Economy, Business And Markets

MCIs Biggest Challenge

MCIs Biggest Challenge
MCIs Biggest Challenge

In the not too distant future, MCI – Iran’s main mobile network operator – has a massive problem on the horizon which it so far appears to be brushing under the carpet. This problem which has been kept from the general public is the impending change in mobile operator number ownership rules and the ability to port a telephone number to another provider or MNP.

In layman terms once the government gives the green light, you as a consumer can decide which network you wish to be on, whether that be MCI, Irancell, Taliya or Rightel. This may sound like nothing but, this slight change in the legislation is likely to shake up the mobile network operator in a big way.

There are two main reasons why this new legislation is likely to shake up the rankings of the main operators; firstly MTN-Irancell the South African-Iranian joint venture has long relished the chance to take pole position in terms of number of subscribers, though the operator has been stumped year after year due to one major sticking point. What is that point? Because although the second most popular mobile network has excellent connectivity, good pricing and competitive offers, it is stumped by their range of mobile phone numbers on offer.

How does this work? Well, each network is designated a certain group of prefixed telephone numbers, with some numbers being more valuable than others. Due to its dominant position and age, MCI have the largest quantity of cherished numbers. In Tehran for example 0912 and any number ascending from 1 are in some cases worth in the hundreds of millions of rials. Thus the monopoly on popular mobile numbers has always been MCIs. Whenever the new legislation passes it is more than likely that the other operators are going to pounce on the “First Operator.”

A case study online produced in 2013 by the University of Tehran said that “In Japan, since the introduction of MNP intense competitive pressure has been created in the market and has forced operators to provide their services with lower prices and to develop stronger and more proactive acquisition and retention strategies.” It adds the impact of MNP on the Japan market was not immediate but intensified the competition resulting in higher subscriber growth in the market

Irancell is likely to make the largest gains in terms of poaching  ers from MCI by offering a range of services including bundle packages and family and friends discounts to name a few. Considering its other markets the joint South African Iranian network adapts its methods in a quickly developing market, and that is likely to continue within Iran. It has to be noted that currently the network as of January 2015 is still the only operator offering 4G LTE to its consumers.  Taliya will likely become a smaller but bespoke operator offering business packages to customers attempting to grab a small but profitable market share; however, that is questionable considering the operator’s website has been dead for weeks.

What could shake the market is the package, which could offer a mobile phone with a mobile number transfer. If any of the providers were to offer this to their consumers, it’s likely that they would offer something which meets the market demand. This would likely be a low to mid-range smart phone, which could be offered solely on transfer of number.  These are a few areas how this impending legislation change could radically transform the mobile phone networks’ position, but as one of the directors of Iran’s internet providers said earlier this month, Irancell is likely to win out due to their dynamism and business methods.