Etisalat plans to enter Iraqi market

Telecoms company close to finalising a deal with existing Kurdish mobile operator

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By  Quintin Smith Published  February 28, 2008

Continuing its spree of foreign investment following a jump in profits last year, Etisalat has announced plans to enter into the Kurdish region of the Iraqi telecoms market.

The Kurdish region has been the most stable area of the country since the US-led invasion in 2003.

The teleco says it’s close to striking a deal with an existing Kurdish mobile operator, and is currently in talks with the Kurdish regional government. Chief executive officer of Etisalat, Mohammad al-Qemzi said: “We are now looking at a joint venture with an existing licence holder. We are just waiting for final agreement to get the deal done.”

The three companies that currently hold telecoms licenses in Iraq are Atheer, AsiaCell and Korek, a Kurdish company. After Korek’s negotiation for the license collapsed it was left with the license, but no infrastructure in the country. Korek has been in negotiations with Etisalat, as well as other interested parties.

Etisalat was also intending to bid in the cancelled Lebanese telecoms license auction that was scheduled for this month.

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