According to Iran Customs, the value of imported cellular handset into the country amounted to 342 million U.S. dollars in the past 10 months.
It seems that despite the criticisms, the “mobile phones registry scheme” in Iran has been quite a success. Previously most of the mobile phones in Iran were smuggled into the country until the government disrupted the market by requiring all mobile phones to be registered in a national database. Any new mobile device that was imported into the country after the implementation of the registry scheme is required to pay a specific tariff to Iran Customs.
According to Tasnim, in the first 10 months of the current Persian year (March 2017), imported cellular handset amounts to 342 million dollars, while during the same period in the past year this value was 175 million dollars, which shows a 95 percent increase.
The scheme was kicked off with four American mobile brands (iPhone, Motorola, Blackberry and Google Pixel) in the first phase, which make up to 11 percent of the total volume of the financial transactions in this sector. However these mobile brands have 40 percent of the mobile phone market turnover in the country.
Previously, the head of Iran’s Mobile Phone Importers Association had said that American companies have 18 percent share in Iran’s Mobile Market which is mainly associated with iPhone devices that are being unofficially sold in Iran.
According to government officials until February, over 11 thousand and 509 mobile devices from the mentioned American mobile brands have been deactivated.
If a mobile device is illegally imported and not registered in the national database, mobile networks would add the device to their blacklist meaning that the phone won’t be able to use the local cellular networks. If a mobile device is brought into the country by a traveller they would be able to use the device for up to 30 days. However, after that time the phone’s cellular network would be blocked unless the owner pays its tax duty. To date, over 10 thousand mobile phones have been registered by the travelers coming to Iran by paying the customs fee.