US-Led Coalition To Invite Tenders For Iraq Cellphone Network

The Iraqi mobile phone network saga continues… First a quick refresher on the events leading up to today. First, a US Senator (with Qualcomm support) made ridiculous claims warning that by using GSM in Iraq we’d be supporting “French technology” (gasp!) instead of good old American CDMA technology. Of course, after getting a flurry of press attention, most people who mattered went back to the business of figuring out how to set up a GSM network. Their first move was to hand over the project in Baghdad to MCI, a company (you might notice) that doesn’t even run a wireless network in the US and is currently known for creating one of the biggest frauds put forth on American investors. This led to some angry protests. Meanwhile, down in Southern Iraq, the Kuwaiti arm of Vodafone just went and set up their own damn GSM network. So, now, with all that as background the US has decided that they can’t wait for the “future government” to make a decision on something this important and will be accepting bids to build the new network. They said they decided to do this because Iraqi business people are claiming they need such a phone system to get the economy jumpstarted again. The plan is to not charge exorbitant spectrum licensing fees in this case.

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