Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission (CMC) has confirmed that it plans to fine mobile operators Asiacell, which is owned by Qatar Telecom, and Korek Telecom (co-owned by France Telecom-Orange and local logistics company Agility) for their respective failures to list on the Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX), as per the conditions of their operating licences. Reuters reports that the watchdog will fine Asiacell USD8,500 a day since 1 September 2011, whilst Korek will face a smaller penalty of USD2,500 per day.
CMC commissioner Ahmed Alomary told Reuters: ‘The hearing committee made the decision six days ago. Today it was approved and it will be sent to the operators by tomorrow’. He added that the committee has yet to make a decision on the country’s third mobile phone firm operator Zain Iraq, although no reason has been provided to explain it escaping the punishments meted out to its rivals. Alomary confirmed that the two companies would be able to appeal the decision, although neither has commented thus far.
Earlier this week Zain, the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, confirmed that it has invested around USD20 million in its proposed listing on the local stock exchange, appointing BNP Paribas, Citigroup and the National Bank of Kuwait to handle its offering. Emad Makiya, CEO of Zain Iraq, commented: ‘We have invested a lot of money. We have invested over USD20 million in this. We have hired lawyers, we have brought [in] bankers. There are so many processes involved, so many things. It is not as easy as you think’. It remains unclear whether Zain’s efforts in this area to date have helped to keep the CMC at bay.