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New year, new numbers

Happy new year to all, and welcome to the place to be for those all-important telecoms snippets in 2009.

First up, a quick post with some useful stats.

Iraqi mobile operator Asiacell announced today that it has reached the 6 million subscriber mark, failing to meet its own target by the slimmest of margins.

In June 2008 the telco revealed plans to invest $1 billion in its Iraq mobile operations and said it would reach 6 million customers by the end of the year. At the time its customer base stood at 5 million.

Asiacell was one of three companies to emerge victorious from Iraq's mobile licensing competition in August 2007. The company - owned by Kuwait's Wataniya Telecom, which was itself taken over by Qatari incumbent Qtel in March last year – paid $1.25 billion for its 15-year GSM licence, as did Kuwait's MTC (since rebranded Zain) and existing northern Iraqi player Korek Telecom.

Asiacell does not have the largest presence in the growing Iraqi market though.

According to its latest figures, Zain had 8.52 million active customers in Iraq as of 30 September last year.

There are no figures available for Korek Telecom, although its coverage is thought to be poor. Indeed, all three players face censure from the country's ministry of communications for failure to meet the coverage requirements specified under their licences, it emerged late last year.
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