Sci & Tech

Iranian Operators Unveil New Services at Telecom 2017

Economic Translator
Iran’s largest event in the telecom sector was held from Oct. 16-19 in Tehran with the participation of 250 companies
Operators Unveil New Services at Telecom 2017Operators Unveil New Services at Telecom 2017
Iran’s two biggest mobile operators Mobile Telecommunications Company of Iran and MTN-Irancell loomed large at the event with their latest services and future plans, including Wi-Fi calling, VoLTE, eSIM projects and the fifth generation of communication t

The 18th round of Exhibition of Telecommunications, Information Technology, and Innovative ICT Solutions (Iran Telecom 2017) was held in Tehran Oct. 16-19 at which local operators unveiled their latest services.

Iran’s two biggest mobile operators Mobile Telecommunications Company of Iran and MTN-Irancell loomed large at the event with their latest services and future plans, including Wi-Fi calling, VoLTE, eSIM projects and fifth generation communication technologies better known as 5G.

 Wi-Fi Calling

Both MCI and Irancell unveiled a new service called Wi-Fi Calling (aka VoCalling).

Wi-Fi Calling is a technology that enables a smartphone user to make calls over a wireless Internet connection rather than using the traditional mobile network. It can also be used to talk and text from indoor locations where it is usually hard even for a strong cellular signal to reach.

MCI’s Commercial Manager Mohsen Behdari told Financial Tribune, “The service [which MCI has dubbed Tel-Fi] can turn every Wi-Fi router into a virtual mobile network antenna.”

At first glance, the service looks similar to what messaging applications like WhatsApp offer, but for using Wi-Fi calling subscribers do not have to install an application on their devices. They simply dial the number they want to contact and their smart device, instead of connecting to a traditional mobile network antenna, connects to a Wi-Fi router.

The service can be helpful to those traveling abroad. “Instead of relying on costly roaming services, users can make relatively low-cost calls from wherever they have access to a Wi-Fi connection.”

For instance, MCI subscribers using roaming services in Sweden have to pay 121,000 rials ($3.02) per minute, using Tel-Fi will cost 600 rials ($0.015) for each minute.



Another service MCI and Irancell revealed was the Voice over Long-Term Evolution (aka Voice over LTE or VoLTE). The service is yet to be commercially launched.

VoLTE is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals. By implementation of VoLTE, voice services will be delivered as data flows within the LTE data bearer. In addition to higher voice quality and lower latency, the technology frees up bandwidth.

According to MTN-Irancell public relations manager, Saeed Kiaei, the service is currently in the process of commercialization.

The world’s first commercial full-featured VoLTE service was introduced in Singapore in 2014.

 5G in the Spotlight

Fifth generation wireless systems (5G) were also in the spotlight in the four--day event. Both MCI and Irancell have announced that they are implementing measure to commercially roll out the technology as soon as it becomes globally accessible.

During the exhibition’s inauguration ceremony Telecoms Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said, “The government and operators need to invest extensively in the development of 5G technology.”

He said the need to catch up with the latest developments is undeniable and Iran should not lag behind other countries.

The technology is expected to be available by 2020 and become globally accessible a year later with experts saying that it will significantly improve end-user experience and usher in a new era in telecom industries.

Earlier in September, MTN Irancell, and Sweden’s Ericsson jointly conducted a test of 5G connection in Tehran, during which a 4K video was transmitted using 5G technology in a few milliseconds.4K refers to a horizontal resolution in the order of 4,000 pixels. Transferring a file with 4K resolution takes more than few minutes using the conventional 4G communication technology. The transmission systems — which were as big as two conventional washing machines — were provided by Ericsson.

Irancell and Ericsson have an agreement for the development and expansion of the 5G technology.

 e-SIMs to Arrive

Irancell’s Kiaei said the company is set to develop eSIMs (embedded Subscriber Identity Module).

The term eSIM relates to a new standard being promoted by the GSM Association (commonly referred to as ‘the GSMA’) — a trade body that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. It is a SIM-card that is embedded in mobile devices. The eSIM stores all information that is necessary to identify and authenticate the mobile subscriber.

Information on the eSIM will be rewritable by all operators, meaning a user can decide to switch operators with a simple phone call. A new SIM will not be required, nor should there be any time delay in switching the eSIM to its new purpose. There will also be no physical swapping over required by the user.

The four-day event, sponsored by Telecoms Ministry, the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA), the Telecommunications Infrastructure Company (TIC) and the Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI), hosted over 250 local companies active in the key sector.

Three professional panels were held during the event related to the digital economy, speeding up ICT development and improving Iran’s technology index. Industries Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari, Deputy Telecoms Minister Barat Qanbari, Central Bank of Iran Governor Valiollah Seif and other senior figures participated in the panel discussions.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints