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Iraq May Seek High Prices for Additional Radio Spectrum

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Iraq's three mobile networks could be asked to pay at least USD1 billion, and potentially as much as USD2 billion each to secure additional radio spectrum for 3G services, a Parliamentary committee has recommended.

The three networks paid USD1.25 billion for their mobile licenses in 2007. The licenses are technology neutral, but the radio spectrum does not include the conventional 2100Mhz spectrum used by many 3G networks.

"For the price we have already paid, we should get the frequencies for free or for a minimal fee as was recently done in Morocco," said Ghada Gebara, the chief executive of Korek Telecom. "If the issue of frequency allocation is not solved on cost and quality, then 3G will not be possible."

The three networks may have additional funds for the licenses next year, as they are all required to list their shares on the local stockmarket as a condition of their existing licenses.

There has been concern though that the stockmarket is not capable of handing such large listings and all three networks have missed their original deadlines to list shares.

On the web: The National

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Tags: Iraq