Economy, Sci & Tech

Indigenous E-Mail Service Remains an Outsider

Indigenous E-Mail Service Remains an Outsider
Indigenous E-Mail Service Remains an Outsider

Three years and extensive publicity later the costly ‘National e-mail’ project has failed to deliver. How and when it will draw the attention of Iranians remains to be seen.

According to Alireza Yari, head of IT Faculty at Iran’s Communications and Information Technology Research Center, the locally-developed e-mail service has not been able to attract users, ISNA reported.

Currently, four major indigenous e-mail services are operating in Iran, namely,, and

Yari recently told reporters that “, which is considered one of the most ‘successful’ local e-mail services, has less than 300 active users.”

He said an estimated 1.5 million people have created accounts with but seldom use it.

This is while Internet penetration rate has grown exponentially in recent years with the introduction of the third and fourth generations of mobile communication technologies.

Furthermore, foreign online services — e-mail services, social media platforms and messaging applications — have attracted Iranian users en masse. For instance Telegram messaging application is vastly popular and reportedly has 45 million Iranian users.

Some of the major disadvantages of the locally developed e-mail services are that the users are required to provide their official ID number in addition to their address at the time of registration.

Furthermore, for ‘authenticating’ their accounts, users with are further required to visit post offices where an official verifies their registered information with their identification documents.

According to Telecoms Ministry, setting up an e-mail service costs over 200 billion rials ($5.1 million). It has been estimated that the four indigenous e-mail services have cost the treasury $20 million.

 Security Against Intrusion

Introduction of domestically developed e-mail services is in line with the government’s policy of improving the ‘National Information Network’.

Initially launched in August 2016, the NIN is an alternative independent network with content that is purportedly compatible with local values.

The scheme is aimed at developing local infrastructure and includes projects for developing Iranian search engines, Internet browsers, operating systems, and national email services.  

According to officials, the NIN is developed to also protect confidential information against foreign intrusion and espionage.

The move follows a global trend of skepticism and mistrust between governments. Last week the US government banned all federal agencies from using software developed by Kaspersky Labs, an elite Russian cyber-security company. Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin told the country’s technology companies that they will lose out on state orders unless they switch to using home-grown softwares.

It seems that the wall that was brought down in 1989 in Berlin is making a comeback, but this time it is made of binary codes.


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