Telegram finally activated its voice call feature in Iran. This feature might put an end to Telegram or keep it as the dominant messaging app in the country.
Telegram is the most popular messaging app in Iran which acts as the largest social media as well, simply because of its channel and group features. Imagine if there is a breaking news, the first place that people would read about it is on Telegram. And it’s not only news, any kind of content whether its text-based or multimedia it would normally get viral on Telegram. This app is basically the platform to publish short or even medium size content in Iran.
Few days ago there was a news regarding the negotiations between Iran’s Ministry of Communications and Telegram for bringing the voice call feature for Iranians. It’s interesting to know that Pavel Durov denied any arrangements with any government on his twitter account. He also mentioned the efforts of other messaging apps entering Iran which you can read about it here.
According to the Minister of Communications, activating voice calls for Telegram depended on the mobile network operators in the country, since these networks have invested hefty budgets on their infrastructure. Ministry of Communications also announced that there was a committee doing research to assess the effects of Telegram voice call on Mobile Network Operators’ business. But apparently, Telegram didn’t wait for this research to be done and rolled out its voice call feature for Iranians. It’s interesting to point out that according to the experts at the Ministry of Communications there is no way to just filter out the voice feature of Telegram without blocking the whole app in the country, but we are not sure about it yet.
Yesterday Telegram activated the voice call feature for Iranian users but the service got blocked a few hours later. The irony is that the news of blocking Telegram’s voice call feature was circulating on Telegram itself. A few hours after this incident, the voice call feature got fixed but it’s not known yet if the operators blocked the voice calls or it was just an overload on the app. But according to Pavel Durov on his official Twitter account, it was the operators which filtered the voice call feature. We should mention that the operators have no authority over censoring or filtering the online services and it’s solely the responsibility of the Committee for Determining Instances of Criminal Content to determine whether an online service should be blocked or not.
There is also good news from the Iranian officials regarding this issue. The head of ICT Committee of Iran’s Parliament, Ramezan-Ali Sobhanifar also made his position clear and pointed out that the operators should be open to new services and should adapt to them and even bring in the new services themselves. “If today we don’t allow Telegram’s voice call in the country soon other services would come and would threaten the operators’ business. The global trend of operator revenue is toward providing mobile internet, not the voice call,” said Ramezan-Ali Sobhanifar. It appears that the government wants to support the new online services and shake the monopoly of Mobile Network Operators over voice calls.
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