Iraq reveals fixed-line plans

Iraqi government to announce tenders worth $600mn to provide 800,000 fixed-lines to network.

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By  Lynne Roberts Published  August 28, 2007

The Iraqi government will soon announce telecoms tenders worth $600 million to provide 800,000 fixed-lines, according to the country’s minister of communications.

The project would be financed by a long term Japanese loan, Mohammed Allawi told Dow Jones Newswires yesterday, without giving a date for the tender.

The country’s devastated telephone system needs an injection of $2bn over the next three years, Allawi said.

According to Allawi, the density of fixed-line use in Iraq is among the lowest in the world. There are currently 1.2 million fixed-lines in the country, which the ministry plans to increase to two million by the end of this year, and three to four million over the next four to five years, he said.

Ericsson was recently awarded a $40 million deal to repair 500,000 existing fixed lines. A further contract for 117,000 new lines by the end of this year had also been signed, Allawi said.

Kuwait’s Kalimat Telecom was awarded Iraq’s first national fixed line telecom licence last year.

The company said this month it was considering approaches from foreign investors looking for a foothold in the country, and would be willing to sell a ‘substantial stake.’

Kalimat paid a $20 million fee and signed a $5 million performance bond for its 10-year licence. The company plans to invest $700 million in its first six years of operations.

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