Iraq - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Fourth mobile license to be auctioned in Iraq

Plans to auction a fourth mobile license in Iraq have again been ignited with the Iraqi cabinet announcing in mid 2018 that a committee has been appointed to manage the tender process along with assistance from an auditing firm. While efforts in the past to auction the fourth license were not successful; it is hoped that this time around the licensing process will be completed and further competition in the mobile market will be created.

Overall the political unrest in Iraq has battered the telecommunications sector and created a very challenging environment for the telecoms operators in recent years. In 2018 however there are signs of stability with the installation of thousands of new fibre-optic cables; restoration of some of the damaged mobile networks underway and growth in mobile broadband subscribers evident.

There is high international interest in the Iraqi market with its potential to recover economically pinned on its large oil and natural gas reserves. Iraq offers much potential for telecoms infrastructure development with many under-served areas requiring better coverage and/or reconstruction. There will also be opportunities in developing both 3G and 4G deployment, with early signs that mobile data revenues are already increasing on the back of existing 3G networks.

Key developments:

  • The three mobile network operators which hold national licences are Zain Iraq, Asiacell and Korek Telecom.
  • The parts of Iraq seized by rebel forces reportedly have very little mobile infrastructure left intact, with residents relying on satellite technology for communications.
  • The most popular mobile plans are pre-paid.
  • Operators have faced serious security concerns for both personnel, equipment and infrastructure due to the civil unrest.
  • Mobile broadband services took a recent step forward with a recent growth in mobile broadband subscriptions.

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.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
    • 2.1 Country overview
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Historical overview
    • 3.2 Market overview
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Historic overview
    • 4.2 Regulatory authority
    • 4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Iraq
      • 4.3.1 Wireless Local Loop licences
  • 5. Fixed network operator in Iraq
    • 5.1 Iraqi Telephone and Postal Company (ITPC)
  • 6. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 6.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 6.2 Historical overview
    • 6.3 International infrastructure
      • 6.3.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 6.3.2 Satellite networks
  • 7. Smart infrastructure
    • 7.1 Smart grids
  • 8. Broadband access market
    • 8.1 Overview
      • 8.1.1 Internet statistics
    • 8.2 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
    • 8.3 Other fixed broadband services
      • 8.3.1 WiMAX
  • 9. Digital economy
    • 9.1 e-Commerce
    • 9.2 e-Banking
    • 9.3 e-Education
  • 10. Digital media
  • 11. Mobile communications
    • 11.1 Historical overview
    • 11.2 Market analysis
      • 11.2.1 Mobile statistics
    • 11.3 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 11.4 Regulatory issues
      • 11.4.1 Temporary mobile licences awarded in 2003
      • 11.4.2 Permanent licences awarded in 2007
      • 11.4.3 Fourth mobile licence
    • 11.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 11.5.1 3G
      • 11.5.2 LTE
      • 11.5.3 Satellite mobile
    • 11.6 Major mobile operators
      • 11.6.1 Asiacell Communications (Oooredoo)
      • 11.6.2 Zain Iraq (formerly MTC Atheer)
      • 11.6.3 Korek Telecom
      • 11.6.4 Kurdistan operators
    • 11.7 Mobile data
    • 11.8 Mobile content and applications
    • 11.9 m-banking and m-payments
  • 12. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities - Iraq – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Iraq – GDP and inflation – 2012 - 2018
  • Table 3 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1990 - 2018
  • Table 4 – Internet user penetration and estimates – 2001 - 2018
  • Table 5 – Iraq - fixed broadband subscribers – 2017; 2018
  • Table 6 – Iraq - fixed and mobile Internet traffic - 2017
  • Table 7 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2002 - 2018
  • Table 8 – Mobile operator market shares – 2004 – 2017
  • Table 9 – Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2014 - 2018
  • Table 10 – Asiacell revenue – 2016; Q1 2018
  • Table 11 – Asiacell subscribers – 2006 – Q1 2018
  • Table 12 – Zain Iraq financial data – 2006 – 2017
  • Table 13 – Zain Iraq mobile subscribers – 2006 – Q1 2018
  • Table 14 – Zain Iraq prepaid subscribers – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 15 – Korek Telecom subscribers – 2013 – Q3 2017
  • Exhibit 1 – Background information - Orascom Telecom Iraq Corporation/Iraqna

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