Sci & Tech

Iran’s HiWeb Signs Deal With Vodafone

The UK’s Vodafone has signed a partnership agreement with Iranian ISP HiWeb
The Vodafone and HiWeb logos look remarkably similar.The Vodafone and HiWeb logos look remarkably similar.

London-based Vodafone telecoms Group and HiWeb, an Iranian ISP, announced on Tuesday a non-equity “Partner Market agreement” that allows the British company access to the lucrative Iranian market.

The press releases from both Vodafone and HiWeb follow months of speculation that the British company was looking to enter the country. Several industry insiders said they had been contacted by Vodafone for info on the market in the runup to the announcement.

According to the official spiel, as part of the new deal, Vodafone will assist HiWeb in modernizing network and IT infrastructure, in addition to expanding the fixed and mobile Internet services, which HiWeb will offer to its Iranian laymen and corporate customers.

In return, HiWeb will provide Vodafone’s customers with fixed and mobile services in Iran. Vodafone will also support HiWeb in marketing, distribution and sales, including the provision of Internet of Things services to HiWeb’s customers.

Vodafone’s Partner Markets Chief Executive Diego Massidda said, “I am delighted to reach an agreement with HiWeb on a partnership that will benefit both parties in Iran.”

He added, “Vodafone’s corporate customers will get the benefit of quality network services in the country, including in rural areas, and HiWeb will be able to access Vodafone’s global expertise to support the rollout of products, infrastructure and the launch of IoT services in Iran.”

In return, HiWeb Chief Executive Officer Iman Miri said Iran’s telecoms market has great potential for new investment and expansion of fixed and mobile broadband services.

“The partnership with Vodafone allows us to utilize Vodafone’s vast experience and knowledge in this field,” he added.

The deal will help HiWeb realize its ambitious plan to become the leading operator in Iran’s telecoms market and offer customers a whole range of innovative and new services such as high-quality wireless broadband, IoT and a wide range of enterprise services.

Following the announcement, several people familiar with the industry noted that Vodafone’s interest in the market stretches back a few months.

One PR executive who knew of the deal said, “I was contacted by the company some months ago, which stated that they intended to team up with an Iranian partner. It was an open secret that this was going to happen.”

The deal has also got design professionals baffled, as HiWeb’s relations with Vodafone could unofficially stretch back further than the announced agreement. One graphic designer in 2013 noted that everybody in the industry was aware of HiWeb’s use of the Vodafone logo for some year’s now.

They stated online, “Iranian CEOs are not paying attention to marketing and their logos; they should be embarrassed.”

However, as the deal suggests, Vodafone will not be transferring any funds to the Iranian partner and according to the text of the agreement, the Iranian company will support the overhauling of their technology, whereas Vodafone will receive access to the Iranian market.

Vodafone’s deal is low-risk as it is effectively a cooperation and roaming agreement, sold as something more. It does, however, keep the door open for future cooperation.

The UK telecoms giant has several partner agreements from South America to Africa where it teams up with local companies to expand its network reach without having to bear any large costs.

However, its major competitors in the form of Orange of France and MTN of South Africa will be watching how the HiWeb-Vodafone deal advances with hawkish vision in the coming months.


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