Zain Iraq, the local subsidiary of neighbouring Kuwait’s cellular giant Zain, has said it will expand its network coverage to the whole of Iraq by the end of 2008, according to Reuters. The Zain Group acquired rival cellco Iraqna from Egyptian group Orascom late last year for USD1.2 billion, and is in the process of consolidating the two Iraqi networks. Ali Dahwi, CEO of Zain Iraq, said, ‘We have 7.5 million subscribers in the centre and the south of the country. However, we just opened a new service in Kirkuk and we are building our network in Diyala, Tikrit, Anbar and Sulaimaniya. Over the next two months, we will see our service set up in these areas and by the end of the year we should cover the whole of Iraq.’
Zain bought Iraqna late last year after the Egyptian-owned operator failed to win a licence to continue the operations it began after the US-led invasion of 2003. Iraqna had been forced to tie up with Kurdish operator Korek Telecom, which had won a concession, but was sold to Zain after the partnership failed.