Latest statistics on Iran’s mobile network operators’ market share has been released by the Iranian ICT Ministry. These statistics reveal heavy improvements over the past four years with 41.1 million mobile broadband subscribers.


The first 3G network was brought by Rightel in 2012. The company was founded in 2011 and it had exclusivity on 3G network until the end of April 2013, which was extended until the end of September 2014. This exclusivity kept the country from developing 3G networks by the other mobile network operators such as MCI and Irancell for nearly 3 to 4 years. 

With President Rouhani winning the elections in June 2013, the exclusivity ended in September 2014. This was a turning point in Iran’s ICT history since the other two mobile network operators started to deploy their 3G and 4G networks instantly. Therefore, most of the development that we are talking about in this article is from September 2014, until June 2017.


A country with 63.3% of 3G and 4G penetration rate and 41.1 million mobile broadband subscribers

According to the Iranian ICT Ministry, at the beginning of the first term of Rouhani’s presidency in June 2013, there were only 943 3G and 4G BTS (Base Transceiver Station) devices around the country with a population coverage of 42% and a penetration rate of 0.8%. This number has increased to 43,500 3G and 4G BTS devices until June 2017, with population coverage of 63.3% and a penetration rate of 43.2%. 4G networks was first introduced in the country in September 2014. Up until June 2017, 693 cities have been covered with 4G networks which translate into 34.4% population coverage and 8% penetration rate with 6.4 million subscribers.


The number of cities covered by 3G networks until the end of June 2017 based on each mobile network operator:

  • MCI: 1,057 cities (94% of the cities)
  • Irancell: 894 cities
  • Rightel: 491 cities


The number of cities covered by 4G networks until the end of June 2017 based on each mobile network operator: 

  • MCI: 693 cities
  • Irancell: 598 cities
  • Rightel: None


The number of mobile broadband (3G and 4G) subscribers until the end of June 2017 based on each mobile network operator:

  • MCI: 23.6 million subscribers
  • Irancell: 15.8 million subscribers
  • Rightel: 1.7 million subscribers


Mobile broadband (3G and 4G) subscribers’ market share until the end of June 2017 based on each mobile network operator:

  • MCI: 57.4%
  • Irancell: 38.6%
  • Rightel: 4%


MCI the leading Iranian mobile network operator

According to these statistics released by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology by the end of June 2017, the first mobile network operator of Iran, MCI, has the largest share of the mobile broadband (mobile Internet) and the highest penetration of 3G and 4G networks in the country based on the number of subscribers and coverage in cities.

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