences be awarded the mobile operators would be in a prime position to make inroads into the broadband market, given the reach of their networks, existing brand recognition and product distribution channels as well as established pool of customers.

Uncertainty continues to exist in the regulatory situation with several disputes existing between the Ministry of Communications and the mobile operators. The Ministry has claimed it is owed large sums by the operators and has also fined them substantial amounts for non-fulfilment of service conditions in their contracts. A key issue is the delayed implementation of Initial Public Offerings (IPO)s by the mobile operators, a licence requirement that was supposed to be implemented by 31st August 2011.


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Overview of Iraq’s telecom market
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Background
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Iraq
4.3.1 Wireless Local Loop licences
5. Fixed network operators in Iraq
5.1 Iraqi Telephone and Postal Company (ITPC)
5.2 Wireless Local Loop operators
5.2.1 Itisaluna Abr Al Iraq
5.2.2 Kalimat Telecom
5.2.3 Hi Link Telecom
5.2.4 Omnnea
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telephone network
6.1.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
6.1.2 Northern Iraq
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Submarine cable networks
6.2.2 Satellite networks
7. Broadband access market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Internet statistics
7.2 Broadband and Internet subscriber forecasts
7.3 Fibre to the Home (FttH)
7.4 Wireless broadband
7.4.1 CDMA
7.4.2 WiMAX
7.4.3 Internet via satellite
8. Digital economy/digital media
8.1 Overview
9. Mobile communications
9.1 Overview of Iraq’s mobile market
9.1.1 Mobile statistics
9.2 Mobile subscriber forecasts
9.2.1 Scenario 1 – higher growth
9.2.2 Scenario 2 – lower growth
9.3 Regulatory issues
9.3.1 Temporary mobile licences awarded in 2003
9.3.2 Permanent licences awarded in 2007
9.3.3 Penalty fines and debts
9.3.4 Fourth mobile licence
9.4 Mobile technologies
9.5 Major mobile operators
9.5.1 Asiacell Communications
9.5.2 Zain Iraq (formerly MTC Atheer)
9.5.3 Korek Telecom
9.5.4 Orascom Telecom Iraq Corporation/Iraqna
9.5.5 Sanatel
9.6 Mobile voice services
9.6.1 Prepaid
9.6.2 Satellite mobile
9.7 Mobile Messaaging
9.8 Mobile Data
9.9 Mobile content and applications
9.9.1 Mobile TV
10. Related reports
11. Related reports
Lists
Table 1 – Country statistics Iraq – 2011
Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2011
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2010
Table 4 – Mobile statistics – 2011
Table 5 – National telecommunications authorities
Table 6 – GDP growth and inflation – 2005 - 2011
Table 7 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1990 - 2012
Table 8 – Internet user penetration and estimates – 2001 – 2011
Table 9 – Fixed broadband subscribers and estimates – 2006 – 2011
Table 10 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2003 - 2012
Table 11 – Mobile operator market shares – 2004 - 2011
Table 12 – Major mobile operators ARPU – 2004 - 2011
Table 13 – Forecast mobile penetration in Iraq – higher growth scenario – 2015; 2020
Table 14 – Forecast mobile penetration in Iraq – lower growth scenario – 2015; 2020
Table 15 – Asiacell financial data – 2006 - 2011
Table 16 – Asiacell subscribers – 2006 - 2011
Table 17 – Asiacell ARPU – 2011
Table 18 – Zain Iraq: Revenue, net income and subscribers – 2006 – 2011
Table 19 – Zain Iraq – Active Subscribers – 2006 - 2011
Table 20 – Zain Iraq prepaid subscribers – 2006 - 2011
Chart 1 – Iraq fixed-line and mobile subscribers – 2003 – 2012

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