Economy, Business And Markets

Telecom 2014 and Future Opportunities

Telecom 2014  and Future Opportunities
Telecom 2014  and Future Opportunities

The 15th International Exhibition of Telecommunications, Information Technology and Solutions, known as Iran Telecom 2014, was inaugurated on Monday at Tehran’s International Permanent Fairground.

The four-day exhibition, which will end today, enjoys the official support of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Communications Regulatory Authority, the Telecommunications Infrastructure Company (TIC) and the Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI).

The event, covering an area of around 30,000 square meters, showcases a broad picture of the whole telecom market in Iran from equipment and infrastructure vendors, satellite operators, wholesale carriers to operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS) and more.

As many as 278 exhibitors including 68 foreign companies from countries such as Canada, China, Germany, Britain, France, India, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Taiwan and UAE have attended the fair. The domestic market’s most dynamic companies across the telecom ecosystem also attended the major telecom event, which is said to have attracted some 40,000 visitors this year, the exhibition’s executive manager, Ladan Maleki, told Financial Tribune.

The 2014 event is obviously different from the past exhibitions. Hoping for the removal or easing of western sanctions against Iran, many international companies have prepared to enter Iran’s lucrative telecom market. Before western countries imposed new sanctions on Tehran in 2010 over its nuclear program, globally-renowned companies such as Nokia and Siemens were officially involved in Iran’s telecommunication projects. But they quit afterwards and were replaced by Chinese companies such as Huawei. The Chinese also had to leave Iran after the sanctions were tightened. Now it’s a golden opportunity for foreign firms to get back to Iran.

“It is a good opportunity to take part in Iran Telecom as there could even be some chances for increasing commercial ties,” Gerd Pichler, the product development manager at the Austrian company Pengg Kabel told the Financial Tribune.

Pichler said his company is not really worried about potential Chinese rivals re-entering the Iranian market, because he knows “Iranians often prefer to buy high quality products”.

 Telecom Ties With World  

On Monday, officials from the ministry of communications held meetings with Cuban officials on the sidelines of the fair. Deputy minister Mojtaba Hosseini met with Cuban ambassador to Tehran Vladimir Andres Gonzalez Quesada, and the two sides agreed to sign agreements to implement joint telecommunication projects.

Iran enjoys good telecommunication infrastructure and with the expansion of its fiber-optic network, the future looks bright for the sector, which provides a variety of services across the country whose large young population is mostly familiar with internet and modern media. The youth will definitely welcome newer telecommunications technologies such as 3G and 4G.

While having the highest number of internet users in the Middle East, Iran was ranked only 14th in the region in 2012 in terms of broadband users. This is certainly not very satisfactory for a country whose 20-Year Vision Plan clarifies that it should become the regional telecommunication hub (RTH) by 2025. Last year, some 867,000 people were using high-speed internet, and about 6 million people were using internet via fiber-optic network.

 Iran’s Telecom Development

Iran’s telecommunication sector is gradually upgrading its infrastructure and moving towards next-generation networks (NGNs) by making architectural changes to telecommunication cores and access networks, Farnaz Tabatabai, the commercial manager at Arg Telecom Company, told Financial Tribune.

She added that NGNs require an expanded network of optical cables and that is why optical cables will be urgently needed during the next few years. The telecommunication company has planned to add more than 5 million ports in optical cabinets, which means five million subscribers – almost 20 million people - will have access to high speed internet through optical cables.

Even though European products and equipment are currently imported and used in telecommunication projects in Iran, if sanctions are lifted, such European accessories would be imported at much lower costs, and therefore consumers would access services at lower prices.

Reza Shakibania, executive manager at Atieh Dadeh Pardaz Company said the expansion of mobile networks and the popularity of smart phones in Iran, like everywhere across the world, have enabled Iranian banks to provide modern services for their customers.

Shakibania, whose company has contracts with many banks to provide short message service (SMS) on banking transactions, said that nowadays people habitually use such services and the banks are willing to provide more high-tech services based on smart phones and internet.