The Iraqi Ministry of Communications seeks to develop landline phone network services and to increase the number of lines by expanding cooperation with local and foreign investors.
The ministry announced on March 16th that it would soon open bids for investment projects worth $3 billion that would provide 10 million fixed lines over the next six years.
"We hope to soon open up broad investment opportunities for the domestic private sector and foreign companies, and to create advanced partnerships with them with the aim of helping the ministry develop the communications sector in the country, especially landline services," said Minister of Communications Mohammed Allawi.
Allawi told Mawtani.com that his ministry has implemented several distinguished projects over the past years, the most important of which is the fiber-optic project to secure highly efficient local and international communication and information technology services for Iraq.
He added that an estimated $1.2 billion from the investment budget and foreign loans "will be allocated for supporting the provision of internet, television and video services over landline phones across Iraq."
Only around 800,000 of Iraq's 1.2 million landlines are functioning. Sweden's Erickson is expected to operate 700,000 new lines over the next two months.
Iraqi Investment Commission President Sami al-Araji said there were many opportunities for local and foreign investors to invest capital in the Iraqi telecom sector.
"One of the most important areas is investing in projects for implementing exchanges and landline networks to meet the demand for phone lines and transferring advanced technology to the services provided by these lines," he said.
Al-Araji noted that his commission has taken all necessary procedures to encourage investment activity and attract international companies from different sectors.
These procedures include granting investment licenses and obtaining approvals for tax breaks and the acquisition of land allocated for projects, as well as facilitating entrance, exit and residency for investors and their employees.
Emad Hussain, 25, a resident of Baghdad, said the government's efforts to develop and encourage investment in the landline sector would "meet Iraqis' demands for the modern telecom technologies that are now available worldwide".
"The return of landline phones on a large scale will boost competition with mobile phones to provide the best services for citizens," he said.
"A mobile phone can in no way be an alternative for a landline phone," said Maan Khalil, 27, owner of a mobile phone store in Baghdad. "The latter provides several benefits, including low cost and high quality communication services. This is in addition to providing high-speed and broadband internet services."
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Communications Ameer al-Bayati said the landline is considered the backbone of the telecom sector, as most countries around the world resort to it to provide technically advanced, secure and inexpensive telecom services.
"The landline phone will also be a rich financial resource for the state if it is opened for investment companies," he said.