Iran - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Iran - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Lifting of sanctions expected to assist telecoms sector in Iran

Iran has become one of the most interesting telecoms markets in the Middle East to watch with the lifting of economic sanctions in 2016. This development paves the way for increased foreign investment in Iran and in turn for Iran to participate in international commerce.

With Iran also gaining access to billions in frozen assets it will be able to improve its overall economic position, along with the lifestyle of Iranian citizens. This in turn may lead to more spending on mobile data and telecoms services along with overall telecoms infrastructure improvements.

Iran offers a relatively young population, where the majority are aged below thirty years old and enthusiastic adopters of mobile technologies and ICT tools. Mobile phone penetration stands at around 90% and this has grown quickly in recent years due to increased competition and the introduction of 3G and 4G services.

It is hoped that the flourishing start-up sector in Iran will receive a boost due to increased foreign interest and investment. Iran has already demonstrated its commitment towards a start-up sector with many locally established digital media initiatives in operation many of which have emerged due to Iran's desire to develop its own social media and digital services. These include Iran's own search engine, Yooz, as just one example.
E-commerce can also expect growth with the lifting of sanctions freeing up electronic trade and Iranians begin to gain access to international financial institutions and corresponding credit cards. Bitcoin is also showing a keen interest in the potential of Iran's e-commerce market with the crypto-currency service establishing its first Currency Exchange in Iran during 2015.

Other changes are afoot for Iran's telecom sector with the announcement that TCI would be selling a 50% (plus one share) stake in the company, currently owned by Etemad Mobin. This development, combined with the lifting of sanctions and a tech savvy youthful and very large population - has firmly placed Iran in the spotlight as one of the key markets to watch for growth and opportunity.

Key telecom parameters 2013; 2016
Sector | 2013 | 2016
Subscribers to telecoms services (million): (e)
Fixed Broadband | 4.3 | 6.1
Fixed-line telephony | 29.7 | 30.3
Mobile phone | 65.2 | 73.5
(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)

Key developments:

There is ongoing Fixed-Mobile Conversion (FMC) taking place in Iran. Fixed line growth has been slowing in recent years while mobile subscriptions are on the increase.
In order to improve mobile competition and services the progress towards Mobile Number Portability took a step further in August 2015 with the signing of a MoU regarding the principles of MNP between the Iranian Government and the three mobile operators.
In order to meet IPTV demand, TCI subsidiary Information Technology Company (ITC) announced it had signed a MoU with TI Sparkle (a subsidiary of Telecom Italia) which would see Iran granted access to TI Sparkle's Seabone Global Tier-1 IP transit backbone.
In 2016 a new IPTV service was underway with the announcement that Perception TV had been chosen by Baran Telecom to provide its IPTV platform
In October 2015 Iran announced it would be introducing a new tender for fixed wireless broadband spectrum which would allow for Time Division Duplexing (TDD), including TDD-LTE technology.
TV is still the most popular and effective advertising platform in Iran, followed by print. It is expected that digital advertising is poised for growth however as the lifting of sanctions leads to improved ICT capabilities and an international influence on the current landscape.

Companies covered in this report include:

Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI), Mobile Communications Iran (MCI), MTN Irancell, Tamin Telecom (Rightel), Rafsanjan Industrial Complex (Taliya), Mobile Telecommunications Company of Isfahan (MTCE), Telecommunication Kish Company (TKC), Baran Telecom.

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
2.2 Economic sanctions
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Recent developments
3.2 Historical overview
3.3 Market analysis
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Historic overview
4.2 Sixth five year plan 2016-2021
4.3 Regulatory authority
4.4 WiMAX licences
4.5 Number Portability (NP)
5. Fixed network operators in Iran
5.1 Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI)
5.2 Other licence holders/VoIP
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.1.1 National Internet Network (NIN)
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Submarine and terrestrial cable networks
6.2.2 Satellite networks
7. Broadband access market
7.1 Introduction and statistical overview
7.1.1 Market analysis
7.1.2 Broadband statistics
7.2 Forecasts broadband subscribers
7.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
7.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
7.5 Other fixed broadband services
7.5.1 Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
7.6 Competition issues
7.6.1 ISP market
8. Digital economy
8.1 Introduction
8.2 E-Commerce
8.3 E-Government
8.4 E-Health
8.5 E-Education
9. Digital media
9.1 Advertising
9.2 Videostreaming
9.2.1 Introduction
9.2.2 Major players
9.2.3 IPTV
9.3 Social media
9.4 Start-ups
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Market analysis
10.2 Mobile statistics
10.2.1 General statistics
10.2.2 Mobile voice
10.2.3 Mobile data
10.3 Mobile broadband statistics
10.4 Regulatory issues
10.4.1 Third Mobile licence Tamin Telecom
10.4.2 Second GSM licence Irancell
10.5 Mobile infrastructure
10.5.1 Digital networks
10.6 Other infrastructure developments
10.6.1 GPRS
10.7 Major mobile operators
10.7.1 TCI/Mobile Communications Iran (MCI)/Hamrah-e-Avval
10.7.2 MTN Irancell
10.7.3 Tamin Telecom (Rightel)
10.7.4 Taliya/Rafsanjan Industrial Complex Islamic Cooperative Company (RIC)
10.7.5 Mobile Telecommunications Company of Isfahan (MTCE)
10.7.6 Telecommunications Kish Company (TKC)
10.8 Mobile content and applications
10.8.1 m-banking (payments/loans)
10.8.2 Apps
10.9 Mobile handsets
11. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Iran 2016
Table 2 Telecom infrastructure investment 2014
Table 3 Telephone network statistics 2016
Table 4 Internet subscriber statistics 2016
Table 5 Fixed broadband statistics 2016
Table 6 Mobile statistics 2016
Table 7 National telecommunications authority
Table 8 GDP growth and inflation 2008 - 2016
Table 9 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1995 - 2016
Table 10 International Internet bandwidth 2002 - 2014
Table 11 Internet users and penetration estimates 1996 - 2016
Table 12 Fixed broadband subscribers 2000 - 2016
Table 13 Household PC penetration 2002 - 2016
Table 14 Forecast fixed broadband subscribers higher growth scenario 2016, 2019; 2024
Table 15 Forecast fixed broadband subscribers lower growth scenario 2016, 2019; 2024
Table 16 Irancell WiMAX subscribers 2012 2015
Table 17 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
Table 18 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2016
Table 19 Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2012 - 2015
Table 20 MTN Irancell data revenue as percentage of total revenue 2009 2015
Table 21 MTN Irancell Revenue and CAPEX 2009 - 2014
Table 22 MTN Irancell Subscribers, ARPU and MOU 2006 Q1 2015
Exhibit 1 Privatisation of TCI
Exhibit 2 Bitcoin

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