Tag Archive | "mobile phone"

Zain to Launch 3G by Jan


By John Lee.

Zain Iraq is to launch its 3G mobile phone services in January.

Reuters reports that Zain, along with rivals Asiacell and Korek, eventually agreed to the government’s terms and formally signed the contracts at a ceremony in Baghdad on Monday attended by prime minister Haider al-Abadi.

Zain Iraq recently paid the first instalment fee amounting to $76.75 million (85.5 billion Iraqi dinars) representing 25 percent of the overall 3G spectrum fee of $307 million.

CEO Scott Gegenheimer (pictured) said in a statement:

Zain views the launch of 3G services in Iraq as a complete game-changer for the country …

“We have already invested heavily in making the network 3G ready and our target is to be commercially operational by January 2015.”

Zain hass commissioned Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Networks to expand and upgrade the network.

(Source: Zain, Reuters)

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Telcos Agree to Pay $307m for 3G


By John Lee.

Reuters reports that Iraq’s mobile phone companies have agreed to demands from the country’s Communications and Media Commission (CMC) to pay $307 million each for radio spectrum to run 3G mobile phone networks.

Current 2G services are supplied by Zain Iraq (a unit of Kuwait’s Zain), Asiacell (a subsidiary of Ooredoo) and Orange affiliate Korek, who each paid $1.25 billion for their licences in 2007.

Revenue growth in the sector has stagnated in recent years, largely because the government delayed permission for the three national operators to launch 3G services.

But a senior source told Reuters that the companies have now agreed to this fee, and had made downpayments of $73 million in recent days, with the remainder to be paid in four installments over the next18 months.

(Source: Reuters)

(Phone image via Shutterstock)

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Asiacell Revenues Down 10%


By John Lee.

In its results for the first nine months of 2014, Qatari telecom provider Ooredoo has reported that revenues at its Iraqi unit Asiacell are down 10 percent.

The company gave the following update on operations in Iraq:

Asiacell continued to face the challenge of political and social instability during the period, allied to the effects of an increasingly competitive market.

“Consequently, revenue for the nine months of 2014 was QAR 4,804 million (9M 2013: QAR 5,309 million), a decrease of 10%; EBITDA was down by 19% to QAR 2,272 million and EBITDA margin was also down to 47% from 53%. Customer numbers increased by 16% to 12.3 million.

“Growing levels of insecurity have impacted corporate and data revenue moderately. Asiacell has continued to focus on a number of cost efficiencies during the period in the face of growing competition. Asiacell continues to monitor the situation carefully and has a range of contingency plans in place to ensure the continued operation of the business.”

(Source: Ooredoo)

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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)

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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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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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France’s Orange sees Huge Growth in Iraq


By John Lee.

French-based telecommunications company Orange has said that it expects rapid customer and revenue growth in Iraq, where it took a 20 percent stake in mobile operator Korek two years ago.

Marc Rennard (pictured), the company’s executive vice president for Africa, the Middle East and Asia, told Reuters:

We have just reached five million customers two weeks ago (in Iraq), so business is booming and we are now working on the next step that will be the 3G licence … It depends on the government and regulatory authorities but we hope it will be beginning of 2014 …

“We don’t want to publish our objectives for next year or the year after, but there is still room for huge growth in Iraq in terms of number of customers and also in terms of revenues  …

“In Iraq two years ago it was less than 2 million customers, so we got this dramatic increase from the south and part of it from the north …

“In the future, if you project 10 years it will be probably one of the most important countries in the Orange group. It will be close to Egypt.

Mobile telephone penetration is relatively high at around 78 percent of Iraq’s population of 33 million, but only about 2 percent has access to broadband, analysts say.

(Source: Reuters)

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Korek Upgrades Network in Southern Iraq


Korek Telecom customers in southern Iraq will soon experience high-speed mobile broadband and better voice call services with improved coverage.

For this, Korek Telecom, a leading telecom operator in Iraq, has selected Nokia Siemens Networks to deploy its advanced radio, microwave transmission and packet core network elements, using its comprehensive services. The operator has also renewed its care and managed services contract with the company.

“We wanted to provide better internet experience and improved voice call services for our customers in Iraq,” said Ghada Gebara (pictured), Chief Executive Officer, Korek Telecom. “To achieve this, we needed a globally renowned technology partner, so we selected Nokia Siemens Networks. With Nokia Siemens Networks’ advanced radio and core network technology, we will soon be able to introduce high-speed mobile broadband and enhanced voice services to our customers in southern Iraq.”

“To fulfill the needs of Korek Telecom which is growing fast in the Iraqi telecom market, we are committed to providing strong technology support to the operator,” said Mikko Ylä-Kauttu, head of customer team Korek Telecom at Nokia Siemens Networks.

“Our radio and core network will ensure more throughput, improved coverage and higher quality to help Korek Telecom satisfy existing customers and attract new ones. In addition, our comprehensive services will ensure the rollout is fast and efficient, with everything working seamlessly.”

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