Zain Iraq gets 3G licence, will launch in January 2015
Zain Iraq awarded a licence for 3G spectrum, will launch services in the new year
Zain Iraq has announced that it has been awarded a licence for 3G spectrum, and it expects to launch services by January next year.
The operator, a part of Zain Group, has entered into an agreement with Iraq's Communications and Media Commission (CMC) to secure authorization to utilize 2100 MHz spectrum for 3G services across Iraq. The company paid $307 million for the licence, and has already paid the first instalment of $76.75m.
A signing ceremony was held at the Al Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad attended by Iraqi Prime Minister Dr Haider al-Abadi, Dr Safaa Rabee, CEO of the CMC, and Dr Ali Al-Khwaildi, chairman of the CMC commissioners and other distinguished Iraq government officials as well as Zain Iraq senior management led by Dr. Haidar Radi, Zain Iraq Chief Technology Officer.
The operator said that it has invested around $5 billion in its network in Iraq since it gained a mobile licence in 2003, to create a network of with over 4,000 mobile network sites serving 13.3 million customers.
The company has contracted Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Networks to expand and upgrade the network with Single-RAN technology, thus allowing Zain Iraq to quickly roll-out 3G commercial services across the country.
In his keynote speech at the signing ceremony, Iraqi Prime Minister Dr Haider al-Abadi noted that "his government's role is to partner with and fully support the telecommunications private sector confident that advanced mobile technologies will play a constructive role in the future development of Iraq".
Commenting on the award of 3G spectrum, Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer said: "Zain views the launch of 3G services in Iraq as a complete game-changer for the country, which today measures less than 15% broadband penetration. We have already invested heavily in making the network 3G ready and our target is to be commercially operational by January 2015, allowing Iraqi customers to enjoy and benefit from widespread 3G coverage."
"We commend the CMC on its transparent and constructive attitude towards our discussions during the license process and I am confident that the launch of 3G services will positively impact Iraq's domestic output and economic prosperity on many levels," he added.
Mohammed Charchafchi, Chairman of Zain Iraq said: "Today marks a new era of mobile telecommunications in Iraq and Zain is well prepared to offer the Iraqi community outstanding high-speed 3G voice and data services. Given Zain Iraq's aggressive expansion and network upgrade plans in motion, coupled with a concerted focus on attracting new corporate and individual customers based in the more affluent northern parts of the country through attractive marketing initiatives, we foresee significant growth in all our key financial metrics from the introduction of 3G in the country."