Telecoms/Comms

The latest Iraqi news on developments and opportunities in communications and media from Iraq Business News

Zain Sued for $4.5bn over Iraq Deal

Zain Sued for $4.5bn over Iraq Deal

By John Lee.

Reuters reports that mobile phone company Zain is being sued for $4.5 billion over its 2007 acquisition of Iraqi telecom operator Iraqna.

The company bought Iraqna for $1.2 billion from Egypt’s Orascom Telecom after it dropped out of the running for a long-term mobile licence in Iraq.

According to Reuters, the Kuwaiti firm then merged its Iraqi unit, Atheer, with Iraqna and renamed the entity Zain Iraq.

Zain said that a company it declined to identify filed a lawsuit last August claiming that Zain’s takeover had stopped the firm buying Iraqna, causing it losses of $4.5 billion.

Zain Iraq said the claimant company has failed to produce any evidence to back its claim.

(Source: Reuters)

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Kurdistan Criticised On Press Freedom

Kurdistan Criticised On Press Freedom

By John Lee.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that journalists in Iraqi Kurdistan say they must self-censor on topics like religion, social inequality, and corruption associated with powerful officials.

Their report states that over the past few years the nonprofit advocacy group Metro Center to Defend Journalists, based in Sulaymaniyah, has recorded in detail nearly 700 attacks on journalists, including threats, harassment, beatings, detentions, intimidation, and arson; most of the attacks have gone unpunished.

The CPJ calls on the Kurdistan Regional Government to thoroughly investigate all unsolved attacks on journalists, including the murders of Sardasht Osman and Kawa Garmyane and the arson attack on Nalia Radio and Television (NRT), and hold to account all those responsible to the full extent of the law.

The full report can be viewed here.

(Source: CPJ)

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Zain Profits Up on Gains in Iraq, Kuwait

Zain Profits Up on Gains in Iraq, Kuwait

By John Lee.

Kuwait-based Zain reported an 8 percent rise in first-quarter profit on Monday, as earnings from Iraq and its domestic business rose. According to the company’s report:

Zain Iraq … performed exceptionally well in the first quarter of 2014 with revenues of US$432.3 million, EBITDA of US$167.8 million and net income of US$78.3 million reflecting Y-o-Y growth of 3%, 3% and 24% respectively compared to Q1-2013.

“The operation performed remarkably well and we expect Zain Iraq to be one of the Group’s major growth drivers in all facets of the business during the course of the year. The 18% growth in customer numbers Y-o-Y to reach 16 million bodes well for the on-going development of the company given the imminent granting of 3G spectrum this year.

“Zain Iraq is the largest contributor to Zain Group’s customer base with 35% of all customers and Zain Iraq’s revenues represents 40% of total Group consolidated revenues.

Referring to the business as a whole, Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer (pictured) noted:

Across many of our markets, we are witnessing growth in key financial indicators as we drive efficiency and innovation.

“The healthy 27% annual growth rate in data revenues with data now reflecting 15% of all Zain Group’s service revenues, emphasizes the appeal and quality of our product and service offerings and justifies the huge investment we continue to make in our 3G and 4G networks.

(Sources: Zain, Reuters)

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HP Considers Iraq Office

HP Considers Iraq Office

By John Lee.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) sees big future opportunities in Iran and Iraq.

Mathew Thomas, general manager for printing and personal systems at HP Middle East, told GulfNews:

We are waiting for the green signal from the World Trade Organisation and HP worldwide to give us the direction of when … As of now, we have permission to travel to Iran and do a feasibility of the market …

“We are studying very closely to open an office in Iraq … I am hopeful that something should happen this year. I am in touch with all the American companies and the rest of my partners to see if there is any movement.

HP does not have a direct presence in Iraq, doing business through “second-tier resellers“.

(Source: GulfNews)

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Old Phones, Computers Threaten Public Health

Old Phones, Computers Threaten Public Health

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

E-Waste Comes to Karbala: Old Phones and Computers Threaten Public Health

In the relatively prosperous city of Karbala, locals are used to buying cheap mobile phones, then simply throwing them out when they break down. They also discard used computers, televisions and other electronic equipment in the same way. But, as local doctors warn, the components of this electronic waste can also be toxic and dangerous to human health.

In Karbala, locals quite commonly buy two or three cheap mobile phones at a time and after using them for a couple of months they simply replace them.

And people here have different reasons for getting a new mobile phone. Ahmad Badr, 27, says he is often tempted by new models because of the way they look or the new technology. “Every time I see a new model, I feel like selling my old phone or maybe giving it to my younger brothers,” says Badr, who admits to having gone through 21 mobile phones over recent years.

Even Hamid Rhaman, who is in his 60s, says he’s had nine mobile phones since they became available in Karbala. “I replaced most of them because of technical issues but in some cases, I did get a new one simply because I wanted a better model,” he explains.

These examples fit with what mobile phone store owners see regularly: younger people replace their phones more often and it often has much to do with following trends. And women replace their phones more often than men. Those least likely to shop for a new phone regularly are older men.

But what happens to all the old phones? “We can’t really do anything with the old or damaged phones,” says Rida Bahr, the owner of a phone repair store in Karbala. “Sometimes repair shops like mine keep the old phones for a while. But then we run out of space and we basically just have to throw them in the garbage along with other household rubbish.”

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Iraq Renews Podesta’s $1m PR Contract

Iraq Renews Podesta’s $1m PR Contract

By John Lee.

The Government of Iraq has reportedly renewed its one-year $960,000 PR contract with Podesta Group to “promote a better understanding with the US of its priorities and concerns“.

The work, which runs through 2014, is designed to “further the purposes of the Strategic Framework Agreement” and facilitate a dialog with the American Congress and Obama Administration.

According to O’Dwyer PR, Podesta will develop a strategic communications and PR plan as well as other services, and provide Iraq with monthly written reports to summarize its efforts and progress to reaching the country’s objectives.

Iraq’s Ambassador in the US, Lukman Faily, will act as Iraq’s representative to the Washington-based firm.

(Source: O’Dwyer PR)

Posted in Industry & Trade, Politics, Telecoms/Comms0 Comments

Asiacell Selects Anam Technologies

Asiacell Selects Anam Technologies

Anam Technologies, a Irish mobile messaging software solutions provider for mobile operators, has announced that they have been selected by Asiacell to provide its SMS Firewall service ANTISpam.

The service was selected by Asiacell to enhance the operator’s ability to detect and block spam traffic from entering its network and protect its customers from receiving spam messages. Anam will partner with local company, Iraqcom Technologies, to deliver the solution and provide Asiacell with a full suite of support services.

Anam’s ANTISpam service detects and blocks spam messages, which can take the form of messages from an anonymous or faked sender and often asks customers to reply to expensive, premium rate numbers, or messages that the customer views as offensive.

Anam’s advanced filtering engine detects spamming; spoofing, faking and spam content and prevents it from reaching a customer’s mobile phone, therefore improving a user’s experience, reducing levels of churn and protecting the operator’s network.

Among the innovative new detection techniques that Asiacell will benefit from are one-step user reporting and trend analysis developed by Anam to facilitate an automated detection and blocking of new emerging fraud and spam campaigns.

The new scope of delivery also extends the Bye-Bye service which allows customers to block calls and SMS messages from unwanted numbers such as bullies, harassers, etc.

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Ooredoo hits out at Iraq Delays

Ooredoo hits out at Iraq Delays

By John Lee.

Qatari telecommunications operator Ooredoo, which owns the Iraqi mobile phone company Asiacell, has hit out at prices quoted by the Iraqi government for a long-delayed auction for 3G spectrum licences.

Company CEO Dr Nasser Marafih (pictured) told Arabian Business:

The country needs it, the people need it. We are ready to deploy [it], but it has to be done at the right price. What they’ve put(the price) is not reasonable at all in our view … That’s something that we’re discussing with the government.

The awarding of licences for 3G has been delayed for several years, with recent reports suggesting that the process may be again postponed until 2015; it has also been reported that bidding for the licences will start at a minimum of more than $300 million.

In February last year, Asiacell raised $1.27 billion in a public float, while it holds more than a third of market share in the country.

(Source: Arabian Business)

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