Korek Telecom hopes to launch a third-generation (3G) network later this year, but is waiting for the Iraqi government to allocate the necessary spectrum, the operator's chief executive said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
The company, in which France Telecom and Kuwait's Agility own stakes, claims a 70 percent market share in Kurdistan.
Yet its overall share of Iraqi mobile subscribers is just 13 percent and launching 3G, which would allow for faster Internet connections on mobile phones, could help it win customers from 2G operators Asiacell, an affiliate of Qatar Telecom, and Zain Iraq, part of Kuwait's Zain.
"The promise of the regulator and the ministry is that we should have 3G soon, so we are waiting for them to figure it out," Ghada Gebara, Korek chief executive, told Reuters by telephone. "They are serious about it, so it's just a question of time."
"We already have the right to use any technology we want in our licence, the idea is to get the right frequency," she said.
The government has yet to decide whether it will charge a fee for the new spectrum, Gebara said, adding extra fees would raise tariffs and slow down investment in new technologies to increase internet penetration.
"The more money you pay, it's the customer that will pay," she said.