Iraq’s Telecoms 3G Upgrade to Boost Economy
|May 9, 2014||Filled under Iraq Business News|
Iraq Business News -
Enabling Iraq’s telecoms operators to upgrade their networks from second generation (2G) to 3G will lead to faster economic development, said a senior official from the GSM Association, a conglomerate of mobile operators, the National reported.
It is, however, unclear when the switch will be made, given the ongoing upheaval surrounding the elections.
Iraq’s council of ministers agreed on Monday to allow the operators to provide 3G services instead of going ahead with its plans to hold auctions for the licenses, which it hoped would attract foreign operators.
“This is an opportunity for the Iraqi government to show governance and real progress. You have a country which 30 years ago led the Middle East in terms of development and education,” said Peter Lyons, the head of Middle East and North Africa at GSMA. “There is so much residual potential of the people, but right now there is too much focus on the potential of what is underground. The people need some kind of platform to connect with each other and to the outside world.”
Opening up internet services and introducing mobile broadband could increase Iraq’s GDP by 3.7 per cent by 2025 as well as help to create more than half a million new jobs, according to a joint report from Boston Consulting Group and GSMA.
“With the elections ongoing at the moment, nothing will be ratified,” said Philip Shepherd, a partner at PwC. “That said, pent-up demand in Iraq is enormous. Other equivalent countries across the region saw immediate uptake of 3G. There are a lot of [3G-enabled] devices already in the market.”
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