The political unrest in Iraq has battered the telecommunications sector and created a very challenging environment for the telecoms operators. The three mobile network operators which hold national licences are Zain Iraq, Asiacell and Korek Telecom. The unstable economy combined with a decrease in consumer spending - along with the destruction of telecoms infrastructure; resulted in a stagnating market. However, in 2018 there are signs of stability and in turn, the operators are beginning to see some small turn arounds in terms of revenue growth.
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.
Prior to the recent civil tension; 4G LTE had been deployed in some areas of Iraq and there was also a progressive fibre optic network underway across parts of the country. While it is unknown how widespread the damage to this infrastructure has been, there are various areas regaining network access.
The country continues to move forward with the Ministry of Communications (MoC) launching a Fibre-to-The-Home project. This will see an initial 90,000 lines deployed across selected governates.
Overall the current security situation has been an impediment to telecommunications development in Iraq. However, there are positive signs for the future with signs of improved stability and some reconstruction efforts beginning to emerge.
- 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.
- The recently introduced 20% tax on mobile services has impacted upon mobile operator revenues.
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), Ericsson, ScopeSky Communications.
Please note: Due to the civil unrest in Iraq, current and detailed information on the telecoms sector can at times be difficult to obtain.
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 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Submarine cable networks
6.2.2 Satellite networks
7. Smart infrastructure
7.1 Smart grids
8. Broadband access market
8.1.1 Internet statistics
8.2 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
8.3 Satellite broadband
9. Other fixed broadband services
9.1 Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
10. Digital economy
11. Digital media
11.2 Social media
11.2.2 Statistical information
11.3 Communications: VoIP, messaging, conferencing
12. Mobile communications
12.1 Market analysis
12.1.1 Mobile statistics
12.2 Mobile broadband statistics
12.3 Regulatory issues
12.3.1 Temporary mobile licences awarded in 2003
12.3.2 Permanent licences awarded in 2007
12.3.3 Fourth mobile licence
12.4 Mobile infrastructure
12.4.3 Satellite mobile
12.5 Major mobile operators
12.5.1 Asiacell Communications (Oooredoo)
12.5.2 Zain Iraq (formerly MTC Atheer)
12.5.3 Korek Telecom
12.5.4 Kurdistan operators
12.6 Mobile data
12.7 Mobile content and applications
12.8 m-banking and m-payments
13. Related reports
List of Tables
Table 1 Country statistics - Iraq 2017
Table 2 - Telephone network statistics 2017
Table 3 - Mobile statistics 2016
Table 4 National telecommunications authorities
Table 5 Iraq GDP and inflation 2012 - 2018
Table 6 Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1990 - 2017
Table 7 Internet user penetration and estimates 2001 - 2016
Table 8 Historical - International Internet bandwidth 2005 - 2013
Table 9 - Facebook Stats for Iraq compared to other Middle East countries as at August 2016
Table 10 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2002 - 2017
Table 11 Mobile operator market shares 2004 2017
Table 12 Active mobile broadband subscriptions 2014; 2016
Table 13 Asiacell revenue 2016; 2017
Table 14 Asiacell subscribers 2006 - 2017
Table 15 Zain Iraq financial data 2006 2017
Table 16 Zain Iraq mobile subscribers 2006 2017
Table 17 Zain Iraq prepaid subscribers 2009 - 2017
Table 18 Korek Telecom subscribers 2013 - 2016
List of Exhibits
Exhibit 1 Background information - Orascom Telecom Iraq Corporation/Iraqna