Economy, Sci & Tech

Hamedan Receives 4G Coverage

Hamedan Receives 4G CoverageHamedan Receives 4G Coverage

MTN-Irancell, the second largest mobile operator in Iran, has upgraded its telephone and Internet networks in the city of Hamedan, midwest Iran.

At an event held on Sunday in the city, the company's CEO said their 4G network has officially started operating in Hamedan, ISNA reported.

Alireza Qalambor Dezfouli announced that by the end of the current fiscal year (March 19, 2016), more than 500 cities will receive 3G coverage and 120 cities will get partial 4G coverage.  

According to the CEO, Irancell has invested nearly $1 billion for expanding 3G and 4G services across the country.

"The company has allocated 3.2 trillion rials ($97 million) for expanding networks in Hamedan and the surrounding region," he said.

"By the end of the current year, the city will receive an additional 400 billion rials ($122 million) for the same purpose."

Mobile phone penetration in the province of Hamedan is 54% while the figure for land lines is 32%, making it the first city in the country to make the move over to higher ownership of cellphones than landlines.

Irancell currently provides 3G coverage in more than 400 cities and 4G in 44 cities.

Irancell's largest competitor, MCI – Hamrahe-Aval has also been rolling out 3G and HSPA+ Internet connections nationally. Unlike Irancell, the older operator has no plans to push 4G coverage currently, as it already has many 3G upgradable broadcast towers waiting to be serviced.

Irancell and MCI, along with a recent newcomer to the market, Rightel, have begun preparations for number porting, where consumers can transfer their cell number between each network.

At the end of November 2014, the ministry granted both MCI and Irancell licenses to offer third and fourth generation mobile phone services to compete with the growing competition from the 3G-only Rightel. MTN-Irancell, MCI and Rightel are also facing increased competition from traditional ADSL broadband Internet operators like Shatel who in recent months announced plans to join the mobile Internet race by offering 4G Internet and VOIP calling.  

If given the go-ahead, Shatel with its national network of operators could make a dent into MTN-Irancell's profit forecasts.