Iran Mobile Operator MTN-Irancell Launches Online TV Application
Iran’s second largest mobile operator MTN-Irancell has launched an online television application, named ‘Lenz’ for mobile devices, making the company the first mobile operator in the country to move into media distribution services.
IPTV, which enables viewers to stream high-definition TV programs and films through regular ADSL, has had a troubled start with at least three government entities including the Telecpm Ministry, Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) in the long drawn out debate on who should regulate streamed content.
The app is free for download from Google Play and local Android app store Cafe Bazaar. Its iOS version has not yet been released to the Apple store, the company also gave no date on the release of the app for that platform, ICTNA reported Saturday.
There is also a website for the application in both English and Persian at lenz.ir. That site shows a television with the application running on it. It is not known whether MTN-Irancell is looking to team up with television manufacturers such as Samsung to promote the app or wants to produce set-top boxes in the future.
Currently, MTN-Irancell is offering a free trial for the app but users should pay a subscription fee for further usage later. The Lenz website also does not say anything about subscription charges.
With the application users can record shows and TV series according to a customized schedule, while it offers a 7-day archive of videos previously broadcast on state TV.
The app also measures Internet speed of users and modifies the video resolution relatively. Moreover, users can live stream the TV programs with a 10-second delay in delivery.
In January IRIB issued temporary permits to five Iranian companies to deliver Internet Protocol Television services (IPTV), with MTN-Irancell being one of the listed firms.
All but one (Iran Electronic Publication) had obtained the same permits in October that were revoked in November due to a dispute between IRIB and the national regulators.
MTN-Irancell’s future competition includes: Aseman; a company owned by the Setade Ejraiye Farmane Emam, better known as Setad (executive headquarters for implementing Imam Khomeini’s directive to help and care for the needy) , Iran Electronic Publication; an electronic publication company affiliated to the Islamic Development Organization, Baran Telecom; a consortium formed by Samsung and two IT companies Fanap ICT Company and Arya Hamrah, and finally, Tarashe Sabz: a consortium established by merging several unnamed local Internet service providers.
Unlike downloaded media, IPTV offers the ability to stream the media in smaller batches, directly from the source. As a result, a client media player can begin playing the data (such as a movie) before the entire file has been transmitted. This is known as streaming media.
Irancell said on Sunday that the company has invested in Iran Internet Group which is a platform promoting entrepreneurship and Internet-based business in Iran. The company has not yet announced the amount of investment.
Regarding this matter Irancell's CEO Alireza Ghalambor Dezfouli said the company's strategy is to create jobs, help accelerate the growth of Internet/knowledge-based firms while contributing to the advancement of e-governance in Iran, according to a company press release.
Leading local startups owned in part by Iran Internet Group are the popular ride-hailing service Snapp, electronic commerce company Bamilo and food delivery service Zoodfood, hotel reservation website Pin-ta-Pin and online real estate hunter Eskano.
Both Irancell and Iran Internet Group are supported by the South Africa-based mobile telecommunication company MTN Group.