Iraqi cellco Asia-Cell has launched services in the Kurdish city of Arbil. Spokesman Abdullah Hassan said, ‘We will start our services in Arbil…and the company’s subscribers in Iraq have reached three and a half million since its establishment.’ Asia-Cell was originally licensed in 2003 to operate in the northern region, and in August this year it won one of three nationwide licenses at an auction held in Amman, the Jordanian capital. The cost of the concession was USD1.25 billion. It is Asia-Cell’s first foray into the Kurdistan region, where the main providers are Korek Telecom, which also won a nationwide license in August, and Sana Tel, owned by the Halabja Group. The third national concessionaire, Kuwaiti-backed MTC Atheer, has said it intends to start offering mobile services in Kurdistan before 2008. ‘We started working in Kirkuk, [and] we are in the experimental period in Mosul. The company will launch services in Kurdistan by the end of the year,’ said Atheer PR Officer Ussama Batti.