Sci & Tech

4G for Only 10% of MCI Users

4G for Only 10%  of MCI Users
4G for Only 10%  of MCI Users

Mobile Communications Iran has announced that only 10% of subscribers have access to fourth-generation mobile Internet services.

The unsurprising revelation comes, as the CEO of Iran's largest and oldest mobile operator sat down with Fars News Agency to talk about MCI's future plans.

"Our strategy is to fully develop 3G Internet for the majority of the subscribers, first and foremost," said Vahid Sadoughi, CEO of the mobile giant.

"We know that only a small number of our [mobile] subscribers can access 4G Internet [services]; the expansion of it will be postponed until the next stage of the [mobile upgrade] program."

Asked about the slow development of 4G Internet, he said fourth-generation Internet is currently set up in "hotspot zones" and MCI's priority is to provide services to a larger number of subscribers.

The MCI chief added that since only 10% of mobile phones in the market are capable of 4G connections, it was not worth his company's while to pursue that until the means for using the technology become widely available.

"Hence we decided to provide facilities for the remaining 90% of our customer base."

He noted that the current state of 3G mobile communications is still limited in Iran and there are still wide areas running only on 2G or EDGE, or Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution.

Sadoughi hinted at a possible change in business tactics. He mentioned that for 4G to gain currency, there needs to be a significant push by SIM card and handset manufacturers to sell the devices as a package.

"There is also another technical hurdle involved in the take-up of the new technology: the limited amount of bandwidth available. Therefore, the company needs to negotiate the bandwidth with the government, specifically the Telecoms Ministry," he said.

Sadoughi said MCI would also need to liaise with Iran's other major operators, to prevent the crossing of signals.

In recent years, Iranian mobile users have complained of 2G signals disappearing due to neighboring countries' broadcasting signals inside Iran.

In an interview in 2014, Sadoughi announced that his company holds 69% of the mobile market. Accordingly, MCI is running the most popular mobile network in Iran.


MTN-Irancell, along with RighTel, offers third- and fourth-generation mobile Internet services.

RighTel was the first mobile operator to be given the exclusive license to offer 3G mobile Internet services with MCI and Irancell receiving the upgrade last autumn.

MTN-Irancell, has taken the lead in the race for 3G and 4G Internet services in recent years. The company has announced that it is pushing ahead with plans to upgrade as many major cities as possible to 4G.

The company recently launched both 3G and 4G/LTE networks on Tehran's subway system.

According to the company's PR department 3G/4G network have so far been launched in Molavi, Hassan-Abad, Golbarg and Sabalan subway stations, and the network is expected to be expanded to other stations rapidly in near future.

That company claims to have 23 million data services subscribers and 23 million smart devices using the Irancell network, according to Cellular News. At present, we have 12.5 million 3G/LTE data services subscribers, 0.5 million WiMAX subscribers and the rest of the company's subscribers are using 2G data services of Irancell, according to an August report.

MTN-Irancell has also been listening to MCI's chief comments as it has recently announced that it would be the official partner to Samsung in Iran providing 4G-LTE SIM cards to buyers of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6.