I visited Iran in 2010 (Read my story Here). Below is a summary of my findings of the Telecom market there:
Total Population: 74 Million
Urban Population: 60%
Young Population: 36%
GSM penetration: 60%, expected to grow up to max 80%.
Internet usage: 36%
Fixed Line Penetration: High in urban and low in rural hilly & desert areas.
Fixed Line Operators
There is only one fixed line operator TCI (Telecommunications Company of Iran – state owned). Its switches are old PSTN based. There are plans to introduce NGN within next few years.
MNP (Mobile Number Portability) is not introduced but may come in next 5 years plan.
There are two 2G licenses held by MCCI & Iran Cell.
A 3G license for 15 million subscribers has been issued to a new entrant ‘Tamin’ for 15 years, with 2 years exclusivity (no one else can have 3G for two years at least). This ignited the market. Competition is expected to rise with the entry of 3rd operator. MCCI having the biggest customer share is very worried of losing its market share. Radio coverage is little patchy outside cities and network performance is poor till now (2010). But operators are feeling the need to upgrade their networks to retain their market share.
This has also activated the mobile network vendors. Huawei, NSN and Ericsson have been quite active.
Three WiMax licenses are also issued in 2010.
1. MCCI (Mobile Communication Company Iran): Started in 1994, and is owned by TCI (Telecommunication Company of Iran, only fixed line state owned operator). Subscribers are 32 million with 60% market share. 60% subscribers are postpaid. Nearly all business users are with them and cannot leave because of MNP not being offered in Iran. Moving would mean losing years’ old number, which is no desirable for customers.
Core Suppliers: Nokia 70%, Ericsson 20%, Huawei 10% (PS & little bit CS)
Radio Suppliers: Nokia 60%, Ericsson 40%
2. MTN IranCell: Started in 2006. 15 million Subscribers with market share of 35%. 98% are Prepaid. It was the first one to offer prepaid so most prepaid subscribers joined it. There is a potential for MTN Iran in post paid area when MNP is introduced.
MTN has WiMax network which is for data only initially.
It has 2G & 2.5G (EDGE in limited areas). Data usage is low with subscribers less than 10%.
MTN Iran is planning for IMS deployment.
Core Suppliers: Huawei 100% (ASN gateway is also provided)
Radio Suppliers: Nokia 40%, Ericsson 30%, Huawei 30%
3. Remaining 5% mobile market share goes to 3 small regional operators.
The end of document….