Communications in Iraq

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This article describes the telecommunications infrastructure of Iraq.


Telephone system

The 2003 Iraq war severely disrupted telecommunications throughout Iraq, including international connections. USAID is overseeing the repair of switching capability and the construction of mobile and satellite communications facilities.

Main telephone lines in use: 833,000 (as of 2005)
Number of mobile cellular phones: 9,000,000 (as of 2005)
Domestic telephone network: Repairs to switches and lines have been made. Cellular service has been in place since 2004, and though service is still spotty in some locations, it is expected to improve.
USA Today from 2005 about Iraq and its telecommunications Iraqna, an Orascom Telecom company, is the biggest GSM cellular service provider in Iraq.

International connections:

  • 2 Intelsat satellite earth stations (1 Atlantic Ocean region, 1 Indian Ocean region)
  • 1 Intersputnik satellite earth station (Atlantic Ocean region)
  • 1 Arabsat satellite earth station (inoperative)
  • Coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, and Turkey (the line to Kuwait is probably not operational)

see Telephone numbers in Iraq

Broadcast stations

Approximately 80 radio broadcast stations and 21 television broadcast stations were in operation as of 2004. There are approximately 4.85 million radios and 1.75 million televisions in Iraq (as of 1997).

During the reign of Saddam Hussein, broadcasting was largely the domain of the Iraqi Broadcasting and Television Establishment (IBTE). The IBTE, in turn, was dominated by the Ministry of Information. The IBTE often broadcast programming favorable towards Saddam Hussein, including music videos praising him and poetry readings when the station was down. Most IBTE transmitters were in the Baghdad area, in addition to a few regional stations. The IBTE aired former CBS reporter Dan Rather's interview with Saddam Hussein as well as the news from Baghdad Bob during the run up to the US invasion of Iraq. After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the IBTE was dissolved. The current regulator is the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission. The current public broadcaster is the Iraqi Media Network[1], successor to the Coalition Provisional Authority's radio stations and several other radio and television stations. The Iraqi Media Network currently operates the Radio of the Republic of Iraq and the government supported al-Iraqiya TV station, and many private TV stations are available, such as the popular Al Sharqiya. Iraqi radio stations showcase the diversity of popular opinion, from hard-line Islamic fundamentalism to Radio Sawa, politically-oriented stations, and stations featuring content appealing to Kurdish listeners. The BBC World Service broadcasts here, as do AFN and BFBS. Other foreign radio stations operating within Iraq include the UAE's Middle East Broadcasting Centre(MBC), Radio Monte Carlo Moyen-Orient, and Radio France International. Sources: World Radio Television Handbook, 1990, 2003, and 2005; MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia;the Frontline, a PBS documentary

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