| DUBAI, Sept 4
DUBAI, Sept 4 Kuwait telecom operator Zain
has vowed to continue its fight against a $262 million
fine imposed on its Iraq operations despite some of the unit's
bank accounts being frozen, the company said on Tuesday.
Zain Iraq, the country's number one mobile operator with an
estimated 53 percent market share, was fined $262 million in
February 2011 for putting 5 million SIM cards in the local
market without permission.
At the time, Zain said it would appeal this fine and after
18 months of deadlock, the Iraqi telecom regulator,
Communications and Media Commission (CMC), has now upped the
"Some Iraqi bank accounts pertaining to Zain Iraq have been
frozen, however we are expecting some positive news regarding
this soon," Zain said in emailed response to questions from
Reuters. "Our official position is that we are not liable at all
for this fine."
The company declined to reveal the value of the funds
When asked what it thought of the regulator's move, Zain
said: "We think they have the best intention in doing what they
believe is right, although we were very surprised for a decision
like this to take place without a court ruling."
Iraq accounted for 12.4 million of Zain's 40.3 million
customers as of the end of 2011, according to the company's
annual report, as well as 35 percent of consolidated revenue.
Zain Iraq and rival operators Asiacell - a unit of Qatar
Telecom (Qtel) - and France Telecom affiliate
Korek must complete mandatory initial public offerings as part
of their $1.25 billion licences, but all have missed the listing
deadline of August 2011.
In July, the CMC said it would fine Zain Iraq $12,864 a day
since September 2011 for failing to list on the Iraqi bourse,
also imposing fines on the other operators.
(Reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by Dinesh Nair)