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The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) announces a competition that will lead to the issuing of licences for the provision of mobile telecommunications services in Iraq.    The CPA will award up to 3 licences, one each for northern, central and southern regions.  A breakdown of the regions, showing the governorates that will fall within each, is set out in table 1. 


Each applicant will be required to bid for at least two regional licences to encourage broad geographic coverage.


The CPA has chosen a regional licensing approach in order to enable the rapid rollout of services to the main population centres.  The minimum rollout and coverage obligations that licence holders will be expected to meet will be set out in a Request For Proposals (RFP) that is expected to be issued in the week beginning 28 July. Proposals will be required within 14 days.  The RFP will also define conditions for the extension of the licences to full national coverage once regional rollout obligations are met, thereby providing for up to 3 competing national mobile networks.


Each license will be for 24 months.  This is considerably shorter than is normal for a mobile telecommunications license but reflects the special circumstances in Iraq.  It is believed that this period will provide operators with sufficient opportunity to recover their investment while enabling a future Iraqi Authority to take responsibility for key decisions in relation to the long-term development of the sector.


Licences will be issued following a transparent and fair competition, to be based on an assessment of best value, undertaken by the CPA and based on the Proposals received.   Further details of the competition and the conditions under which the licences will be granted, including interconnection and technical requirements, will be set out in the RFP.  It will also include detailed information about the funding, commercial and technical expertise that bidders must demonstrate.    To ensure the rapid delivery of a high quality service appropriate to the people of Iraq, the CPA wishes to attract bidders that can demonstrate within their company or consortium current experience of delivering and operating world class mobile networks.



Expressions of Interest


Companies, individuals or consortia that may wish to apply for a mobile communications licence are invited to notify their interest to the CPA at   The CPA would also welcome comments on the proposed timetable for the bidding process and the eventual build programme.


The CPA will ensure that all companies expressing an interest are provided with the RFP documentation.  Following the issuing of the RFP, the CPA will hold a conference to discuss the licensing process in more detail.





Table 1 probable geographic boundaries of each region




Governorates covered

Estimated population of major cities in region

South East

Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Dhi Qar, Maysan, An Najaf, Babil, Karbala, Wassit, Al Qadisuyah


5.3 million


Baghdad, Diyala,, Al Anbar,


6.9 million


Erbil, As Sulaymaniyah, At Ta min, Dahuk, Ninawa Salah ad Din


4.4 million

Key Criteria


        Coverage of at least the minimum specified in the RFP including major centres of population and communication routes.

        Financial viability of the bidder

        Technical capability of the bidder

        Experience of operation in the Middle East region

        Compatibility of the proposed system with the commercial, business and social needs of the people of Iraq


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