What is the present state of the telecommunications sector and how it has changed in the past few years?
There has been a huge change in the telecommunications sector here in Kurdistan. Compared with other cities in Iraq, there is much more development here across the board. However, for me personally, this is still not enough. So, we have a comprehensive program to develop the telecommunications sector, particularly concerning internet systems.
We have implemented new operating directions for the telecommunications companies operating here in Kurdistan. We have also developed new monitoring procedures for these companies to ensure that our citizens receive the best possible services. Additionally, we made new amendments to the old contracts of the private sector companies working here, and implemented a new LTE [long term evolution] program to better develop the telecommunications sector.
We have two new systems. The first is the LTE system (the new system), which allows for the transmission of high-speed data. The second system utilizes VSAT technology and is mostly used in the rural areas.
Does the internet supply or overall capability meet the demand?
The supply is not enough and must be further developed. We issued the new technology (LTE technology). We have two new systems. The first is the LTE system (the new system), which allows for the transmission of high-speed data. The second system utilizes VSAT technology and is mostly used in the rural areas. These areas are not reached by fiber optic cables, and therefore have historically only had limited internet availability. With the implementation of VSAT technology, this will change. In the future, we hope to install further fiber optic cables to better connect the entire region and ensure that all of our citizens benefit from this technology.
Are there plans to develop the 3G network to allow the major mobile providers in the region to better serve their subscribers?
This Ministry deals primarily with regulating the companies providing the internet or mobile communication services. So, we monitor Korek, Asiacell, and Zain, and ensure they satisfy our standards. However, the government in Baghdad handles the development and installation of the 3G and the 2G systems. Hopefully the 3G system will be implemented in the near future.
Are those three providers enough for the Kurdistan Region?
Right now, yes. There is currently enough competition amongst the major providers to keep the rates low and allow for widespread access for the people of Kurdistan.