Telecoms/Comms

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

Asiacell Sales Decline

Asiacell Sales Decline

By John Lee.

Mobile operator Asiacell has posted an 8 percent drop in sales in the first half of 2014, due to the security situation and increased competition.

In its first half results its parent company, the Qatar-based Ooredoo, made the following statement:

Asiacell faced a growing wave of political and social instability during the period, allied to the effects of an increasingly competitive market.

“Consequently, revenue for the first half of 2014 was QAR 3,220 million (1H 2013: QAR 3,502 million), a decrease of 8%; EBITDA was down by 17% to QAR 1,544 million and EBITDA margin was also down to 48% from 53%.

“Asiacell focused on a number of cost efficiencies during the period in the face of growing competition whilst continuing its roll-out programme of network modernisation to ensure Asiacell customers continue to benefit from Iraq’s best and most reliable network.

“Consequently, Asiacell’scustomer base grew by 10.6% to 11.6 million compared to the first half of 2013. In response to the political and social situation in the country, Asiacell is monitoring the situation carefully and has a range of contingency plans in place to ensure the continued operation of the business.”

(Source: Ooredoo)

Posted in Telecoms/Comms0 Comments

Zain Iraq Revenues Unfrozen

Zain Iraq Revenues Unfrozen

By John Lee.

Kuwait’s Zain Group has announced that an Iraqi court has lifted a freeze on future revenue of Zain Iraq.

But the company added that previously frozen revenues remain blocked, after a $4.5 billion lawsuit against the Iraqi firm was dismissed this month.

In April, we reported that Zain was being sued for $4.5 billion over its 2007 acquisition of Iraqi telecom operator Iraqna for $1.2 billion from Egypt’s Orascom Telecom.

The company issued the following statement:

Zain Group advises that it has notified the Kuwait Capital Markets Authority (CMA) of the following:

In regard to the announcement made by Zain Group to the CMA on April 20, 2014 of lawsuits filed against Atheer Telecom (“Zain Iraq”) in Iraq by another telecommunication company operating in Iraq, Zain Group wishes to further advise the following:

  1. Regarding the first lawsuit, claim No. 1312 / B / 2013, the Court of First Instance in Iraq issued a judgment in the case on July 9, 2014 dismissing the case of the plaintiff company against both the Communications and Media Commission of Iraq (CMC) and Zain Iraq. It should be noted that this judgment is subject to appeal within fifteen days from the date of judgment.
  2. Regarding the second lawsuit, which pertains to the blocking of a certain amount of funds generated by Zain Iraq that are required to be held by a court-appointed legal administrator in an Iraqi Bank, as a consequence of the dismissal of claim No. 1312 / B / 2013 and the fact that there is no longer a legal justification for the blocking of such funds, Zain Iraq applied to have these restrictions removed. In a decision issued on Sunday, July 13, 2014, the court decided to suspend all activities of the administrator and to cease blocking any future funds until the claim in case No. 1312/B/2013 becomes final and not subject to appeal.

Zain Group remains committed to providing all stakeholders with further updates on any activities related to these lawsuits as they occur.

(Source: Zain)

(Picture: Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer)

Posted in Telecoms/Comms0 Comments

Chinese Hackers Target US Experts on Iraq

Chinese Hackers Target US Experts on Iraq

A sophisticated Chinese hacker group is now reported to be focusing its efforts on US policy towards Iraq.

The group, called “Deep Panda,” started targeting US policy experts and think tanks with links to Iraq on 18th June, the day that ISIS began to attack the oil refinery at Baiji.

Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and CTO of security company CrowdStrike, told ComputerWorld that the shift made clear that the Chinese government wanted to know what policy makers thought was happening in Iraq and what military moves the U.S. might make to stabilize the situation.

China is the largest foreign investor in Iraqi oil fields, and draws about 10% of its oil imports from the country. Most of China’s oil investments, however, are in southern Iraq.

CrowdStrike, which has tracked Deep Panda for three years, believes the group either works for or is actually funded by the Chinese government.

(Source: ComputerWorld)

(Computer image via Shutterstock)

Posted in Security, Telecoms/Comms0 Comments

Iraqi Media Fail: Encouraging Division, Causing War

Iraqi Media Fail: Encouraging Division, Causing War

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.

Iraqi Media Fail: Encouraging Sectarian Division, Spreading Rumours, Causing War

The way that the Iraqi media have covered the current crisis has left a lot to be desired. Instead of information they have spread rumours and encouraged sectarian divisions. If the country ends up with another civil war, the local media must bear some of the blame.

After June 9, when Sunni Muslim extremists were able to take over the northern city of Mosul, it was not just the Iraqi people whose opinions were vastly divided about what had just happened. The Iraqi media has also been split. And it feels like it’s whole mission – to inform – has changed too.

While some media organisations were strident in their support of the fight against Sunni Muslim extremists, others described them as revolutionaries who were taking part in a popular uprising. It quickly became clear that the Iraqi media was giving in to sectarian sentiments, just as the Iraqi people on the street were.

In fact, the Iraqi media have let their public down badly. As formal security forces appeared to be collapsing in various parts of the country, people really needed to know what was going on. But the Iraqi media didn’t seem to be able to provide that information.

Instead, media organisations compensated for the lack of information by broadcasting and publishing material that was supposed to raise morale – this included revolutionary songs and replays of older victories achieved by the Iraqi army.

Over the past two to three weeks it has become quite normal for Iraqis to spend two hours watching news programmes which basically feature a lot of battle songs, while the presenter answers calls from Iraqis who were volunteering to fight the Sunni Muslim extremist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

The fatwa – or religious edict – issued by Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is one of the world’s leading religious authorities and who is to Shiite Muslims what the Pope is to Catholics, became the basis for many a media report. Al-Sistani called for all Iraqis to defend the country against extremists, no matter which sect they were from. However many media organisations used his statement in programmes with a great deal of sectarian content. Often this involved hundreds of young volunteers marching around, chanting and making threats against the enemy.

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Posted in Security, Telecoms/Comms0 Comments

Iraq to Launch Satellite this Month

Iraq to Launch Satellite this Month

By John Lee.

The Ministry of Science and Technology announced that it will launch a satellite for research purposes on 20th June from a base in the north of Russia.

Built in conjunction with La Sapienza University in Rome, the “Tigrisat” satellite (pictured) will also detect dust storms over Iraq.

It weighs just 4 Kg and measures 10 x 10 x 30 cm.

(Sources: Aswat Al Iraq, Ministry of Science and Technology)

Posted in Education & Training, Telecoms/Comms0 Comments

Almasa, Technocare Partner for Iraq

Almasa, Technocare Partner for Iraq

By John Lee.

Almasa IT Distristribution and Technocare have partnered to offer what they describe as “a leading edge customer care and reverse logistics solution in Iraq”.

The alliance, which will be offered through Almasa Care, the services business division of Almasa IT Distribution, will bring together Technocare’s robust customer care and after market platform in the wireless sector, with Almasa’s deep market understanding and penetration in the Iraq market.

Medhi Amjad (pictured), executive chairman, Almasa IT Distribution, said:

“This strategic alliance with Technocare will help the company to honour warranty, enhance logistics handling and cement the company’s services offerings to channel partners in Iraq.

“We have launched our Almasa Care services business in Iraq as this is one offering that instils confidence in all the vendor brands we represent and the channel partners we serve in that country.” 

(Source: ITP)

Posted in Telecoms/Comms0 Comments

Kurdistan’s New Freedom of Information Law ‘Toothless’

Kurdistan’s New Freedom of Information Law ‘Toothless’

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.

All Talk, No Action: Iraqi Kurdistan’s New Freedom of Information Law Toothless

Iraqi Kurdistan has a new freedom of information law. Despite being lauded by all local political parties, the law is almost a year old and has barely been used. At a recent meeting, journalists blamed politicians for wording the law in an imprecise way while MPs said the journalists were at fault.

It has been almost a year since authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan passed a law guaranteeing the right to access to information in the semi-autonomous region. However as a recent symposium on the law indicated, there are still plenty of hurdles that information-seekers must overcome before they can use it – and that is, if they use it at all.

Journalists present at the symposium, held last Thursday in the region’s capital, Erbil, were also quick to question attending politicians about the imprecise language used to outline exemptions – that is, when information cannot be accessed because it relates to military matters, negotiations, personal medical histories or other factors.

Iraqi Kurdistan’s Parliament passed the legislation in June 2013 and although almost all of the laws passed through the regional parliament – Iraqi Kurdistan is semi-independent of Baghdad and has its own legislation, military and borders – are contested by one or other political party, nobody had any objections to this particular one. It seems that all of Iraqi Kurdistan’s politicians agree on the right to information.

The law stresses the right to access to information for all locals in Iraqi Kurdistan as well as to foreigners. It says that government institutions should give information requested within ten days unless the information falls into one of the exempted categories. Should the information not be forthcoming, there are financial penalties.

At the symposium, which was organised by local media training organization, the Media Academy Iraq, and held on the premises of the German consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan, local politician Asso Karim, who headed the parliamentary committee on media and culture during the previous Parliamentary session and who was one of the prime movers behind the law, said that the law was important and unique in the country; Baghdad doesn’t have such a law.

Pages: 1 2

Posted in Security, Telecoms/Comms0 Comments

Asiacell Profits Fall

Asiacell Profits Fall

By John Lee.

Mobile operator Asiacell has posted a 12.2 percent drop in annual net profit.

Reuters reports that the company, part of Qatar-based Ooredoo, made a net profit of 581 billion dinars ($498.62 million) in 2013, down from 662 billion dinars a year earlier.

Profit was impacted “non-recurring items – mainly related to tax in previous years – which totalled 74 billion dinars”.

(Source: Reuters)

Posted in Investment, Telecoms/Comms0 Comments

IBN Newsletter 'FREE Weekly Subscription'