Telecommunications


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 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)

ONEm Partners with Asiacell Iraq

UK-based ONEm is partnering with Asiacell to bring unlimited news and entertainment content from Reuters to Iraq.

Asiacell subscribers can now exclusively access global news on any mobile device.

The #Reuter service provides full coverage of real time news and entertainment content in Arabic delivered by SMS.

Users interact with the #Reuter service menu by SMS and receive their chosen category of news and entertainment content from returned SMS, enjoying unlimited use of the service for 600 IQD per week.

(Source: ONEm)

IFC arranges $269m Financing for Zain Iraq

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a financing package of $269 million to Zain Iraq, a leading mobile network operator, to help reconstruct the country’s telecom operations and spur economic growth.

IFC arranged a $269 million debt package including $100 million from IFC’s own account, and $169 million in mobilization.

The mobilized amount includes a B Loan from Arab Bank, a loan through the IFC Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program, a new syndications platform that offers institutional investors the ability to passively participate in IFC’s future senior loan portfolio, and a parallel loan from DEG and Finnfund.

The financing will help Zain Iraq enhance the capacity and quality of its 3G network and expand coverage to unserved areas, as well as helping the company modernize its networks and customer service in northern Iraq.

“This financing from IFC and partners will help us strengthen our footprint, modernize infrastructure, and provide a better quality of service to our customers,” said Ali Al-Zahid, the CEO of Zain Iraq. “It will also enhance access to higher quality broadband, a key enabler of broad economic activity, for both consumers and businesses.”

Iraq is one of the least developed telecom markets in the Middle East region due to the fragile security situation, and mobile network operators have struggled to maintain their networks and have refrained from investing heavily in infrastructure.

“Supporting infrastructure development in Iraq is an essential building block of the reconstruction effort,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Restoring and enhancing broadband infrastructure can have a substantial multiplier effect on the economy through increased connectivity and reduced transaction costs, enhanced flows of information, and more efficient and effective matching of market players, among many other much needed benefits.”

By arranging and mobilizing a seven-year loan in a country where long-term financing options remain limited, IFC’s investment will support Zain Iraq’s growth plans, while sending a positive signal to domestic and international players at a critical point in the country’s recovery.

Zain Iraq has been an IFC partner since 2011, when IFC arranged a $400 million syndicated loan for the company. This included mobilization of $195 million from DEG, Proparco, FMO, and the Infrastructure Credit Facility.

(Source: IFC)

Zain Iraq posts Strong Growth in Q1

By John Lee.

Revenues at Zain Iraq reached $275 million in the first quarter of 2018, a 9-percent increase year-on-year.

EBITDA reached $96 million, up 12 percent, reflecting an EBITDA margin of 35 percent.

The operation reported a net profit of $8 million, substantially up on the $283,000 profit recorded for Q1, 2017.

The expansion of 3.9G services across the country and restoration of sites in the West and North, combined with numerous customer acquisition initiatives, especially in core regions, resulted in impressive addition of 2.2 million customers (18 percent increase) to reach 14.5 million.

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

(Source: Zain)

Asiacell Revenues Up

By John Lee.

Qatar-based Ooredoo has announced that revenue at its Asiacell subsidiary in Iraq increased 6 percent to QAR 4.5 billion, while and EBITDA increased 3 percent to QAR 2.0 billion, for the year ended 31th December 2017.

EBITDA margin was put at 44 percent.

In a statement, the company said:

A key opportunity in 2017 was restoring our network sites in the liberated areas and helping customers living there to reconnect to our services.

“As a result, Asiacell increased customer numbers by 8% to reach almost 13 million as network recovery advanced in the liberated areas in the north and west of the country.

(Source: Ooredoo)

Free Satellite Internet “Soon”

By John Lee.

Plans are reportedly progressing to launch a free ka-band satellite broadband service in Iraq in the second quarter of 2018.

UK-based Quika promises the world’s first entirely free high-speed satellite internet for consumers in developing countries.

Its free plan will be funded by paid-for services for enterprises and internet providers.

According to Engadget, the company is led by the chief of satellite provider Talia.

(Source: Engadget, Quika)

16% Growth in Zain Iraq Customer Base

By John Lee.

Despite the exceptional socio-economic circumstances coupled with the continuation of intense price competition, Zain Iraq achieved USD 811 million revenues due to the impressive growth in data usage and numerous customer acquisition initiatives in the northern regions of the country.

The operation’s efficiency drive saw EBITDA reach USD 281 million, reflecting a 35% EBITDA margin.

Net income amounted to USD 24 million for the period. Zain Iraq leads the market serving 13.7 million customers, which represented an impressive 16% Y-o-Y increase.

(Source: Zain Group)