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Iraq - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 21 May 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 85

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Mobile operators would benefit from 4G infrastructure in Iraq

While Iraq continues to face political and economic challenges in 2020; signs of civil stability during 2019 paved the way for the mobile and fixed sectors to rebuild and restore telecommunications services in some of the liberated areas where networks had been damaged or destroyed.

The three major operators in the competitive mobile sector include Zain Iraq, Asiacell and Korek Telecom and together they own over 90% of mobile tower infrastructure. During 2020 the operators have focused their efforts on supporting Iraq in various ways through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The majority of Iraq’s mobile infrastructure is still based on GSM and 3G, except in the Kurdish region where 4G is available, primarily through services offered by Fastlink. The major operators hope 4G spectrum will soon be allocated and allow them to capitalise further on mobile broadband opportunities.

From a regulatory perspective, Iraq’s Draft Telecommunications Laws have been under scrutiny for a number of years and have yet to be finalised. They were recently discussed at a workshop hosted by the GSMA in early 2020; where it was suggested that the Laws should be amended to include global best practices.

This BuddeComm report provides key telecoms industry information and statistics for Iraq. It provides information on existing telecoms infrastructure, the regulatory environment, fixed and mobile subscriber statistics and information on the major operators.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth. Please note: due to the instability of this market, industry forecasts are not currently available.

The report covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • Iraq offers potential for telecoms infrastructure development with many under-served areas requiring better coverage and/or reconstruction.
  • Fixed broadband networks are in deployment in Iraq and recent repair work has focused on fixing damaged fibre-optic cables.
  • Operators have faced serious security concerns for both personnel, equipment and infrastructure due to the civil unrest.
  • Nearly all users in Iraq are prepaid and these services have been instrumental in encouraging mobile take up by the mass market.
  • The mobile operators are focusing on the more lucrative enterprise and B2B market segments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Iraqi Telephone and Postal Company (ITPC), Newroz Telecom, Asiacell, Zain Iraq, Korek Telecom, Regional Telecom, Communication and Media Commission (CMC), ScopeSky Communications.

Please note: Due to civil unrest in Iraq, current and detailed information on the telecoms sector can at times be difficult to obtain and forecasting is not included in this report.

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