Licensing regulations finally overhauled in Iraq

The Iraqi government has unveiled new licensing plans for the country's cellular operators, a move that is hoped to bring some confidence to the country's telecoms market.

The Iraqi government has unveiled new licensing plans for the country's cellular operators, a move that is hoped to bring some confidence to the country's telecoms market.

According to a report compiled by an Iraqi committee comprising of ministry officials and wireless executives, the three existing national mobile carriers, MTC Atheer, Iraqna and Asiacell, will all receive a fixed-term licence agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, each operator will pay at least US$250 million as a one-off fee and share 18% of its annual gross revenues with the government.

In return, the operators will each receive a 15-year licence, which is automatically renewed every five years by the National Communications and Media Commission.

Previously, the operators had their licences renewed on a temporary basis by the NCMC, an arrangement that had been introduced after their previous two-year permits authorised by the Coalition Provisional Authority expired in 2005.

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