Selection of three GSM operators in Iraq paves way for world-class network
The selection of three Arab GSM operators in Iraq after a stiff battle involving 35 companies will put an end to speculation about the mobile telephone structure in Iraq and pave the way for setting up a infrastructure to bring Iraq back into the regional and international cellular network.
The decision, announced by the Iraqi Communications Minister Haider Jawad Al-Aubadi, also brings an end to the lobbying between the supporters of the competing cellular technologies namely GSM and CDMA.
The selection of Kuwait's Wataniya Telecom for GSM services in Iraq's northern sector, Egypt's Orascom for the central sector and Kuwait's MTC for the south, has been largely hailed by industry analysts and mobile service providers as fair and not motivated by political or other considerations.
“This marks a major step in efforts towards creating a stable and world-class cellular network in Iraq and in integrating the country with the Middle East region and rest of the world,” said wireless information service provider Info2cell’s founder and CEO, Bashar Dahabra. “The choice of the three GSM operators was driven by technological considerations. All three operators have shown a strong commitment and the right expertise to serve the Iraqi market.”
“The victory of GSM over CDMA technology is also significant, because this will help Iraq integrate easily with the rest of the Middle East, as GSM offers advantages like international roaming, mature network, more innovative features and secure data encryption. It also offers a stable network with robust features and easy upgrades to 3G,” adds Dahabra.
Referring to the three GSM operators who have won the tenders, Dahabra said the selection was based on their proven capabilities in the respective regions and their strategic alliances with the right partners. He said that the clause allowing them to serve the whole of Iraq after 12 months would result in better quality, pricing and diversity of services.
“Kuwait has rightly taken the lion's share in the GSM tenders because it tied up with the right partners. MTC moved into southern Iraq just four months after the end of the war, and worked close with the coalition authorities. Wataniya Telecom partnered with Asia Cell, which already has 50,000 subscribers in northern Iraq, giving it a strong edge over competitors,” Dahabra remarked.
Info2cell is among the wireless service providers vying for a substantial share in the Iraqi mobile services market, especially due to its experience in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Levant markets and strong links with GSM operators active in Iraq. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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