With the request of Iran’s ICT Minister, a number of mobile and fixed operators have provided Iranian citizens with free public WiFi services around the country.
Although WiFi offloading -which is the use of complementary network technologies for delivering data for targeted cellular networks- was previously available in Iran, right now the number of free Internet access spots provided by four operators has reached to 66. Asia Tech, Hamrah-e Aval (MCI), Irancell and Rightel are the pioneer operators which offer this free service in Iran.
Most of these public WiFi spots are located in shopping malls, hospitals, airports and railway stations and a number of them are located on the border of Iran and Iraq where millions of Iranians take part in Arba’een Pilgrimage and make their journey to the city of Karbala on foot. Iranian mobile operators have been offering their services to their Iranian subscribers during this annual pilgrimage inside the borders of Iraq in the past years.
According to official statistics, in 2012, Iran’s mobile penetration was 80.6 percent but it reached to 104 percent in June 2017. The country’s total number of mobile users has reached to 41.1 million subscribers, which shows a 6920 percent growth, according to Tasnim News.
After the end of Rightel’s 3G monopoly in 2014, Hamrah-e Aval and Irancell quickly implemented their 3G and 4G across the country. Currently Hamrah-e Aval, Irancell and Rightel provide 3G networks in 1057, 894 and 491 cities respectively. In 2011, Iranian mobile operators’ revenue from data services was 4%, and right now it has reached to 11%. Read more about this and its reason from this link.
In other news, Pars Online, one of Iran’s major ISPs merged with HiWEB a key player in the country’s telecommunication market. HiWEB acts as a Private Access Provider (PAP) and has obtained trunked radio license in 2015 and Fixed Communication Provider (FCP) license in 2016 by Communication Regulatory Authority.
Last year, UK’s Vodafone and HiWEB, announced a non-equity Partner Market agreement for Iran. In which Vodafone agreed to assist HiWEB in developing and modernizing its IT infrastructure and expanding its Internet services under the HiWEB brand.