Iran - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Iran to see arrival of MVNOs amid other reforms to telecoms sector

Mobile services are widely available in Iran with services on offer from three major mobile network operators which are able to offer services on a national basis. These include MCI, MTN Irancell and Rightel. In March 2017 competition in the mobile sector was set to increase further with the country’s largest ISP, Shatel Group, reportedly given permission to begin offering full MVNO services in Iran. It would operate under the brand name Shatel Mobile. HiWeb, which signed a partnership deal with Vodafone Group in October 2016, was also awarded a license from the CRA to offer SIM cards under a local brand name.

Mobile data services are available but account for a small proportion of total revenue. This is expected to increase over time as mobile data services increasingly underpin future revenue growth, made possible by the launch of 3G/HSPA and 4G LTE services. Recently WiMAX services in Iran were replaced with TDD-LTE services by two operators, Irancell and ISP MobinNet.

Iran is currently implementing its 6th Development Plan which runs between 2016 – 2021 and contains a number of measures to transform the telecoms sector. For example, the development plan aims to increase Internet bandwidth; encourage foreign and private investment in the telecoms sector as well as make structural changes to the telecoms incumbent, Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI).

Internet usage is growing due to improved accessibility brought about by competition and government initiatives designed to improve ICT accessibility. Iran has been developing its own National intranet that will host only approved Islamic content. Known as the National Information Network (NIN); it went live e in August 2016 and will offer speeds of up to 10 Tb/s as part of an upgrade underway in 2017. The NIN is designed to complement the Internet and operates on Iran’s fibre network.

The lifting of economic sanctions in early 2016 was expected to facilitate a big boost to Iran’s economy. However, in 2017 it became apparent that the economic transformation of Iran is occurring at a slower pace than expected, with industry analysts commenting that Iran needs to reduce its reliance on oil and strengthen other industry sectors.

Key developments:

  • Iran plans to digitise it school and government networks as part of its 6th Development Plan.
  • In 2016 Irancell ceased operating its WiMAX network as it began offering LTE-TDD services instead.
  • In February 2017 ISP MobinNet made a similar transition and also began offering TDD-LTE services.
  • In August 2016, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) was commercially launched in Iran.
  • ISP Shatel launched a new VoIP service at the of 2016 which requires the incumbent, TCI, to interconnect its calls.
  • There is ongoing Fixed-Mobile Conversion (FMC) taking place in Iran. Fixed line growth has been slowing in recent years while mobile subscriptions are on the increase.
  • Companies covered in this report include:

Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI), Mobile Communications Iran (MCI), MTN Irancell, Tamin Telecom (Rightel), Rafsanjan Industrial Complex (Taliya), Shatel Group; MobinNet.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
    • 2.1 Country overview
    • 2.2 Economic sanctions
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Market analysis
    • 3.2 Recent developments
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Historic overview
    • 4.2 Sixth five year plan 2016-2021
    • 4.3 Regulatory authority
    • 4.4 WiMAX licences
    • 4.5 Number Portability (NP)
    • 4.6 Roaming
  • 5. Fixed network operators in Iran
    • 5.1 Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI)
    • 5.2 Other licence holders/VoIP
  • 6. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 6.1 National telecom network
      • 6.1.1 National Internet Network (NIN)
    • 6.2 International infrastructure
      • 6.2.1 Submarine and terrestrial cable networks
      • 6.2.2 Satellite networks
  • 7. Broadband access market
    • 7.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 7.1.1 Market analysis
      • 7.1.2 Broadband statistics
    • 7.2 Forecasts – broadband subscribers
    • 7.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
    • 7.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
    • 7.5 Other fixed broadband services
      • 7.5.1 Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
    • 7.6 Competition issues
      • 7.6.1 ISP market
  • 8. Digital economy
    • 8.1 Introduction
    • 8.2 E-Commerce
    • 8.3 E-Government
    • 8.4 E-Health
    • 8.5 E-Education
  • 9. Digital media
    • 9.1 Advertising
    • 9.2 Videostreaming
      • 9.2.1 Introduction
      • 9.2.2 Major players
      • 9.2.3 IPTV
    • 9.3 Social media
    • 9.4 Start-ups
  • 10. Mobile communications
    • 10.1 Market analysis
      • 10.1.1 Introduction of MVNOs in Iran
    • 10.2 Mobile statistics
      • 10.2.1 General statistics
      • 10.2.2 Mobile data
    • 10.3 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 10.4 Regulatory issues
      • 10.4.1 Second mobile licence – MTN Irancell
      • 10.4.2 Third Mobile licence – Tamin Telecom (Rightel)
    • 10.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 10.5.1 Digital networks
    • 10.6 Major mobile operators
      • 10.6.1 TCI/Mobile Communications Iran (MCI)/Hamrah-e-Avval
      • 10.6.2 MTN Irancell
      • 10.6.3 Tamin Telecom (Rightel)
      • 10.6.4 Taliya/Rafsanjan Industrial Complex Islamic Cooperative Company (RIC)
    • 10.7 Mobile content and applications
      • 10.7.1 m-banking (payments/loans)
      • 10.7.2 Apps
    • 10.8 Mobile handsets
  • 11. Related reports
  • Table 2 – Country statistics Iran – 2016
  • Table 3 – Telecom services revenue – 2014
  • Table 4 – Telephone network statistics – 2016
  • Table 5 – Internet subscriber statistics – 2016
  • Table 6 – Fixed broadband statistics – 2016
  • Table 7 – Mobile statistics – 2016
  • Table 8 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 9 – GDP at current prices, Real GDP and inflation change – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2017
  • Table 11 – International Internet bandwidth – 2002 - 2015
  • Table 12 – Internet users and penetration estimates – 1996 - 2017
  • Table 13 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2006 - 2017
  • Table 14 – Household PC penetration – 2002 - 2016
  • Table 15 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers – higher growth scenario – 2019; 2024
  • Table 16 – Forecast fixed broadband subscribers – lower growth scenario – 2019; 2024
  • Table 17 – Historical - Irancell WiMAX subscribers – 2012 – 2015
  • Table 18 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
  • Table 19 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 20 – Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2012 – 2016
  • Table 21 – Mobile data users by major operator and technology – Q3 2016
  • Table 22 – Mobile operators market share - 2016
  • Table 23 – MTN Irancell – Revenue and CAPEX – 2014 - 2016
  • Table 24 – MTN Irancell – Subscribers, ARPU and MOU – 2006 – 2015
  • Chart 1 – Fixed broadband subscribers and annual growth – 2010 - 2016
  • Exhibit 1 – Privatisation of TCI

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