Internet data services by Iranian mobile networks are accountable for 11% of the total revenue from the country’s communication sector.
According to Iran’s Deputy Minister of Communications, with the increase of social media usage, the revenue of mobile networks from text messaging and phone calls has decreased. “Due to the increased volume of text messages over social networks, operators income from SMS has dropped from 7% to 3% and for phone calls it has dropped from 17% to 12%,” said Hosseiazn Fallah Joshaghani, Deputy Minister of Communications, as reported by Mehr News.
According to this Iranian official at the beginning of Rouhani’s government in 2013, the country’s volume of mobile phone market was 10 thousand and 800 billion Toman (2.7 billion dollars), and it reached to 22 thousand and 600 billion Toman (5.6 billion dollars) until this summer.
“In the Persian year 1390 (2011), the revenue from voice calls amounted to over 51% of the total revenue from the communications sector, which now due to the increase of social media usage it has decreased to 40%,” said Joshaghani. But just like other mobile network operators, Iran’s mobile telecommunication is moving towards building profitable revenue streams from mobile data services. According to Joshaghani, in 2011 mobile operators’ revenue from data services was 4%, and right now it has reached to 11%.
Telegram messenger which acts as a social network in Iran is the main reason for this change of consumer behavior in the country. According to the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance there are currently 47 million active social media users in Iran.
According to Iran’s Deputy Minister of Communications, on average Iranians use 2.7 Gigabytes of mobile data per month while this number for Turkey is 2.8 and for UK it’s 1.8 Gigabytes. According to the latest statistics by Iran’s Ministry of Communications, mobile internet users in the country have reached to 41 million and mobile phone penetration has reached to 104.13%. Iran’s major mobile network operators have a fierce competition in serving faster and more reliable internet services to users specially now that a number of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) launched their services recently.
Currently, Hamrah-e Aval (MCI) has the best mobile coverage in Iran, while Irancell has faster and cheaper internet data service and Rightel the most viable 3G network in Tehran. Currently, the network coverage for roads and the railways of the country by MCI, Irancell and Rightel are 82.63%, 39.29% and 23.4% respectively. Also the penetration rate for MCI is 62.05% while for Irancell is 40.1% and for Rightel 2.08%.