Telegram is the king of messaging app/social media in Iran with more than 40 million users. Basically, everything is happening on Telegram and today we are going to take a look at Telegram usage statistics and its history in Iran.


TechRasa in partnership with Nazar Bazaar has gathered statistics on State of Internet & Social Media Usage for the very first time in the country. In these series of infographics, we gathered data on 9 different social media platforms and messaging apps using Nazar Bazaar tools for market research. 3707 Iranians from the age of 18 to 65 have answered our questionnaire; of which 2829 were men and 878 were women. The data that we represent today is based on Telegram’s users in Iran.


Telegram history in Iran

Telegram was founded by Pavel Durov in August 2013, nearly 4 years ago. Approximately in mid-2014, the messaging app started to gain popularity among Iranian users. It’s not yet known how this messaging app got popular in the country since that time it had around 30 to 40 million users. However, one thing is for certain. In that time Viber was the main messaging app in the country and it got somehow banned by the government meaning it got so slow to the point that people couldn’t use it. This is when Telegram started to get noticed in Iran and pushed away messaging apps such as Line.


Channels and bots were the keys

In 2015, Telegram cornered Line, one of its competitors by simplistic design and useful features for Iranian market. One of the main useful features of Telegram in that time was channels. With the introduction of Channels in Telegram, the use of messaging apps changed dramatically. Messaging apps were not that important, mainly because there was nothing important going on there. With the introduction of channels by Telegram as a tool for broadcasting messages to a large audience in September 2015, Channels have changed it all. Channels are a one-way communication platform where there is only a broadcaster as a sender, so people who join the channel can only receive messages.

Creating the Channel concept was the origin of changing people’s behavior regarding the messaging apps. People started to realize the potentials of these apps. Channels gave many companies the ability to communicate with their customers directly. And this was only because of one little tweak, communicating through a one-way channel.

Another cool feature which Telegram brought was the bots. Bots are Telegram accounts operated by software (not people) and they’ll often have AI features. They can do anything such as teach, play, search, broadcast, remind, connect, integrate with other services, or even pass commands to the Internet of Things.

These features along with super groups brought new opportunities in the market, and many companies started to use Telegram as one of their main social media channels. You can read a lot more about Telegram’s impact in Iran here.


Farsi content got resurrected by Telegram

Many Iranian social media influencers are using this app to write short blog posts or share multimedia content. Being able to publish micro content was the key for Iranians to fall in love with this functionality of Telegram. Keep in mind that Twitter is blocked in the country. “According to statistics by the National Center for Cyberspace, the number of public Farsi channels on Telegram has passed 555 thousand today, and the published content over these channels have broken records and reached to near 1.1 billion,” said Dr. Assadpour, Head of Research Center at Iran’s National Center for Cyberspace. He even went further and said:

 “If we combine the number of created content over social media and other messaging apps to the ones on Telegram, we can say that the number of created content on these networks over a year will surpass the number of overall content since the beginning of Farsi web.”

You can read more about this milestone here.


Telegram channels have generated 23.3 million dollars in revenue

In the past three years, Telegram has been experiencing an unbelievable traction in Iran to the point that people are making serious money on this platform. As the largest hub to host Farsi content, it’s no big news that the channels could generate this kind of revenue.

Telegram is not a simple messaging app in Iran and is basically a platform with social media functionality. When a channel posts a content, people would send these posts to supergroups where tons of people are gathered to see the posts related to their interest. Basically, channels would publish content, then people would forward the posts to their friends, family, business groups or any group with a topic of their interest. This way, you can share pictures, texts, clips or any type of content based on your topic of interest into groups, channels (if you have a channel) or contacts.

When there are only a limited number of unblocked social media platforms where businesses could advertise, that’s where Telegram enters the game organically. In channels where the functionality is only broadcasting, if you are creating a good content you can become a publisher for advertisers.

You can read more about this topic and how we calculated this number from here.


Telegram and the story with the Iranian government

Working in Iran is hard, the business culture is different to some extent, plus the heat of online businesses started in 2013-2014 with the expansion of the mobile internet. Iran is a country of 80 million people with 48 million smartphones and 47 million social media users and 41 million mobile internet users and it all happened in just a 3-years time. This jump caused the regulatory to fall behind the technology advancements and its use among the people. So there has been a lack of regulations regarding the new technologies such as messaging apps in the country.

It was only in the beginning of 2017 that Iran Supreme Council of Cyberspace announced the new regulations for foreign messaging apps and social media platforms. You can read about the regulations regarding the messaging apps/social media platforms here and a million dollar incentives for the local messaging apps/social media platforms here.

At beginning of 2017, Iran’s Cyber Police announced that 66% of Cybercrimes in Iran take place on Telegram. Up until today, Telegram is the biggest host of these criminal activities. This is another issue that government is currently working on.


Moving Telegram’s servers inside Iran or using CDNs?

In August 2015, the Iranian ICT Ministry announced that Telegram had agreed to restrict some of its bots, channels and sticker packs in Iran at the request of the Iranian government. Furthermore, The Iranian government wanted Telegram to move its servers inside the country since 40 million Iranians are using this app and they wanted to make sure that people’s data are safe and secure. This issue has made too many headlines in the country since the terminology between Iranians and Pavel Durov were different or at least seemed different.

“It’s pretty obvious that Telegram can’t comply with such demands due to our strict Privacy Policy. We won’t be able to put the privacy of our users at risk, even if rejecting such demands means getting blocked in some countries. We’d rather lose a big market (like we did in China) than compromise a single byte of private data of our users,” said Durov on his Telegram channel. “some politicians and journalists discussing “servers” of a company in a country are confused about the terms and what they actually mean by “servers”. Along with a company’s servers that store private data in safe places, there also are internet providers that deliver its encrypted traffic to users, and third party caching nodes (CDNs) that make sure popular public content doesn’t go twice around the globe every time to reach its users.”


Blocking Telegram’s voice call feature only after a few days

Under the pressure of mobile network operators, Telegram’s voice call feature got blocked by the Iranian court order only after few days of its launch in Iran.

It only took 4 days for the mobile network operators to get a court order to block Telegram’s voice call feature. The news of this court order went viral and showed that how much the carriers are devastated because of this new feature. And it wasn’t only mobile internet providers which blocked Telegram’s voice call. Every other internet provider in the country blocked this service as well.


Telegram Usage Statistics in Iran

Without any further ado let’s get into Telegram’s usage statistics in Iran. This infographic reflects the user behavior of Telegram users in Iran.

Check out the infographic below to see Telegram’s usage statistics in Iran and find out:

  • How often Iranians use Telegram
  • How often Iranians check Telegram during the day
  • How long the average session is for Iranians on Telegram
  • During which hours Iranians check Telegram
  • Main reasons why Iranians use Telegram
  • How much Iranians trust Telegram as a source of news
Telegram Usage Statistics in Iran
Telegram Usage Statistics in Iran

You can check these articles if you are interested to know more about the state of social media usage in Iran:



We thank Clickyab our sponsor for this article




Clickyab is one of Iran’s leading Ad Networks. The company is the leader of the market in CPC pricing model in Iran with nearly 40% market share and over 3 billion impressions per month.

Read more about Clickyab from this link.

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