Iraq’s mobile market rings loud

Currently, IrakCell, TurkCell and Zagil Wireless are among the favourites for the three licenses. Any company that wins, will be able to roll out their services across Iraq after an initial 12 months of operation.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  September 11, 2003

The US Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) will grant three regional
mobile operating licenses for Iraq later this week. Each license is valid for an initial two-year period and interested parties are being encouraged to bid for at least two of the three regions, which encompass north, central and south Iraq.

Currently, IrakCell, TurkCell and Zagil Wireless are among the favourites for the three licenses and any company that wins will be able to roll their services our across Iraq after an initial 12 months of operation.

IrakCell, which is a consortium made up of LibanCell and the Amira, Maymana and Shamara Groups, is bidding for all three regional licenses. Officials from the company estimate 400,000 subscribers would sign up for their services and the consortium plans to charge users 15 cents per minute.

6-month old Zagil Wireless is also an international consortium with strong regional connections. It is being led by a group of Iraqi telecommunications and business leaders and is also bidding for a license to operate a wireless network in Iraq.

Unlike Zagil and IrakCell, Turkcell is not a consortium containing local representation and is instead a NYSE listed GSM operator with 17 million customers. It had revenues of Turkcell had revenues of over US$1.07 billion for the current financial year and is listed on the NYSE.

Strongest among the contenders seems Irakcell. Backed by three powerful local Iraqi business groups, the consortium is also enlisted as a member of the Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce and has Motorola as a technology partner.

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