Iraq Telecommunications Report Q2 2013 - New Market Research Report

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Wed May 08 2013

The Iraqi mobile sector recovered from a disappointing performance in 2011 by growing 14.3% in 2012. We believe that this was able to mask the continued muted growth in the country's fixed-line and broadband sectors. Further giving impetus to the mobile industry is the prospect of 3G licences being awarded by end-2013, which should benefit consumers and the broader economy by allowing the introduction of important services such as mobile banking.

Key Data

* The mobile market grew by 14.3% in 2012, up from 5.0% in 2011 and slightly down from 13.0% in 2010. We forecast the sector to grow by an average of 6.1% per annum between 2013 and 2017.
* Zain Iraq continued to reported stability for its ARPU while Asiacell saw its Q412 ARPU increased to a six-year high of US$16.9. However, we envisage ARPU to trend lower due to competition and operators' inability to offer advanced data services.
* Iraq had one of the lowest fixed-line and broadband penetration rates in the region at 5.5% and 0.4% respectively at the end of 2011, and we do not expect the situation to significant improve through 2017. We forecast the penetration rates to reach 5.0% and 0.8% respectively by end-2017.

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Key Trends And Developments

In March 2013, the Iraqi Telecommunications and Post Company awarded a contract to Ericsson to expand its wireline network and roll out IP technology as part of a next generation network transition process.

Zain Iraq announced in March 2013 that it is working with rivals Asiacell and Korek Telecom, as well as the Communications and Media Commission, on apportioning 3G spectrum, which is expected to go ahead later in 2012.

In a surprising development, Iraq is to gain a commercial 4G mobile broadband service much sooner than expected after independent operator Regional Telecom contracted Alcatel-Lucent to provide it with a large-scale LTE network. The company was authorised by the semi-official Kurdish government to establish fibre-optic and wireless broadband networks in the region, but the company's legal standing remains the subject of some debate considering the lack of rights of the Kurdish government to issue licences and allocate valuable resources such as spectrum without the approval of the national government.

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