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Kalimat to invest $250mn in Iraq

Telco aims for a nationwide rollout by this November and plans for IPO in 2012

Kalimat to invest $250mn in Iraq
Kalimat's $250 million investment in Iraq is aimed at tripling its subscriber base by this year end.

Kalimat, a Baghdad-based telecom operator, intends to make an investment of $250 million this year in the country with the aim to triple its subscriber base, according to a Reuters report. The operator also plans to stage an initial public offering (IPO) next year, the report said.

Wilson Varghese, CEO of Kalimat, was quoted as saying that with the current operations in six major cities in the country, Kalimat plans to provide mobile, fixed and data services throughout Iraq by the end of November. "Our 300,000 subscriber base would more than triple by this year end," he added.

Varghese said that the expansion is expected to increase the subscriber base to reach 3 million by 2012 end. He also said: "The penetration rates in 3G are around 24% with more potential to tap."

Kalimat hadoriginally planned its IPO for 2011. "It is part of our exit strategy," Varghese was quoted saying in the Reuters report. He also said that telecom operators continue to face challenges as "it is primarily from the political side, because Iraq does not understand the private sector running this industry".

"It is hard for us to gain recognition," he added.

Kalimat competes with rival CDMA operators Itisaluna, Mobitel and state-run ITPC, in addition to Iraq's three mainstream mobile operators, Asiacell, Zain Iraq and Korek Telecom.



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