Mobile operator Zain Iraq, a subsidiary of Kuwaiti telecoms group Zain, expects to sign up between 15,000 and 18,000 new cellular users a month after commencing services in Kurdistan, the firm’s chief executive, Emad Makiya, said in an interview with Reuters. According to the executive, initial operations began in Iraq's northern Kurdish region last October, although an official launch will take place in the first quarter of 2011.
Makiya said that total subscribers for 2011 are expected to increase by around one million from roughly twelve million users at 31 December 2010. In terms of revenue, Zain Iraq expects its 2010 turnover will be around 10% higher than 2009’s USD1.34 billion, whilst 2011 sales are expected to rise even higher: ‘The plan is to be 16%-17% above what we have done last year  as far as the revenue [goes],’ Makiya said.
Priorities for 2011 include the launch of 3G services in Iraq (following regulatory approval), and the introduction of a pre-paid option for RIM’s BlackBerry handset. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that Zain Iraq is the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, with a market share of 51.7% at 30 September 2010, followed by Asiacell (34.8%), Korek Telecom (11.2%) and SanaTel (2.3%).