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Licensing regulations overhauled in Iraq

The Iraqi government has introduced new licensing plans for cellular operators, bringing an end to a period of limbo for the country's three main telcos.

The Iraqi government has introduced new licensing plans for cellular operators, bringing an end to a period of limbo for the country's three main telcos.

According to a report by Telegeography.com, which cites government and industry sources, an Iraqi committee made up of ministry officials and wireless executives has announced plans to license the three national mobile carriers in the country - MTC Atheer, Orascom and Asiacell.

Through the arrangement, each operator will pay at least US$250million and share 18% of their annual gross revenues with the Iraqi government.

In return, the operators will each receive a 15-year licence, which is automatically renewed every five years.

Previously, the operators had their licences renewed on a temporary basis by the National Communications and Media Commission (NCMC), an arrangement that had been introduced after their previous two-year permits authorised by the Coalition Provisional Authority expired, according to the report.

It is not yet clear, however, how the licensing regulations will affect Wataniya-owned Asiacell, which, as previously reported, is under threat of having its network shut down.