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Competition Heats Up  Among Cellphone Networks
Sci & Tech

Competition Heats Up Among Cellphone Networks

The competition for ears has heightened among Iranian cellphone networks, as they make claims and counterclaims.
A member of Shatel Internet’s board of directors says the results of a recent poll show that over 41% of people using services provided by the Mobile Telecommunications Company of Iran (also known as Hamrahe Aval or MCI) wish to switch over to other operators such as Irancell or RighTel.
Mohammad Mirtavousi added that a majority of these people are those with high income and demand more satisfactory services.
He made the statements at the 12th MVNO Networking Congress held in London on Nov. 1-2. Iran’s oldest ADSL provider, Shatel, was also one of the associate sponsors of the event, Fars News Agency reported.
Mirtavousi noted that over 82% of mobile phone users in Iran are dissatisfied with the services they receive.
Interpreting the facts, he noted that “time is ripe for introducing mobile number portability (Number Porting) services in the country”.
Officials at MCI responded by saying, “Shatel’s representatives should not be saying what they wish, instead of facts”, while noting that the claim was completely irrelevant and are in contradiction with the results of several other polls that MCI conducts on a regular basis.
The statement released by MCI claims that Shatel has only made such statements to deface MCI. The latter has urged other operators to only state facts with logical backing.    

 Iran’s IT Status
Mirtavousi also delivered a report on the status of Information and Communications Technology in Iran.
“Iran’s gross domestic product is currently $1.3 trillion while the ICT market only has a meager 1.5% share in GDP,” he said.
“In similar developing countries such as Brazil, the figure is 9%, which shows that widespread investment is needed in Iran’s ICT sector.”
According to Mirtavousi, it has been predicted that Iran’s GDP will increase by 0.6% by the end of 2015 and will reach 2.9% and 3.6% by 2016 and 2017 respectively.
The official noted that the number of active Internet users in Iran stands at 6.6 million people up from 3.1 million in 2012.
Also, the number of Iranians using a landline in 2012 was 28.8 million, but now there are 30 million landline users in 2015.
“Currently, 71 million Iranians use mobile phones whereas the same number stood at 58.2 million in 2012,” he said.
Mirtavousi noted that in 2009, Iran was the fourth largest telecom market in the Middle East.
With a compound annual growth rate of 6.9%, the sector’s value stood at $12.9 billion in 2014, up from $2.9 billion in 2009.
“During the past five years, over $3.3 billion have been invested in Iran’s telecom sector. Over the next five years, it is expected that data services will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36.2%,” he said.
About 800,000 DSL ports are active in Iran and the number is expected to rise to 1 million in 2016.
Currently, Shatel controls 26% of Iran’s private Internet market and the remaining 74% are controlled by eight other private Internet companies.

 MVNOs
Currently 13 investment groups, nine telecom operators, seven banks and 32 foreign operators have submitted requests for receiving mobile virtual network operator permits.
Some firms have independently submitted their requests to Iran’s Communications Regulatory Authority while some have formed consortiums. In total, 51 requests have been submitted.
Shatel is one of the companies that has submitted such a request.
Iran’s mobile telephone market is growing rapidly and SIM card penetration is now more than 170%, according to the Communications and Information Technology Ministry.

Intro: Highlight:  Currently 13 investment groups, nine telecom operators, seven banks and 32 foreign operators have submitted requests for receiving mobile virtual network operator permits
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