According to the head of Iran’s Mobile Phone Importers Association, American companies have 18 percent share in Iran’s Mobile Market. This market share is mainly associated with Apple iPhone devices which are unofficially sold in Iran.
Although Apple has no official distributor or reseller in Iran, its expensive products such as iPhone, iPad and MacBooks are widely available and sold in the country. By taking a walk in the shopping streets and malls in Tehran, you can see Apple’s logo in front of many stores. Even Apple’s highly-anticipated flagship, iPhone X was seen in Tehran’s Paytakht Computer Complex in less than 24 hours of its release in the US for prices as high as 6 thousand dollars. Now, after a few days of its release, mobile shops in Tehran are selling the 64 Gb model of iPhone X for 5.6 million Tomans (1,400 USD), and the 256 Gb for 7 million Tomans (1,750 USD).
According to Seyed Mahmoud Saffar, head of Iran’s Mobile Phone Importers Association, American companies have 18 percent share in Iran’s mobile market. He did not mention the name of any specific company, but it’s assumed that he’s pointing to Apple’s products which are pretty popular in Iran. “An American mobile phone brand sales over 3 million devices per year in the Iranian market,” said Saffar. Previously, Iran’s ICT Minister, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi had stated that Apple has 11 percent share in Iran’s mobile market.
Without mentioning any names, Saffar also pointed out two other Chinese and Korean companies which have 70 percent of the mobile market in Iran. Unlike Apple, Samsung and Huawei have official resellers in Iran and heavily advertise their products in the country.
During the first 6 months of the current Persian year, over one million and 140 thousand mobile devices were imported legally into the country according to Iran Customs Administration. UAE with over 66 million dollars, China with over 36 million dollars and South Korea with over 27 million dollars have been the three major exporters of mobile devices to Iran during this period. This data represents the legally imported smartphones which is just 5% to 10% of the total smartphones imported to the country.
According to Saffar, 12 to 15 million smartphones have been sold in Iran in the past year; while 90% to 95% of the smartphones are smuggled into the country. That’s why the government has recently decided to register every mobile device that is imported into the country using the unique IMEI code of every device. Every mobile phone that is not officially imported won’t be able to connect to Iranian mobile network operators. According to officials visitors who are coming to Iran can use a local sim card for their devices up to 30 days, or they can use another country’s sim card and use the roaming services.