Service interruption could affect 7 million subscribers

Korek Telecom appeals to Iraqi Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker to avoid shutdown

ERBIL, October 24 — Korek Telecom appealed to Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa’ Al-Sudani and Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi on Monday to establish a fact-finding committee in order to settle an ongoing dispute between the Erbil-based telecommunications company and central government’s Media and Communications Commission.

The Media and Communications Commission announced on Sunday it had suspended sales and trading of new Korek Telecom SIM cards and ordered the company disconnect all service with business customers  operating in the country within 10 days. The Commission said the order was due to Korek Telecom’s failure to renew it operating license, which expired on August 30, 2022, and failure to settle outstanding financial obligations.

Korek said the decision would jeopardize seven million subscribers across Iraq as a result.

The company issued a press release, which stated:

In an effort to resolve all matters fairly, our company requests that the respected Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker establish an impartial committee to ascertain the facts based on documented evidence regarding our rights and the claims made by the Commission. This is for the purpose of discovering the truth as it is, not as any interested party wishes it to be.

We have always adhered to the laws and directives issued by official institutions in the country. We have made every effort to put an end to the disputes that arose between us due to the arbitrary actions taken against our company by the Commission since the inception of our licensing. We were taken aback by the Commission’s statement because we were in advanced stages of dialogue with the Media and Communications Commission to resolve the issues between us, which were primarily rooted in a fundamental and substantial error on their part, as they deprived us of our legitimate rights under the licensing agreement. Our most recent initiative on our part was expressed through an official letter with the number 20239965 dated 13-10-2023, in which we expressed our willingness to settle the amounts claimed by the Commission and conclude all outstanding matters. We presented our proposals for a formal financial settlement in accordance with the law, an agreement we reached with the Commission’s president during a joint meeting held at the Commission’s headquarters on 17-8-2023. However, they refrained from responding to our settlement proposals and surprised us with a statement that was disseminated by various media outlets.