Iraq's Korek picks Nokia Siemens for mobile broadband

Iraq's Korek Telecom has selected Nokia Siemens Networks as its network partner as it prepares to launch mobile broadband services to improve on its existing GPRS and EDGE offerings.

"We wanted to provide better internet experience and improved voice call services for our customers in Iraq," Korek CEO Ghada Gebara said in a statement. "With Nokia Siemens Networks' advanced radio and core network technology, we will soon be able to introduce high-speed mobile broadband and enhanced voice services to our customers in southern Iraq."

However, while it readies its network for mobile broadband it seems that Korek has yet to receive a 3G licence. A Reuters article from March 2012 said the operator was still waiting for the government to release the necessary spectrum and it seems that nothing has been reported on the issue since.

Furthermore, Korek, in which Orange owns a stake, and rival Zain Iraq are due to sell shares as a requirement of their mobile licences awarded in 2007. Ooredoo-owned Asiacell met its requirement to sell shares by listing on the stock market in February.

For now, Korek is hedging its bets by deploying equipment from NSN that will support 2G and 3G/HSPA services and will also be "LTE ready" for when that time comes.

According to a report in TeleGeography in February, locally owned Mobitel became the first, and to date only, licensed 3G operator in Iraq when it launched commercial 3G services in February 2007. Iraq also has its first LTE operator in the form of Regional Telecom, an operator based in northern Iraq. Alcatel-Lucent was picked as the network provider in this instance.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article
- see this TeleGeography article

Related Articles:
Vodafone nears Middle East partnership deal with Zain
France Telecom invests €175M in Iraqi operator Korek
FT Orange eyes Iraq acquisition
FT Orange eyes MEA deals, invests $630M in Orange Switzerland
Iraq awards three telecom licenses for $1.25B each

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