Regional Telecom, a hitherto unknown operator based in in Northern Iraq, has announced that it has hired French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent to launch the country’s first 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. As part of the deployment, Alca-Lu will provide an end-to-end solution, including base stations, IP mobile backhaul for both LTE and existing 3G CDMA traffic, Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and elements of its platforms, which will allow Regional Telecom to introduce ‘a rich portfolio of advanced IP-based services’.
Kawa Junad, chairman of Regional Telecom, commented: ‘Broadband services are the lifeblood of the modern digital economy, but Iraq has been without widely available broadband for more than a decade, in effect cutting off the country, our businesses and our citizens from the rest of the world. The introduction of 4G LTE services in Northern Iraq promises to change that, making a significant contribution to the country’s efforts to rejoin the global community’.
While details regarding Regional Telecom’s background remain sketchy, it is assumed that the company is based in the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan zone (also known as ‘Kurdistan Region’), which had its long-term status as a federal entity of Iraq re-confirmed in the 2005 constitution. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, locally owned Mobitel became the first and to date only licensed 3G operator in Iraq, when it launched commercial 3G services in February 2007. Mobitel is answerable not to the Communications and Media Commission (CMC), but to the Kurdish regulator, the Ministry of Communications (MoC KRG).