Arab Advisors Group
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Iraq’s cellular market growth will most resemble Lebanon’s in the coming two years.
Friday, June 27, 2003

A new Arab Advisors Group comprehensive report on Iraq’s telecommunications sector shows that, at least in the short term, the Iraqi telecommunications situation will be most similar to Lebanon’s after the civil war. Iraq will most likely have GSM networks given the regional context and the interest of the regional operators. July 27, 2003 - The road to a stable, durable and democratic political future in Iraq will be thorny. The future stability and security of Iraq will depend on a true understanding of Iraq’s problems and the regional context. The Iraqis have suffered terribly under the previous regime whose disregard for human rights, democracy, accountability and transparency is, unfortunately, not outside the norm in the Middle East. As ruthless as Saddam Hussien’s regime was, and as terrible its effects on Iraq and the Iraqis, Iraq’s problems did not all start with Saddam and will not end with Saddam. The political context strongly affects the economic context in which telecom services are given. The Arab Advisors Group believes that, at least in the short term, the Iraqi telecommunications situation will be most similar to Lebanon’s right after the civil war. Indeed, in our projections for the short-term (2 years) demand for cellular services in Iraq, we have mostly benchmarked with the example of Lebanon in front of us. Naturally, what is needed in Iraq is not just cellular services. Reliable data infrastructure and fixed services is sourly needed in Iraq to enable the development of a strong financial system to be a strong pillar in economic development. A new comprehensive country report, “Iraq Telecommunications Market Status Report 2003” was released by the Arab Advisors Group’s ( on July 27th, 2003. The 36-pages report includes 21 exhibits that fully cover existing and pre-occupation communications situation in the country. This comprehensive report can be purchased from Arab Advisors Group for only US$ 1,500. Any investment in this report will count towards a Strategic Research Service subscription should the service be acquired within three months from purchasing the report. The report’s Table of Contents can be obtained by contacting the Arab Advisors Group. This report has five major sections. An introduction in section I that is followed by market indicators in Section II. In section III, the Arab Advisors Group discusses the existing regulatory system in Iraq and the upcoming cellular licenses in the country. Guided by telecom usage trends from the telecoms infrastructure before the occupation, Arab Advisors Group presents projections on the uptake of cellular services in Iraq in the coming 2 years including subscriber numbers, projected ARPU levels and revenues and well as projected minutes of usage. In Section IV, the report presents a thorough picture of the situation of Iraq’s telecommunications market before the war. Finally, in section V the report presents full yet concise demographic, economic and geographic background on the country. The RFPs leaves the issue of cellular technology for the bidders to choose from. The license tender requirements state that operators will be granted a license to utilize frequencies in the 800 and 900 and 1800 and 1900 MHz bands. The Arab Advisors Group believes that most bidders will choose to deploy GSM, which is the region’s prevailing technology and the choice of the bidding operators. Nonetheless, we expect some bidders (a minority) to propose CDMA standards and even Motorola’s iDEN technology which is used by NEXTEL in America. The Arab Advisors Group’s team of analysts in the region has already produced more than 170 reports on the Arab World’s communications markets. The reports can be purchased individually or received through an annual subscription to Arab Advisors Group’s ( Strategic Research Service. To date, Arab Advisors Group has served more than 100 global and regional companies by providing reliable research analysis and forecasts of Arab communications markets to these clients.

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