A couple years of riding the merry-go-round is the best way to describe Iran’s national fiber optic project. Can the monopoly holder Iranian Net commence this infrastructure project or will other national and international companies take over?
Iranian Net also known as the “Fourth Operator”, was established in 2011 and acquired the national monopoly on Iran’s national fiber optic project. As of know, Iran still does not posses a fiber internet connection for home and businesses. The closest thing to a broadband internet in Iran still runs on the old school telephone line based ADSL. This monopoly has also pushed internet providers to go wireless. Irancell’s TD-LTE is a good example of internet expansion to wireless in Iran.
Fiber or cable internet has always played a big role in boosting the ICT sector in countries and also a key factor in providing quality internet to users. Iranian Net, the company responsible for building and developing Iran’s national fiber optic network has had a very poor progress in reaching it’s initial goal. Little less than a year ago, the government agreed to extend the monopoly of this company over the project to 3 more years once a new business plan and strategy was in place.
Regulators on this specific subject have also had concerns over the contract of Iranian Net in finally executing this project. Iranian net has now only 1.5 months to finally provide its suggested edit in its license contract. If this doesn’t happen and these companies fails in raising foreign investment in the next 1.5 months, this company will lose it’s monopoly on this project.
Currently Iranian Net is in talks with a few foreign investors and potential partners to further cover the financing and technology transfer of this project. As talked before, South African MTN has also announced its interest in partnering and investing in this company if its monopoly license gets renewed. According to Tasnim News, MTN is more probable to win in the negotiations amongst its competitors. The government is also more happy if MTN invests in this project as it will prevent this company to extract this large amount of fund from the country, and pure it back to the country as investment. Recently MTN reinvested 22 million euros in IIG (Iran Internet Company) which holds 4 startups including the famous Uber clone Snapp.
Will Iranian Net finally make up to its poor performance and start building Iran’s national fiber optic network which is long overdue? Or will it completely fail resulting a half or even a full decade delay of having this service in Iran. We will be sure to have more insight on this phenomena in 1.5 months as it will be finally decided.