The Iraqi regulator has fined two of the country’s three mobile operators for failing to meet last year’s deadline for listing on the local stock exchange, reports Reuters.
According to Ahmed Alomary, commissioner of Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission (CMC), Asiacell has been fined US$8,500 per day going back to September 1, 2011 (about US$2.55 million to date), while third-placed Korek Telecom has been fined US$2,500 per day. The decision on whether to fine market-leader Zain, which has also yet to list, is apparently still under discussion.
Alomary told Reuters that the fines have been approved by CMC and the two operators will be informed today.
The three firms acquired 15-year licences for US$1.25 billion each in 2007. Under the terms of the licences, all three were required to list on the Iraq Stock Exchange by August 2011 though none have done so, believing the relatively new exchange was ill-equipped to handle the IPOs.
According to the latest Wireless Intelligence data, Asiacell – majority owned by Qtel – had 9.4 million mobile connections in Q1, giving it a 37 per cent market share, behind market-leader Zain (50 per cent) and ahead of third-placed Korek Telecom (13 per cent), a France Telecom affiliate.