During a recent event, CEO of Iran’s first mobile network operator (MCI) gave a performance review of the company to the public. MCI currently owns 58% of the SIM cards sold in the country.
Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran, also known as MCI or Hamrah-e Aval is the first mobile network operator in Iran. In terms of the number of users, MCI is currently ranked number one in Iran, the Middle East and South Asia. After the appearance of new mobile network operators in Iran, MCI struggled to keep up with the new demands and services expected by the customers and eventually gave away some of its market share to the new players.
Irancell, the biggest competitor of MCI is providing high quality 4G-LTE service to its customers, while Rightel, the other player of the market is providing a more stable 3G and 4G internet around the country with limited coverage. This has led MCI to rethink some of its strategies and invest more on bringing new services to its network. According to Vahid Sadoughi, CEO of MCI, in the Persian year of 1395 (last year), this operator issued 10 million SIM cards, of which 9.3 million of them have been registered and 800,000 of them are post paid. According to Sadoughi, the other operators in the country have less than 70,000 post paid subscribers. Today MCI owns 58% of the SIM cards sold in the country.
In August 2016, Communication Regulatory Authority Of The I.R. Iran, required Iranian mobile operators to implement MNP (Mobile Number Portability) in order to increase the competition between the mobile network operators. This project actually compiled the operators to provide better services to their customers in order to keep their subscribers. According to Sadoughi, after the implementation of MNP in Iran, MCI saw a decrease in the number of its users. During this time MCI started to invest on its internet services and after 44 weeks of the MNP implementation, the company finally witnessed an increase in its user base. Sadoughi also proclaimed that MCI and Rightel eventually attracted 5,200 and 1,800 subscribers to their networks respectively while Irancell lost 7,000 of its subscribers.
CEO of MCI also stated that 1,705 cities and villages are now under the coverage of MCI’s 3G or 4G networks. “For this development, 10 thousand tons of equipments were imported to the country, and over the Persian years of 1391 and 1395, 10,300 billion Tomans (2.7 billion USD) capital has been invested,” said Sadoughi. “Every year GSMA website announces the biggest developments of mobile operators. Operators of China with 97 thousand launched sites, another operator of China with 74 thousand sites, MCI with 12 thousand sites and an operator from India with 11 thousand sites had the most developments in the last 3 months in the world,” he added. Sadoughi also stated that MCI’s total deposit to the treasury in the Persian year of 1395 was 6,000 billion Tomans (1.6 billion USD).
The three mobile network operators in Iran are competing hard, and new players are also entering the market which would eventually lead to better services for subscribers.