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Vodafone and Kuwaiti partner get the nod for second Iraqi network

Reconstruction continues
Written by Tony Hallett, Contributor

Reconstruction continues

Iraq is getting its second mobile phone network, this time from MTC, the Kuwaiti carrier that is a partner of Vodafone. As with Iraq's first post-war network - surprisingly awarded to US-based MCI, formerly WorldCom and a company with little experience in mobile - the communications system will be based on GSM, the most common cellular standard globally. The MTC-Vodafone roll out was given the go-ahead by the Joint Communications Authority Board Iraq and the UK Ministry of Defence. It will mainly cover southern Iraq. MCI's network for now focuses on the more central Baghdad area. GSM Association CEO Rob Conway said in a statement: "GSM is uniquely placed to aid Iraq's reintegration into the regional and global economies." An argument over which technology would be best suited for the reconstruction of the country arose in March when US Congressman Darrell Issa backed the CDMA cellular standard, as developed by San Diego-based Qualcomm. His anti-European rhetoric and revelations of his minor funding by Qualcomm - who are headquartered in his constituency - proved embarrassing for the company at the time. One source told silicon.com that a CDMA network - in all likelihood supplied by one of the big equipment manufacturers - would have been a possibility until the poorly timed and directed comments. Most neighbouring Middle Eastern countries have well developed GSM-based networks.
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