The story of Iran’s broadband network plan, and the fiber optic infrastructure has been quite a roller coaster ride. A company called Iranian Net (AKA the forth operator, after MCI, MTN Irancell and Rightel), founded in 2011, was given a five year monopoly on constructing and expanding Iran’s Fiber Optic Infrastructure. Recently, the government has extended the contract to 3 additional years, giving Iranian Net monopoly over the project until the year 2019.
Iran’s current state of internet infrastructure is not something to brag. Mobile internet has had tremendous growth with the coming of 4G, however the internet technology used for home and business subscribers are still on the outdated DSL technology. Broadband fiber internet is yet to be accessed. According to Tasnim news, Iranian Net’s operations in the past 4 years of its monopoly contract has not been impressive. Even though there were plenty of interest in investing on this project, the government chose to extend the contract for 3 years.
MTN is in talks to take over Iran’s national fiber optic project, according to Tasnim news. A company called Delta Partners which is the sole strategic and financial advisor of MTN Irancell, which also initiated the partnership deal with Rocket Internet. This company is also the financial advisor of Iranian Net, said Tasnim. MTN is in talks to invest in Iranian Net and get control of the project in this sense. Apparently, The Iranian Net company is open to MTN Irancell’s proposals on this project, and the Iranian government has also given green lights to cooperate with MTN.
We are yet to see an announcement on the state of the broadband network project. It is said that an MTN delegation from South Africa will land this week to discuss this opportunity.
Experts say foreign investments on Iran’s national fiber optic network will help the project to process faster, as Iran is few years behind on this technology from the internet user’s side. We anticipate to see even a higher growth in Iran’s already-high internet penetration, when Iranians get access to broadband internet, and also a slight GDP boost through this.