[cellular news] Iraq's government has approved plans to offer a fourth mobile operators license, local news media has reported. Hiam Al Yasiri, an adviser to Iraq's communications minister, said that 15 firms had expressed interest in the license since it was first proposed last year.
Full details of the tender are still to be announced, although the advisor said that a bidder will own 65% of the company, with the remainder held by the government as part of the deal and that the license would call for full nationwide coverage.
The government has been increasingly frustrated by what it says is poor service from the existing three networks - although they cite the difficult security situation and repeated attacks on their networks as a primary cause.
"We want the next investor to not have a number of excuses for limited or bad services." said Yasiri, without expanding on how the problems cited by the incumbents can be prevented from impacting a fourth network.
Both France Telecom and Etisalat are said to be in talks to take a stake in the smallest Iraqi operator, Korek Telecom, although the availability of an independent license may prove more alluring to the bidders.
The country has three operators, Zain, Asiacell and Korek Telecom.
Iraq Confirms Plans for 4th Mobile Network License