Economy, Sci & Tech

Biggest Iran Telecommunications Merger on the Way

Iran’s state telecoms provider is to buy out MCI in the next two years.Iran’s state telecoms provider is to buy out MCI in the next two years.

Telecommunications Company of Iran is to seal a mega-merger with Iran’s oldest mobile phone firm, Mobile Telecommunications Company of Iran (MCI), for creating Iran’s biggest telecom company.

At the special session of TCI’s General Assembly held on September 13, the company’s CEO announced that the two telecom giants of Iran, namely TCI and MCI, will be merged, reported ICTNA.

Rasoul Saraian added that surveys show customers prefer to receive telecom services in an integrated package from one company and the two companies are aiming to cater to this demand through the merger.

“The scheme will be implemented in five years and customers will benefit, as the power of fiber broadband services are to be combined with the convenience of mobile communications,” he said

According to another unnamed source, the deal is expected to be completed faster within two years.

Saraian also announced that TCI is to merge 30 provincial branches of the company in two years and “this will be the biggest merger in the history of the country”.

The official noted that social networks are one of the most lucrative segments of ITC market.

“Iranian firms only have a meager share of this market. An integrated and coordinated collaboration between private and state-owned firms can enable Iranian companies to reclaim this market from their foreign counterparts,” he said. At the same event, Barat Qanbari, the state’s representative in TCI, announced that Iran’s ICT market is to grow threefold in five years.

“The ICT sector has a 4% share in Iran’s GDP, which is estimated to be worth about $10 billion,” he said.

Qanbari said the value of Iran’s ICT market is likely to grow from $10-35 billion in this period.

“TCI should integrate its services and also be vigilant to grasp new opportunities presented by cutting-edge technologies to hold its ground in Iran’s telecom market,” he said.

According to the official, the company is trying to accelerate the legal and official procedures to keep pace with the needs of Iran’s fast-growing ITC market.

Kamal Bigdeli, financial director of TCI, also told the gathering that by merging provincial branches of the company, handling staff redundancies and reforming the company’s financial structure, his company aims to save up to $10 million in the current Iranian year (started March 20).

During the session, TCI’s general strategy was outlined and 96% of TCI shareholders present in the assembly approved the outline unanimously.

The deal between the two companies follows a wider shift in the international telecoms markets of fixed-line operators buying or merging with wireless networks.

The latest high-profile merger of this sort was in the UK between British Telecom and EE (formally Orange and T-Mobile), which is estimated to have cost the national operator over $13 billion for establishing the largest mobile network.