Economy, Sci & Tech

Cellphone Imports Decline

Cellphone Imports Decline
Cellphone Imports Decline

Cellphone imports have decreased lately due to the unreasonable import tariffs, said the head of Iran's SIM Card and Cellphone Dealers Association.

According to Afshar Foroutan Larijani, what cripples the digital market most is that a large number of cellphones available are smuggled into the country while the sales of authorized dealers have hit a record low, Eghtesad News quoted him as saying.

"When the sanctions are lifted following Iran's nuclear agreement, the situation will change for the better as authorized retailers will be able to provide a range of services," he said.

"If better prices are offered, customers will also want to deal with authorized retailers."

Larijani noted that the most effective and cost-efficient method for reducing contraband mobiles is to impose reasonable tariffs for gadget imports proportionate to their volume.

In May, the head of Tehran's Electronic Appliances Guild, Ebrahim Dorosti, had said nearly 85% of cellphones—each costing more than 4 million rials ($120 at market exchange rate)—are smuggled into the country.

Tariffs on cellphone imports suddenly increased under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration, after the then minister of industries, Alireza Tahmasbi, said "domestic manufacturing of cellphones needs to start to enable the country to compete with the world's largest brands".

The move led to a hike in prices and flooded the market with smuggled phones.

Iran's mobile distributors often sell phones with no official warranty, with more unscrupulous merchants offering flimsy warranties to contraband phones.