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Text messaging services and voice calls used to account for 74% of the operators’ revenue.
Text messaging services and voice calls used to account for 74% of the operators’ revenue.

Tehran Hosts MVNO Confab

The latest Mobile Virtual Network Operators Conference opened in Tehran this week with several foreign companies in attendance

Tehran Hosts MVNO Confab

The latest Mobile Virtual Network Operators Conference opened in Tehran this week with several foreign companies in attendance.
Teyf Conferences, which organized a second closed-door event on telecoms and Mobile Virtual Network Operators, invited several foreign companies, including Lebara, Lycamobile, Axiata, MVNOx Association, Match Maker Ventures, Arthur D. Little and the US’ Elephant Talk.
In addition to these companies, Sadeq Abbasi-Shahkouh, deputy director of Iran’s Communications Regulatory Authority, was present at the event and addressed several issues about the emergence of MVNOs in the country.
Abbasi-Shahkouh said CRA has granted 24 permits to several companies, including foreign firms.
These companies will have to sign agreements with one of the three major mobile phone operators, namely Mobile Telecommunications Company of Iran, Irancell or RighTel.
“Only two of the 24 have been able to reach an agreement, but the deals are yet to receive CRA’s approval,” he added.
The CRA’s ruling obliged virtual operators to sign a deal with a network provider by October 24. However, many have failed to do this.
According to reports, CRA said deals will be finalized by April and the new MVNOs will begin selling SIM cards shortly after.
The official added, “By the end of the last Iranian year (March 19, 2016), Iran’s telecommunications market value was estimated to be 200 trillion rials ($5.7 billion).
“Text messaging services and voice calls accounted for 74% of the operators’ revenue and data transactions had a meager share of less than 5% [in the last Iranian year].”
The economic forecast provided by CRA indicates that in the next four years, the industry’s total revenue is set to triple and will reach 700 trillion rials ($19.4 billion) annually.
The organization also predicts that the share of data transactions and Internet services will ramp up to 27% of the market.
By March 19, operators’ annual income from Internet services was 10 trillion rials ($285 million) while this figure is expected to rise by more than 1,800% in the coming years.
Abbasi-Shahkouh suggested that a wiser course of action for investors would be to explore new realms and services, especially Internet-based services, the demand for which is growing exponentially in the country.
Iran has 76 million mobile subscribers, of which only 19 million have subscribed to 3G and 4G.
In the past half decade, Iranian operators have led to more than 15,000 3G and 4G service antennas throughout the country.
Mobile portability services and MVNO services will enable customers to choose from a wider range of service providers, which will boost competitiveness and force service providers to offer better value for money.
In his concluding remarks, Abbasi-Shahkouh said MVNOs could attract 3.5 million customers in their first year of activity (15% of the market) and reach 35 million in future.

 

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