Zain is one of the most important telecommunications companies in the Middle East. It was established in 1983 in Kuwait as the first mobile operator in the region under the name MTC. Today it operates mobile telecommunications services in 8 Middle Eastern and North African countries: Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Sudan and Southern Sudan with a total of 6,200 employees.
On January 5, 2007, MTC and Iraqna announced a merger and changed their names to Zain. Zain-Iraq became the fifth of the group's companies.
In September 2007, the whole of MTC was rebranded as Zain after growing its capacity as a multinational mobile service provider. The Zain brand has been approved for all companies of the group in the eighth countries.
Today it has over 47.6 million connections in the Middle East and North Africa. In Iraq it has 16 million connections. There are no public statistics about audience, and the company does not disclose any data that is considered confidential. Data is also lacking for geographical distribution, but it is safe to assume that most users are found in the South of the country, mainly in the cities of Basra, Maysan and DhiQar which are close to Kuwait, where the company's headquarters is located. Users are also found in the nearby cities of Najaf, Karbala, Babel and Baghdad. Audience is limited in Kurdistan, Nineveh, Diyala and Kirkuk in the North of country.
In 2008, Zain became the fourth-largest mobile operator in the world in terms of geographical spread due to its spread in North Africa and the Middle East.As of 2019, Zain claims the country’s largest telecoms market share at 43%, followed by Asiacell at 38% and Korek coming in last at 19%.
Asiacell is one of the largest providers of mobile and Internet services in Iraq and had about 13.9 million connections up to 2019. Also in this case there are no statistics about audience. Geographically speaking most users are found in the Kurdistan region because the company's headquarter is there, and in the nearby cities of Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salahuddin, Diyala, Anbar and Baghdad. The audience is limited in Basra, Maysan and DhiQar, in the South of the country.
Asiacell was the first mobile service provider in Iraq able to cover all major cities. The company provides services in all of Iraq's 18 provinces including the capital Baghdad, and it integrates and receives feedback by the customers through its 21,000 direct sales centres available throughout the country. In 2011, the Iraqi Ministry of Communications considered Asiacell as the best operator of the GSM system in Iraq.
Korektel is the third cellular operator in Iraq and covering the entire country, namely all 18 provinces in Iraq. Most users are based in the Kurdistan region where the company's headquarters are located, with a very limited presence in other cities.
Korektel is a limited liability company registered in Iraq to operate and provide a range of wireless services, which are available at cheap prices compared to Zain and Asiacell. It has been working in the telecommunications sector in the country since 2000, initially in the Kurdistan region. On 17 August 2007, Korektel got a national operating permit for mobile services and since then the company has been providing services all over the country. It does not disclose the number of its customers.
It must be noted that there is no evidence of different use of each of these companies from specific socio-economic categories within the audience and that each company seems to be used by all the strata of society in the particular territory where they are based.