In recent years the international community identified Iran as lagging behind in terms of broadband infrastructure and access, particularly when compared to other GCC member states. However in 2014 there are encouraging moves underway to improve this situation, with the FttX operator Iraninan-net currently deploying a fibre network which aims to have 8 million customers by 2020.
Broadband penetration is also improving due to the growing number of competing ISPs, made possible through a licensing scheme. Competition has also improved following the launch of alternative infrastructure-based offerings centred on WiMAX.
In 2014 there are four companies licensed to provide WiMAX services, including MobinNet, MTN Irancell; MTCE and Rayaneh Danesh. In 2013 Datak Telecom failed to obtain ongoing authorization to continue to offer WiMAX services.
Despite these progressive developments; censorship in Iran appears to be increasing with Iraq utilising China’s experience on how to implement Internet control using Iran’s National Internet Network. In addition social media apps have been banned at various times including Instagram, Facebook , YouTube and Twitter and all Iranian’s are required to register their websites with the Ministry of Art and Culture.
Other potential inhibitors to growth in Iran include the government’s tight control of the telecoms market combined with the general economic situation and international sanctions. One bright spot however is the mobile sector which has shown strong growth.
With a young population willing to embrace technology; Iran has seen huge growth in mobile subscriber numbers in response to competition over the past 8 years. It now has nearly 90% mobile penetration and there is still room for continued revenue growth. Mobile data services are available but account for only a small proportion of total revenue. This is expected to increase over time as it becomes clear that mobile data services will increasingly underpin future revenue growth.
For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Iran – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts
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