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Zain inks USD650 million Iraq network deal with Ericsson

24 Nov 2011

Kuwaiti telecoms firm Zain Group has announced the signing of a USD650 million network outsourcing agreement between its Iraqi unit and Swedish equipment supplier Ericsson. Under the five-year agreement, Ericsson and local partner SIM (Service in Motion) will optimise, modernise and manage IT operations and Zain Iraq’s wireless network, which currently comprises more than 3,700 sites across the country. The deal also extends to the northern region of Kurdistan where Zain has recently launched commercial services and is expanding to meet customer demand. In Ericsson’s first major managed services agreement in Iraq, the vendor will replace and upgrade Zain’s network by introducing a single-RAN (Radio Access Network) platform, helping the operator to launch and support 3G technology, and improve its customer experience. ‘Through this agreement, Zain in Iraq will be better positioned to support the evolution and growth of the Iraqi telecommunication industry,’ commented Mr Nabeel Bin Salamah, Zain Group’s CEO, adding: ‘Zain Group’s investment in Iraq since the launch of commercial services in 2003 and the subsequent development of the country’s largest mobile network has exceeded USD4.5 billion and we will do our utmost in ensuring that all Iraqis receive the urgently-needed quality mobile telecommunication services they deserve.’

The agreement is expected to enhance Zain’s competitiveness in the Iraqi market, as well as improve network efficiency, reduce operating costs and optimise the Kuwait-based firm’s investment in the country. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that Zain Iraq was the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers at the end of September 2011, with a total of 12.413 million users (a market share of 51.1%), followed by Asiacell, which is part-owned by Qatar Telecom (Qtel), with 35.9% of the market and Korek, part-owned by France Telecom, with 11.5% and Kurdish operator SanaTel (1.5%).

Iraq, Ericsson, Zain Iraq

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