Economy, Sci & Tech

Mobile Network Operators Will Boost Market

Mobile Network Operators  Will Boost MarketMobile Network Operators  Will Boost Market

The expansion of mobile telecommunications market can be achieved by facilitating the activities of mobile virtual network operators, the head of Communications Regulatory Authority said.

Speaking at the Mobile Virtual Network Operators Conference this week, Ali Asghar Amidian added that MVNOs are an important growth segment and investment in the industry is lucrative.

Amidian said currently three main players are active in the mobile phone sector of Iran, namely Mobile Communications of Iran, MTN-Irancell and RighTel. The first two hold 96% of the market.

"By allowing MVNOs into the mix, we can create a competitive ground in which service quality can increase and reasonable tariffs levels can be offered," he said.

He noted that at present there are 67 million active subscribers, 19 million GPRS subscribers, 1.7 million 3G users and 129 million SIM card holders in the country and the penetration factor for mobile phones is 85%.

Amidian predicted that in the next 10 years, MVNOs will have 13 million subscribers and hold 15% share of the mobile market by the end of the 10th year.

Up to now, 52 applicants have registered for an MVNO license, including 32 foreign operators, 13 investment companies and seven banks.

Broadcast service providers like Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting were supposed to dedicate a 700 MHz frequency band to mobile operators to provide services in 2015.

Amidian said, "We are still waiting for this frequency to be delivered but this must not stop us from starting MVNOs."

Among those applying for the MVNO licenses include traditional ADSL Internet supplier Shatel, which has said in a prior interview with this paper that they aim to offer 4G VOIP calling as a service, and former second market player Taliya, sources close to the company have said.