Iraqi Communications News


Agents of Change: the Opportunity for Tech in Iraq

IBBC Tech Conference

Sunday 25 November

The Address, Dubai Marina

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) is bringing together the leading companies involved in Tech in Iraq to discuss the various strands of Tech and the evident possibilities for investment and engagement.

Interest in Tech in Iraq is rising rapidly, with a growing number of start-up hubs and University Entrepreneur Platforms, and especially within financial services as payments and transactions are increasingly automated.

IBBC wants to encourage development of the Tech sector in Iraq as a means to modernise the economy, provide new services for Business, Government and Consumer sectors, to support Education, Health, Finance and Energy sectors, and encourage jobs and activity for young people.

The Tech Conference will focus on three key areas of business opportunity:

  • The Start-up Economy
  • E-Government & Citizen
  • FinTech

Lead participants include Khudairi Group, Restrata Group, EY, Citi, Avaya, KRG Information Technology Department, Microsoft and SAP with more to be confirmed soon.

Register Here

Ashley Goodall of IBBC says:

“Tech industry is capable of rapid development, not only among young people, but also through investors and companies. We have witnessed London’s rise to be Europe’s lead tech destination in just 8 years and IBBC expect the opportunities in Iraq to take off similarly, as the country modernises and evolves educational and job opportunities for young people.”

IBBC is calling for more people and companies to invest into Iraq’ start-ups and to establish their businesses in the country. Attend our conference, free of charge, to hear about the unique opportunities on offer and the exciting new developments in the Tech Sector in Iraq.

The Tech Conference takes place in the Address Hotel, Dubai on Sunday 25th November from 2pm.

For more information please contact IBBC here –

https://www.iraqbritainbusinesscouncil.org/tech-conference

Media contact: Ashley.goodall@webuildiraq.org , London@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

Agents of Change: the Opportunity for Tech in Iraq

IBBC Tech Conference

Sunday 25 November

The Address, Dubai Marina

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) is bringing together the leading companies involved in Tech in Iraq to discuss the various strands of Tech and the evident possibilities for investment and engagement.

Interest in Tech in Iraq is rising rapidly, with a growing number of start-up hubs and University Entrepreneur Platforms, and especially within financial services as payments and transactions are increasingly automated.

IBBC wants to encourage development of the Tech sector in Iraq as a means to modernise the economy, provide new services for Business, Government and Consumer sectors, to support Education, Health, Finance and Energy sectors, and encourage jobs and activity for young people.

The Tech Conference will focus on three key areas of business opportunity:

  • The Start-up Economy
  • E-Government & Citizen
  • FinTech

Lead participants include Khudairi Group, Restrata Group, EY, Citi, Avaya, KRG Information Technology Department, Microsoft and SAP with more to be confirmed soon.

Register Here

Ashley Goodall of IBBC says:

“Tech industry is capable of rapid development, not only among young people, but also through investors and companies. We have witnessed London’s rise to be Europe’s lead tech destination in just 8 years and IBBC expect the opportunities in Iraq to take off similarly, as the country modernises and evolves educational and job opportunities for young people.”

IBBC is calling for more people and companies to invest into Iraq’ start-ups and to establish their businesses in the country. Attend our conference, free of charge, to hear about the unique opportunities on offer and the exciting new developments in the Tech Sector in Iraq.

The Tech Conference takes place in the Address Hotel, Dubai on Sunday 25th November from 2pm.

For more information please contact IBBC here –

https://www.iraqbritainbusinesscouncil.org/tech-conference

Media contact: Ashley.goodall@webuildiraq.org , London@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

Asiacell Iraq Grows Revenues

By John Lee.

Asiacell Iraq has benefitted from improvements in the security and economic situation in the country, according to its parent, the Qatari company Ooredoo.

In its results for the first nine months of 2018, the company said:

With more areas liberated and network restoration underway, Asiacell reported a 3% increase in Revenue to QAR 3.5 billion at 9M 2018, compared to the same period last year.

“EBITDA was up 8% to QAR 1.6 billion, growing at a faster rate than revenue and reflecting good efficiency management.

Customer base increased 6% to 13.3 million customers for the 9M 2018 period, and Asiacell received the prestigious CARE award for its excellence in customer care service.”

(Source: Ooredoo)

(Picture: Faruk Mustafa Rasool, Chairman of Asiacell)

Comtech wins $9m Contract with Iraqi Navy

Comtech Telecommunications Corp. (Nasdaq: CMTL) announced on Monday that during its first quarter of fiscal 2019, its Orlando, Florida-based subsidiary, Comtech Systems, Inc., which is part of Comtech’s Government Solutions segment, has received a $9.1 million sole-sourced contract from The Program Executive Office (PEO) Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I), International C4I Integration Program Office (PMW 740), to supply equipment and services in support of an existing C4I Surveillance and Reconnaissance Maritime Surveillance System owned by the Iraqi Navy.

Comtech will be supplying thermal imaging radar in conjunction with Comtech’s advanced digital troposcatter communications systems and backhaul microwave terminals. The communications network will provide radar and sensor data to an existing Command and Control facility.

In commenting on this important award, Fred Kornberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of Comtech Telecommunications Corp., stated:

“I am excited to be able to announce this important contract with a new foreign government end customer. While the sales cycles for opportunities of this type are long, this win is further evidence that demand for troposcatter equipment around the world is growing. We look forward to working with the U.S. FMS and Iraqi Navy on this and future opportunities.”

Comtech Systems, Inc. (www.comtechsystems.com) specializes in system design, integration, supply and commissioning of turnkey communication systems including over-the-horizon microwave, line-of-sight microwave and satellite.

Comtech Telecommunications Corp. designs, develops, produces and markets innovative products, systems and services for advanced communications solutions. The Company sells products to a diverse customer base in the global commercial and government communications markets.

Certain information in this press release contains statements that are forward-looking in nature and involve certain significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from such forward-looking information. The Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings identify many such risks and uncertainties. Any forward-looking information in this press release is qualified in its entirety by the risks and uncertainties described in such Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

(Source: Comtech)

Ericsson, Zain bring Education Initiative to Iraq

In an effort to make quality secondary education more accessible in Iraq, Ericsson has partnered with Zain Iraq to bring its ‘Connect to Learn’ global education initiative to the country, with its initial deployment set for a school in Baghdad.

The initiative aims to scale up quality secondary education for students and teachers by providing ICT infrastructure with mobile broadband, open source, and cloud-hosted learning solutions to facilitate connected learning in underserved schools.

Ali Al Zahid, CEO, Zain Iraq, says:

Education is one of the most valuable investments we can make in society, and in our future. It is a universal human right – and in the digital era, where ICT has the ability to reach every corner of the globe, there is no excuse for quality secondary education to be inaccessible.

“By partnering with Ericsson to bring ‘Connect to Learn’ to schools in Iraq, we are uplifting our communities and empowering them to reach their full potential. We look forward to introducing this initiative in Baghdad and watching it unfold as we move forward.

With the modern technology and solutions offered through ‘Connect to Learn’, ICT solutions become a cost-effective method for rural and limited-resource schools as a means of delivering quality education for students and teachers alike.

Cloud technology enables support and maintenances tasks to be handled externally and remotely, which simplifies the user experience and enables teachers to focus on education. The system is also designed to be easily used and understood by teachers with limited IT competence, inspiring confidence and capability in them as educators.

Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, Ericsson says:

When a girl receives quality education, she will earn a decent living, raise a healthy, educated family, and improve the quality of life for herself, her family, and her community.  The ‘Connect to learn’ initiative aims to ensure that girls have access to quality education, regardless of their location or other limitations.  

“We look forward to continue working with Zain Iraq to leverage our technology and the expertise of our employees to make a positive impact in Iraq.

 The ‘Connect to Learn’ initiative was launched in 2010 and is currently deployed in 25 countries, benefitting more than 120,000 students and engaging 16 mobile operators.

(Source: Ericsson)

New Satellite Broadband Service for Iraq

A new low-cost satellite broadband service will be launched across Iraq and Afghanistan as Belgium’s SatADSL, a provider of professional VSAT services via satellite, and UK-based Talia agreed to expand their long-term partnership.

The two companies’ current agreement lets SatADSL link directly to Talia’s teleport to provide services across the whole of Africa, with Talia’s equipment providing high performance and low-cost per megabit. Under the new deal, SatADSL will also be able to access Talia’s new platform in Jordan Media City, enabling it to offer Ka-band services across Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We are taking our relationship with Talia to the next level by using its facilities to offer our innovative services across Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Caroline De Vos, Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer at SatADSL. “The use of Ka-band High Throughput Satellite capacity, combined with Talia’s equipment means the services we provide can be quickly and easily installed by users and offered at an extremely competitive price, taking a significant step towards bridging the digital divide.”

By connecting its Cloud-based Service Delivery Platform (C-SDP) to Talia’s hub, SatADSL will be able to offer the full range of services available on its platform in Iraq and Afghanistan, including vouchers, VNOFlex, Wi-Fi Hotspots, etc. The C-SDP is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution which enables operators to deliver a full range of satellite-based connectivity services without investing in physical infrastructure. SatADSL expects to have worldwide coverage by the end of the year, further expanding the reach of its C-SDP.

To enable connectivity, Talia uses capacity on the Arabsat 5C Ka-band satellite, located at 20o East. Talia is offering its services based on the Newtec Dialog® multiservice platform which features small VSAT antennas (75cm) on the remote site to create a new lower price point for Internet access and innovative setup guides for self-installation via a smartphone app. A variety of Newtec’s broadband satellite modems have also been deployed, supporting different bandwidth allocations to ensure optimal bandwidth usage. This includes Newtec’s dynamic Mx-DMA technology to achieve the efficiency of SCPC with the dynamic bandwidth allocation of MF-TDMA.

“We see this next chapter with SatADSL as building upon what has so far been a hugely successful partnership in Africa, enabling many developing countries to have access to affordable fast satellite Internet,” said Jack Buechler, VP Business Development at Talia. “Just as in Africa, the services which SatADSL will provide in Afghanistan and Iraq, using our infrastructure will help bridge the digital and economical divide and transform societies for the better.”

(Source: Talia)

Ericsson wins New Contract with Zain Iraq

Zain Iraq has selected Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) to modernize a number of its legacy sites with Ericsson Radio System in a contract signed recently that serves to strengthen the partnership of the two companies.

Under the terms of the deal, Ericsson will reinforce its role as a trusted business partner by providing higher capacity and improving network performance.

In an effort to accelerate digitalization in the region, Zain Iraq and Ericsson are enabling rapid deployment of innovative services in the Internet of Things (IoT) in the coming years. The partnership will also ensure seamless 4G and 5G evolution across Zain’s networks

Ali Al Zahid, Zain Iraq Chief Executive Officer, says:

“Zain is committed to bringing the latest technology and cutting-edge services to its customers.  Upgrading current networks with the latest technology to cater for increasing traffic volumes and enhanced customer experience is a key priority. It also reflects our commitment to providing the mobile community in Iraq with the highest quality of service available.”

In addition to consumer services, security and energy companies are some of several industries starting their own digital transformations. Ericsson Radio System offers far more than the benefit of capacity building and performance, it also provides high bandwidth for content-rich applications.

Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Market Area Middle East and Africa, says:

“I am glad that we continue a good cooperation with our long-term partner Zain.  This new contract will accelerate Zain’s digital journey and build its digital infrastructure with the introduction of new services and virtual functions.  This will enable Zain to deliver the best possible user experience in two major cities in Iraq and meet the data demands of tomorrow in a timely manner.”

Zain Iraq and Ericsson are pioneering the use of next-generation networks with the anticipated increase in data traffic as IoT promises new capabilities and use cases.

Network modernization and adoption of new technologies are essential to meeting users’ demand for capacity and coverage. Modernizing the network infrastructure of Zain Iraq’s network services will not only improve end-user experience through increased capacity, but also accommodate future needs.

(Source: Ericsson)

Zain Iraq Performs “Exceptionally Well” in 1H-2018

By John Lee.

Zain Iraq performed “exceptionally well” in H1 2018 when compared to H1 2017 with revenues reaching USD 558 million, a 7% increase Y-o-Y and EBITDA reached USD 194 million, up 8% reflecting an EBITDA margin of 35%.

According to a statement from the company, the operation reported a net profit of USD 18 million, up 66% on the USD 11 million profit recorded for H1 2017.

The expansion of 3.9G services across the country and restoration of sites in the West and North of the country, combined with numerous customer acquisition initiatives, especially in core regions, resulted in an impressive addition of 1.9 million customers (15% increase) to reach 14.7 million.

Also contributing to the operation’s financial revival was the significant growth of data revenues, robust growth in the Enterprise (B2B) segment and the revamping of its call centers significantly improving customer service.

(Source: Zain)

(Pictured: Bader Al-Kharafi, Vice-Chairman and Group CEO)

Internet Shuts Down, Fake News Blossoms

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

By Mustafa Habib.

Iraqi Internet Shuts Down, Fake News Blossoms During Information Blackout

When it came to disinformation, shutting down the Internet to prevent protests in Iraq may have backfired. Iraqis get most of their information from social media and there was none, so false reports circulated wildly.

On June 14, the Iraqi government shut down the Internet in an effort to try and prevent the spread of anti-government protests. The demonstrations, which called for better state services, power and water, had spread from the southern city of Basra to nine other provinces, including Baghdad. And clearly the government wanted to prevent them from going any further.

For the past few years, these types of protests have broken out every summer. In stifling heat rising to 50 degrees Celsius, the lack of power to refrigerate foods or keep houses cool and the fact that water coming out of the taps is salty, is enough to drive Iraqis to protest. But these demonstrations spread further than previous years.

And one imagines that the Iraqi government was trying to prevent the spread of information about the protests, in order to contain them. They are able to block the Internet thanks to the fact that most of infrastructure used for relaying the Internet is government-owned.

However the Internet blockage seemed to only frustrate Iraqis further. Locals here rely heavily on social media to get their news; they tend not to trust local media, believing it to be partisan or funded by interested parties who push their own agenda. What friends and relatives post on Facebook has become a major and important source of information – and when the Internet is down they obviously cannot access this.

So locals found themselves watching TV to get more information about the protests or resorting to VPN – virtual private networks – to access the online world. Iraqis have become accustomed to using this kind of software when the government shuts down, or throttles the Internet here, but as digital privacy experts point out, these too can be  dangerous, especially with regard to privacy.

Clearly Iraqis right around the country were interested to know more about the protests. But pictures and videos were hard to come by, given the Internet shutdown. This led dozens of Facebook pages, specializing in Iraqi news and current affairs, to write up stories about the protests – but as they did, they also used older pictures and videos and many ended up publishing unsubstantiated rumours.

Iraqis who sympathized with the demonstrators didn’t just publish news reports on their pages, they also uploaded pictures and videos to Facebook – some of these were real and some were not. News organisations, like NIQASH, received these kinds of items via messages from people who appeared to be private citizens; however, due to the Internet shutdown, it was difficult to verify the content that was being sent and some of it was certainly not from the current demonstrations.

In fact, as Internet-rights activist and head of the Ansam Network, Haidar Hamzouz, says, the Internet blockade may well have had the opposite of the government’s intended effect. “Shutting down the Internet is a violation of the freedom of expression,” Hamzouz told NIQASH. “And the decision to do this was not the right one – it actually contributed to the spread of false news and it also became very difficult to inform anyone that  certain items were false news.”

It seems that in Iraq, as elsewhere in the world, false reports and emotion-generating half-truths spread far faster than the truth.

Even though the government owns the public broadcaster, Iraqi Media Network, and they have huge resources, they still have not been able to stop the spread of these false reports and rumours, Hamzouz says. “We need institutions that are capable of relaying the facts and combatting fake news, rather than those who just shut down the Internet,” he argues. “Combatting fake news and untrue reports requires a change in the communal culture, one that values verification and checks sources. Unfortunately this doesn’t yet exist in Iraq,” he notes.

One of the more dangerous pieces of false news involved reports that the security forces, who were clashing with the demonstrators in the south, were actually from elsewhere, and more specifically from Anbar and Mosul. The message was that Sunni Muslim soldiers – who mainly come from central and northern Iraq – were abusing Shiite Muslim protestors, who mainly live in southern Iraq. It was clearly a report aimed at fuelling sectarian conflict.

“It is so unfortunate that this news incited hatred against us,” says Ali al-Rubaie, a police captain based in Rustafa, Baghdad. “The members of the security forces who were deployed to the protests were actually residents from the same cities. Each province has its own police and counter-terrorism forces. It would be impossible to do that job with troops from outside of the provinces in which the protests occurred,” he argues.

Additionally when the protests first started, news that the demonstrators were clashing with Iraqi security forces spread fast. But given the internet blockade, it was difficult to find pictures from incidents. One picture that was shared many times shows an Iraqi soldier pointing his gun at an unarmed civilian lying on the ground. However the picture was actually taken during a military training exercise in 2014, organized for a military training graduation ceremony in Karbala.

Another dangerous piece of news had Talib Shaghati, the head of Iraq’s special forces troops, commenting on the clashes between the demonstrators and the security forces. “This is not our battle and we will not stain our hands with the blood of our sons and brothers for the sake of some corrupt officials,” Shaghati was alleged to have said in a  statement that was widely circulated on social media.

The same report said that Shaghati  had been asked to send his troops to the protests but he had refused, and that he had asked the government to listen to the demonstrators’ demands before it was too late. Thousands of Iraqis believed this report and some even said that there should be a military coup because it was clear that the protests had no impact on the government, and the military were on the protestors’ side.

The US was not coming to the rescue either: One report said that US president Donald Trump had said his government was keeping a close eye on the protests in Iraq. This was followed by video footage of two military divisions landing at Baghdad airport. None of this was true: The video was an old one.

Saudi Arabia was not coming to the rescue either. As the protest movement gained momentum, its critics were divided. Some said Iran was behind the protests because the neighbouring nation was going to stop supplying power to Iraq. Others said Saudi Arabia was at fault and was pushing people to demonstrate in order to cause chaos in Iraq.

One of the obviously false reports was started by a page on Facebook called Saudi News. It said that Saudi Arabia’s ruling monarch had ordered water lines and electricity transmission lines to be built urgently for the southern parts of Iraq. The report spread quickly throughout Iraqi social media despite its fanciful nature.