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Cellcos criticise plans to license fourth mobile operator

12 Nov 2009

The Iraqi Ministry of Communications’ (MoC’s) plans to launch a fourth government-backed national mobile operator have met with criticism from the country’s cellcos, despite assurances that it would be subject to the same constraints as existing telecoms providers, reports. The country’s former minister of communications, Mohammed Tawfik Allawi, announced at the Iraq Telecoms conference in London that as stipulated by the draft communications law, licence fees and revenue sharing with the regulator, the Communications and Media Commission (CMC), must be the same as with existing mobile operators in order to avoid one company gaining an unfair advantage. Nevertheless, mobile operators reportedly expressed concerns that the MoC already owns incumbent telco Iraq Telecommunications and Post Company (ITPC), and would rather a bidding process take place. Allawi also spoke about the country’s draft communications law, stating that the new legislation has not yet been passed due to delays from both the parliament and the ministry of justice. He added: ‘We are now left with one final chance to pass the law in December this year, otherwise we will have to wait until after the coming general election.’

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