In recent years, a great evolution and development in telecommunication areas is happening and cellphones accessibility for people is growing with a sharp trend. As the “World Bank” reported, there are more than 6 billion mobile subscribers. In many developed and developing countries, mobile phone penetration rate crosses 100 percent. This means that in these countries, number of SIM cards surpassed number of people. Telecommunication industry is exposed to modern areas like Broad Band, Data, Added-Value services, mobile banking and etc. These days, introduction of third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) of mobile communications have directed mobile operators to setting up 3G and 4G to meet the needs of their users and consequently increase their revenue. Through this, mobile users can experience higher speed in order to connect to the internet comparing to past years. In Iran, main mobile operators begin to launch 3G and 4G and they are trying to cover the whole country by these services.

In this article, first we take a look at overview of Telecommunication Industry in Iran, which is reported by Ministry of Communication and Information Technology for the end of 1394(Persian Calendar) 20th March 2016:

Index Number Penetration Rate
Phone Dyer 30,262,157 38.24%
Mobile active subscribers 75,983,528 96.46%
Mobile and fixed Broadband subscribers 27,923,665 35.44%

 

ICT industry overview in Iran 1

 

ICT industry overview in Iran 2

 

 

ICT industry overview in Iran 3

 

 

The chart of mobile penetration rate in Iran shows increasing usage of mobile phones. considering the growth rate, Iran probably can reach the developing countries in terms of mobile penetration rate. Also, the International bandwidth and IP capacity charts for Iran shows that huge investments on internet areas take place in order to provide service for new waves of Internet users which are highly increasing by the introduction of 3G and 4G. It seems that the number of these users will grow exponentially in the years to come, therefore the volume of investment in this area should increase significantly.

There are 3 main mobile operators which hold the major share of mobile network in Iran in terms of mobile users. Hamrah-e-Avval (Also known as Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran) started its activities in 1993. In 2003, in order to break the monopoly in this sector, Irancell, which is a joint company with MTN (an African head quartered company), received its activity permission from communications regulatory authority (CRA). Also in 2011, Rightel received the license as the third-operator of Iran from CRA. The market shares of these operators is shown in the chart below:

 

 

market share

Smartphones:

In recent years appearance and development of smartphones have the highest impact in telecommunication Industry. Increasing usage of the smartphones leads to significant growth on usage of internet and bandwidth, data, added-value services, internet sales and etc. In addition, it caused the invention and development of USSDs, mobile banks and other modern services. The penetration rate of smartphones around the world is shown in the map below:

 

ICT industry overview in Iran 5

 

In Iran demand for smartphone is increasing and the penetration rate of smartphones was 52% at the end of 2015. It is expected that it will accelerate in upcoming years just like other countries. Expansion of smartphones usage won’t lead only to more usage of internet by users, but it will have an impact on social networks usage also. At the moment, 60 percent of smartphones users in Iran are using Telegram (a messaging application), which ranks Iran in the first place in terms of users of this application around the world. Beside this, abundant number of phone-based startups set up in Iran during the recent years. While global and famous online shopping websites like Amazon, e-bay, cannot offer their services in Iran for now, many alternative applications start to offer a similar service in Iran. A considerable number of these applications are successful in their field and they were able to attract both foreign and domestic investors to invest on their activities and projects. Due to the volume of Investments on these startups, it seems they can experience great growth in Iran as this field has a huge potential for investors. These startups are active in various online shopping fields like online order of food, clothes and etc., online reservation applications for hotels, taxies and lots of other fields which are modeled from foreign samples.

Conclusion:

According to the all above, we can conclude that ICT industry and the technologies related to ICT are growing exponentially in Iran, and if a good volume of investment being made in this field, it can be expected that ICT will have a very significant share of GDP. Also due to the fact that application’s startups are not reach their maturity and there are numerous samples around the world which are still unknown in Iran, working on these apps in order to localize them for Iran can highly benefits the investors in this field.