The Iraqi government announced Monday that it would finally allow cellular operators to provide third-generation connections.
Third-generation, or 3G, connections dramatically improve the bandwidth of the wireless, making it much easier for mobile devices to do more than just send and receive calls and text messages.
“We have been waiting for it,” Amer Sunna, the CEO of Asiacell, one of the three major mobile providers in Iraq, told Agence France-Presse. “This is exciting news for us.”
The announcement did not clarify how 3G would be licensed or sold, or when the system would be fully implemented.
With 3G, mobile users in Iraqi will be able to do things many in America take for granted, such as download large files and stream videos. Bringing 3G connections to the iPhone allowed users to easily download third-party apps from the iTunes App store, which believe helped launched the modern smartphone era.
Most countries have made 3G the standard, with many already moving on to 4G, but Iraq’s government has not allowed the upgrades to the country’s cellular network despite nearly 90 percent of the population having a mobile phone. China is already testing the first 5G networks.
“It’s been a while. I think frustration is there,” Sunna said. “Today, you see the penetration rate hitting 90 percent, and we’re still on 2G.”