Every week we’ll be bringing you the highlights of Iran’s tech scene in the past week. This week, we covered iPhone’s market share in Iran, protest and strike in Iran’s mobile market, and Iranian versions of Telegram acting as a VPN service.
Apple’s iPhone Has a 17% Market Share in Iran’s Mobile Market
According to Iran’s Customs, during the first two months of the current Persian year (March 2018), over 736 thousand mobile phones with a value of over 109 million dollars have been imported into Iran. Last year, during the same period over 282 thousand mobile devices with a value of over 41 million dollars had been imported into the country.
According to ISNA, previously the Head of the Union of Audio, Video and Mobile Devices had mentioned that 15 million mobile phones are imported into Iran every year, and iPhone’s market share in Iran’s mobile market is 17%.
Protest and Strike in Iran’s Mobile Market
On Sunday, June 24th, the resellers of two of the main mobile shopping malls in Tehran, named Charsou and Aladdin, closed their shops during a protest. According to ITmen, this strike was due to the currency crisis in the country and the recession in the market.
Last week, the government announced that a unified rate of 42,000 Rials for a Dollar will not be allocated to the mobile importers. The Iranian Rial has been losing value since the beginning of the Persian new year, and as this article is being written every dollar in Iran’s free market is worth 90,000 Rials.
As a result, the mobile market in Iran has been hit with recession and the prices have become unaffordable for the majority of people. After the protests, Iran’s ICT Minister visited Charsou mall and stated that mobile phones and computer equipments today have become a requirement of people’s lives, and he will strive to provide the unified currency rate for the importers.
Later, the ICT Ministry announced the names of 54 companies which had previously requested the “unified rate” from the government to import over 7 million mobile devices with a value of over 580 million euros, which the government only accepted 220 million euros of the requests. However, only 140 thousand mobile devices with a value of over 75 million Euros have been cleared by the customs. Some unofficial sources have claimed that the rest of the currency which was allocated to these companies (145 million euros) have been sold in the black market.
Iranian Versions of Telegram Acting as a VPN Service
In a series of Tweets, Abolhassan Firouzabadi, Iran’s Secretary of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace said that two Iranian versions of Telegram, named Hotgram and Telegram Talaei (Talagram), have been acting as a VPN for Iranians, and are freely operating while the original app is officially blocked in the country by the authorities.
He claimed that some of the authorities in Iran’s cyberspace have let these two apps to bypass the ban. He added that today these two applications have over 26 million users.