Friday, August 26, 2005

A Killer Deal? Iraq's Carrier Licenses Up for Grabs

InformationWeek reports that potentially lucrative yet hazardous licenses to operate cell phone businesses in Iraq are up for grabs. According to the article,the licenses for the country's "three cell phone companies are running out and potential new operators are assembling in the United Kingdom this week to sort out the risks and rewards involved."

Jonas Lindblad of Pyramid Research said, "You can actually make handsome returns in Iraq despite the risks. There's a lot of money chasing around a few deals in the [Middle East] region. In one way or another, they are linked to oil money."

"This is a very rare occurrence--three brand new, fresh licenses," he added.

Lindblad noted that equipment suppliers will especially be interested since "Iraq's cell phone infrastructure is scheduled for a massive build out." As for the risks involved, Linblad doesn't mince words. "Any new operators would have to bring in their own people. Some will get killed. The major issue is still security," he commented.