Long awaited, the launch of 3G services opens a lucrative revenue stream for Iraqi operators. Advanced data services have strong potential in the market, both through Smartphone devices and dongles, as mobile becomes the main point of access for internet services in the country.
Zain and Asiacell, the two leading Iraqi mobile operators with a combined market share of over 80%, launched 3G services within 24 hours of each other over the New Year.
This comes after the country's three mobile operators agreed to pay the Iraqi regulator USD307mn in 3G spectrum fees at the end of 2014.
Iraqi operators have been eager to launch 3G services in the country and despite earlier disagreements with the regulator over spectrum fees, launched very promptly after authorization.
Issues remain regarding the security situation in the country, with the war against ISIS still raging in the North and at the Syrian border. We believe this will slow network roll-out and subscriber take-up in these regions as well as increase security costs. However, operators are confident that the new services will provide revenue growth in the saturated basic voice services market.