Iraq’s largest mobile operator, Zain Iraq has recently announced its plan to launch 3G network for the Iraqi users, as soon as the company get necessary spectrum from the CMC or Communications and Media Commission. Wael Ghanayem, the cellco’s chief financial and operating officer, claimed that the spectrum ratification is now at the final stage and soon it will get ratified by the CMC. He also illustrated that in order to furnish 3G network services to the Iraqi cellular phone users company needs to develop its infrastructure. For that purpose, the company has decided to invest 15% of its overall revenue for the infrastructural development of the company. The company is working with three major companies, and they are: Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) and Huawei.
In Iraq, the present data penetration is lesser than 10% and thus, there are huge possibilities of development in this sector. On a contrast, the neighboring countries of Iraq are producing huge revenues, wherever 3G network is present. Ghanayem stated that Zain Iraq’s revenue was USD1.73 billion in the last year and the company is looking forward to double its revenue. While last year USD200 million was expensed for infrastructural development, this year the company is planning to invest 15% of its total revenue that is earned by the year of 2012.
On the context of an ongoing plan for Initial Public Offering (IPO), Mr. Ghanayem described that the company has arrived the final stage to reform as a joint-stock company from privately owned company. The company is waiting to get ratified by the companies’ registrar to appear in the list of ISX (Iraq Stock Exchange). It is to be noted that all three Iraqi mobile operators are required to float 25% of their shares on the ISX as per the terms and conditions of their license. But, so far only Asiacell has fulfilled this condition, that too in last month by raising their fund to USD 1.24 billion.