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Iraq Telecommunications Report Q4 2013 - New Market Report

New Fixed Networks market report from Business Monitor International: "Iraq Telecommunications Report Q4 2013"


Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/22/2013 -- The Iraqi mobile sector recorded double-digit growth over the 12 months to June 2013. This supports our outlook for continued subscriptions growth during our five-year forecast period ending 2017, driven by network expansion to underserved areas and relatively strong private consumption. However, we caution that an uptick in sectarian violence in 2013 poses a downside risk to our outlook, as operators are likely to reassess their long-term investment strategies. Another potential risk to our outlook is the likelihood for operators to focus on the deployment of advanced data services in urban areas, opposed to continued rural expansion, following the expected award of 3G concessions. Although growth in the fixed telephony and data sectors remains stifled, we expect the timely implementation of various network infrastructure investment plans by the government to boost future growth.

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Key Data

- The mobile market grew by 13.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) in Q213We forecast the sector to grow by an average of 6.1% per annum between 2013 and 2017.
- Zain Iraq and Asiacell have reported a drop in ARPU after relative stability. However, we envisage ARPU to trend lower due to competition and operators' inability to offer advanced data services.
- Iraq has one of the lowest fixed-line and broadband penetration rates in the region, at 5.6% at the end of 2012, and we do not expect the situation to improve significantly through to 2017. We forecast the penetration rates to reach 5.1% by the end of our forecast period.

Risk/Reward Ratings

Iraq remains in eighth position in BMI's MENA Telecoms Risk/Reward Ratings (RRRs), with a telecoms rating score of 51.3. We forecast Iraq's economy to expand by 11.5% and 14.9% in real terms in 2013 and 2014 respectively, mainly as a result of strong growth in oil exports. However, the increasing political instability and sectarian violence pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook.

Key Trends And Developments

In September 2013, Tishkent, a WiMAX operator based in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, selected Ericsson to deploy a Time Division Duplex Long Term Evolution (TDD-LTE) network in northeastern Kurdistan. The deployment will include RBS 6000 base transceiver stations (BTS) and Ericsson's Evolved Packet Core network. The Kurdistan Region is one of the country's most active business hubs and will benefit from the service. It is worth noting that Regional Telecom, a telecoms service provider operating in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, launched commercial LTE services under the Fastlink brand in June 2013.

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