Communications In Iran



See also: Demographics of Iran

The government runs the broadcast media, which includes three national radio stations and two national television networks, as well as dozens of local radio and television stations. In 2000 there were 252 radios, 158 television sets, 219 telephone lines, and 110 personal computers for every 1,000 residents. Computers for home use became more affordable in the mid-1990s, and since then demand for access to the Internet has increased rapidly. In 1998, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (renamed the Ministry of Information & Communication Technology) began selling Internet accounts to the general public. In 2006, the Iranian telecom industry’s revenues were estimated at $1.2 billion. By the end of 2009, Iran’s telecom market was the fourth-largest market in the region at $9.2 billion and is expected to grow to $12.9 billion by 2014 at a CAGR of 6.9 percent.

The Fourth Five Year Economic Development Plan has proposed the following key benchmarks for 2010: 36 million fixed lines; 50% penetration rate for mobile phones; establishment of reliable rural ICT connections and 30 million internet users. Given the recent developments of the industry, the objectives are very likely to be achieved.

More than 23 million Iranians have access to the Internet and over 45 million own mobile phones. Tech-savvy citizens use text messages to communicate with friends and browse the Internet which the government controls in terms of access and speed for a multiplicity of purposes. Blogging is also immensely popular. Iran is among 5 countries with cyber warfare capabilities according to the Defense Tech institute (US military and security institute).


See also: Media of Iran

The press in Iran is privately owned and reflects a diversity of political and social views. A special court has authority to monitor the print media and may suspend publication or revoke the licenses of papers or journals that a jury finds guilty of publishing antireligious material, slander, or information detrimental to the national interest. Since the late 1990s the court has shut down many pro-reform newspapers and other periodicals. Most Iranian newspapers are published in Persian, but newspapers in English and other languages also exist. The most widely circulated periodicals are based in Tehrn. Popular daily and weekly newspapers include Ettelaat, Kayhan, Resalat, Iran Daily and the Tehran Times (both are English-language papers).


See also: Iranian Space Agency

Since the 1970s, there have been a number of proposals for a state-owned communications satellite, called Zohreh (en:Venus) from 1993 onwards. The planned satellite w ould have similar capabilities to a commercially-produced Western satellite, while such capabilities are already provided through leases owned by the Iranian telecommunications sector. Most recently, an agreement was signed between Iran and Russia in 2005 to develop the satellite with a planned launch date of 2007, but the launch has been postponed until at least 2009, set to follow actual construction of the satellite.


Inadequate but currently being modernized and expanded with the goal of not only improving the efficiency and increasing the volume of the urban service but also bringing telephone service to several thousand villages, not presently connected.


As a result of heavy investing in the telephone system since 1994, thousands of mobile cellular subscribers are being served; moreover, the technical level of the system has been raised by the installation of thousands of digital switches.


24.8 million (2008), with a penetration rate of 34%.

Mobile phone

Mobile: 41 million (Nov. 2008) from 35 million (early 2008) and 4.3 million in 2004.

Penetration rate: 60% as of January 2009.

Short Text Messages: Iranians send 80 million SMS per day (Nov. 2008).

Major mobile operators: Telecommunication Company of Iran (MCI/Hamrah Aval) with 70% market share in 2008, MTN Irancell (28%), Taliya (1%), and Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat) who won a license for 300 million euros in December 2008. The two national operators, Mobile Company of Iran (MCI) and MTN Irancell both offer GPRS-based data services.

Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat and Tamin Telecom, the telecommunications investment arm of Iran so cial security and pensions department, will gain exclusive rights for two years to offer second- and third-generation services (3G) in Iran (2008). Assuming a minimum network investment of $4 billion, Etisalat can gain about 20 percent to 25% market share over five years of its operations (by 2013). In 2009 it was announced that Etisalat, however, failed to secure the right to be Iran exclusive 3G operator for two years. Later, Tamin Telecom announced that, IDRO and Imam Khomeini Decree Center have replaced Etisalat because of contractual disagreements.


Submarine fiber-optic cable to UAE with access to Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); Trans Asia Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line runs from Azerbaijan through the northern portion of Iran to Turkmenistan with expansion to Georgia and Azerbaijan; HF radio and microwave radio relay to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Kuwait, T ajikistan, and Uzbekistan; satellite earth stations – 13 (9 Intelsat and 4 Inmarsat) (2007)


See also: Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Radio broadcast stations: AM 72, FM 5, shortwave 5 (1998)

Number of Radios: 22 million (2005)


See also: List of Persian language television channels

Television broadcast stations: 29 (plus 450 repeaters) (1997

Number of Televisions: 15 million (2007 est.)

Over 30 percent of Iranians watch satellite channels.


In 1993 Iran became the second country in the Middle East to be connected to the Internet, and since then the government has made significant efforts to improve the nation’s ICT infrastructure. Iran’s national Int ernet connectivity infrastructure is based on two major networks: the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and the public data network. The PSTN provides a connection for end-users to Internet service providers (ISPs) over mostly digital lines and supports modem-based connections. The Data Communication Company of Iran (DCI), a subsidiary of TCI, operates the public data network. Iran’s external Internet links use the basic Internet protocol of TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/Internet protocol) via satellite exclusively. For data lines, copper, fibre, satellite and microwave are the available media, and popular services are high-speed Internet via digital subscriber lines (DSL), high-bandwidth lease lines and satellite. About 33 Iranian cities are connected directly by the Trans-Asia-Europe cable network, or “silk road”, connecting China to Europe.


The leading Data Communication Company of Iran (DCI) which belongs to Telecommunication Company of Iran (now privatized) and the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST) are two government bodies that act as ISPs. The largest privately owned ISP is Parsnet, which serves only Tehran. The leading ISP with a provincial focus is Isfahan-based The Neda Rayaneh Institute (NRI) was the first private ISP in Iran.

Domain names with the “.ir” suffix are assigned by the Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics (IPM). DCI maintains the network infrastructure, providing Internet access via the IRANPAK X.25 packet-switching network, which covers most major cities. DCI is the only ISP with a permit for supplying government agencies. DCI supplies both dial-up and leased lines to its users.

By the regulations of Iran, these ISPs should rely on the Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) for their bandwidth. Previously serviced by TCI Publ ic Switch Telephone Network, the ISPs have recently been provided with modern data line capacity through a national IP-based network. With the completion of this new network, Internet services in Iran is expected to improve dramatically.

Broadband Internet access

Iran IP-based ‘national data network’ is being developed by Information Technology Company (ITC), which is also a TCI subsidiary. This network currently covers 210 Iranian cities and has 60,000 high-speed ports to meet the needs of its end users such as business and ISPs (2009).

ADSL in Iran appeared in 2004, and is still gaining market from previous technologies specially dial up providers. Most of the current ADSL service providers provide multiple types of service including dial up, point-to-point wireless, as well as draft based implementations of WiMAX.

CTEL Kish is the first broadband ISP in Khorasan wh ich offers ADSL2+ and ADSL services for residential and business users in Mashhad and other major cities.

DATAK is the first broadband ISP in Iran which offers ADSL2+ and ADSL services for residential and business users in Tehran and other major cities.

Laser Company, offers WiMax wireless internet access over some major cities.

Pars Online is the largest private ISP in Iran and is based in Tehran, but provides a range of services around the country, including voice, satellite and broadband.

Pishgaman Towseh Ertebatat (Pioneers of Telecomm Expansions) is the only Access provider Company that provides All xDSL Family types in Iran and have one of the largest access networks in Iran. The headquarters office is in Yazd and this company is a member of Pishgaman Group



Interne t Service Providers (ISPs): 12 certified for high-speed connections – Iran had 1,223 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in 2009, all private sector operated.

Country code (Top-level domain): IR

Internet users (including internet cafe users): 23 million (2007)

250,000 users have access to high-speed Internet service in Iran (June 2009)

Iran ranks 32nd in the world in terms of the number websites. Until 2009, 200,000 sites have been launched in Iran. 118,000 sites are using the domain “.ir”.

Some 1,218 of Iranian cities have access to Internet and 1,460 telecommunication centers are operational there (2008)

Iran optical fiber network extends over 120,000 kilometers and has optical fiber connections with all neighboring states (2008).

There are an estimated 1,500 Internet cafes operating in the capital, Tehran (2008). Prepaid Internet-access cards are widely available throughout the country.


See also: Blogging in Iranand Internet censorship in Iran

Full Internet service is available in all major cities and it is very rapidly increasing. Many small towns and even some villages now have full Internet access. The government aims to provide 10% of government and commercial services via the Internet by end-2008 and to equip every school with computers and Internet connections by the same date. The Internet has become an expanding means to accessing information and self-expression among the younger population. Iran is also the world’s fourth largest country of bloggers with approx. 60,000 Persian blogs although Internet censorship in Iran is amongst the most restrictive and sophisticated in the world.

Electronic commerce

See also: Shetab Banking System

Iran’s electronic commerce will reach 10,000 billion rials ($1 billion) by March 2009. In 2007, Tetra-Tech IT Company announced that using VISA and MasterCard is now possible for online sales and in Iranian e-card terminals at shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies for Iranians and foreign tourists. Saman Bank was the first bank to introduce online banking services in Iran. Since, it has been at the forefront of expansion and enhancement of electronic banking. In 2010, a state-linked technology group (the Rouyesh Technical Centre) established the country’s first online supermarket.

In 2004 the Majlis adopted the Electronic Commerce Law:

Articles 6266 of this law specify that Iran existing intellectual-property laws apply to all electronic transactions.

Articles 3349 of the Electronic Commerce Law of 2004 seek to ensure consumer protection in electronic transactions. This legislation ensures the right of consumers to complete disclosure of information by suppliers before, during and aft er electronic transactions. Also specified are the terms under which contracts for electronic commerce may be broken.

Article 37 gives consumers seven days to withdraw from any contract without penalty.

Article 42 stipulates that the protections laid down in this law do not apply to financial services, immovable property, automatic vending machines, transactions over public payphones and auctions.

Software development

See also: Science and technology in Iran, Foreign Direct Investment in Iran,and Intellectual property in Iran

According to the Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries (EJISDC), the information and communications technology (ICT) sector had a 1.1-1.3% share of GDP in 2002. About 150,000 people are employed in the ICT sector, including around 20,000 in the software industry. There were 1,200 registered i nformation technology (IT) companies in 2002, 200 of which were involved in software development. Software exports stood around $50 million in 2008.

Iran imports a large part of its software. According to the EJISDC, around 95% of the output of the domestic industry is bespoke development (including translation/adaptation from foreign source) s opposed to product workeaning export possibilities are low. Domestic firms involved in software production include Sena Soft, Dadeh-Pardazi, Iran Argham, Kafa System Information Network, Iran System and Puya.

Although there are no established clusters in Tehran, a major facility, the Tehran Software and Information Technology Park, is planned. International Development Ireland was selected as the consultant for the project in mid-2004. There are also plans for a technology park in the free-trade zone on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf, which already contains the necessary technolog ical infrastructure.

The government’s drive to automate manual processes is expected to account for about 70% of demand for software development, but there are also some 15,000 private-sector factories that have software needs. Foreign investment in the sector is minimal, although some links are being developed with the Indian industry. Poor intellectual property protection in Iran has also hindered the development of Iranian software companies because of lack of foreign direct investment in this sector.

Consumer electronics

See also: Maadiran Group

The Middle East consumer electronics and technology sector amounts to a $37 billion high (2008), according to a study by the Dubai-based subsidiary of GfK-MEMRB Marketing Services. The study also predicts that the market will continue riding the wave of growth to hit $39-$40 billion in 2009. Mobile and smart phones make up 41 percent of the entire digital consumer market with sales of $10 billion expected in 2008. It followed by desktop and notebook computers at $5 billion and LCD televisions at $4 billion. The study also reveals the market structure by channel where, in Iran and the UAE, independent retailers still lead with 60-percent share in volume for product categories such as digital cameras, LCD televisions and mobile phones. However, large retailers like Plug-Ins, Emax and Sharaf DG are also making their presence felt by capturing the remaining 40 percent. The digital consumer technology sector is expected to see retail sales in excess of $24 billion by the end of 2008.

Iran domestic consumer electronic market, defined as including computing devices, mobile handsets and video audio and gaming products, was estimated at $7.3 billion in 2008, with 47% market share for computer hardware, 28% Audio/Video and 25% mobile phone (with growing demand for PDAs, smart phones and 3G handsets). Business Monitor International (BMI) forecasts that Iran demands for domestic consumer electronic devices will reach $10 billion by 2013.


See also: Pars Semiconductor Co.and Telecommunication & Computer Industries Consortium

Iran is manufacturing some computer components under license from international companies, predominantly in the area of monitors. Currently eight Iranian companies are manufacturing monitors under licence of LG, Samsung, Hyundai, Benq, Tatung and CTX. Motherboard, keyboard, mouse, computer case, power supply, CPU, hard drive and recently printers are other components that are now manufactured locally. Personal computer (PC) ownership in Iran stood at 7.3m in 2005, or 10.5 PCs per 100 people.

Among the leading domestic telecoms equipment manufacturers is the Iran Telephone Manufacturing Company (ITMC), which has licensing agreements with Siemens and Alcatel-Lucent of France. ITMC is owned by TCI (45%), Industry Bank (35%) and Siemens (20%). Other manufacturers include Iran Communications Industries Incorporated and Parstelhich produces under licence from Daewoo Corporation, a South Korean firm. Overall, ICT hardware sales were estimated to total US$700m a year in 2008.


Main article: Privatization in Iran

Based on Note C of the general policies of the constitution’s Article 44, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced that it will float the shares of affiliated companies such as Mobile Telecommunications Company in the stock market.

Under the general policies of Article 44, telecom companies are categorized in four groups as follows:

Group One: Among the 30 provincial telecom networks, the fixed telecom networ ks pertain to those of Tehran, Isfahan, Fars, Hamedan, Ahvaz, Khorasan Razavi, Khuzestan and East Azarbaijan. The first group concerns fixed line telecom networks, including those in the public sector with 30 subsidiary telecom networks in provinces. The non-governmental sector includes companies such as Iraphone, Novin, Zahi Kish, Kouh-e Nour, Montazeran Adlgostar and Pouya Ertebat with each having hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Group Two: The second group concerns mobile telephone networks. In the public sector, they include the Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI). In the non-governmental sector, they include telecommunications companies such as Omran Kish, Arse Telecom, Isfahan, Rafsanjan Complex and Irancell. Privatization Organization has forecast that shares of Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) will be floated in the stock market by late September 2007.

Group Three: There is only one public network in the data network sector, namely Data and Telecommunications Company of Iran which is considered a basic telecom network in terms of mobile networks and Shomal IT Company. In the non-governmental sector, there are over 100 companies with a shared data network.

Group Four: The subsidiary telecom network named Subsidiary Telecommunications Company is another basic telecom network. They are completely owned by the state and not targeted for privatization.

TCI’s Infrastructure Telecom Company will be detached from it and it would continue its activities as a part of the ICT Ministry. 33 companies in the telecom sector are to be privatized by September 2007. This happened simultanisouly with the launch of MTN Irancell, a private second carrier with foreign ownership. The privatization and introduction of a second operator has created a significantly more competitive environment which has led to significant cost reductions fo r mobile owners and service benefits.

In 2009, 51% of the shares of TCI was sold to Etemad-e-Mobin, a consortium which some media claimed it was affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, for the sum of $7.8 billion.

Further reading

Iran: Strong Telecom Growth Expected, Despite Political Uncertainties – Pyramid Research 30-page report provides a profile of the country converged telecommunications, media and technology sectors based on proprietary data from Pyramid research in the Iranian market (2010).

See also

Iran portal

Supreme Council of ICT of Iran

Takfa – Iran’s countrywide plan for ICT, also called “NICTA” in some countries.

Telecommunication Company of Iran

Iran Electronics Industries (IEI)

Shetab Banking System – Iran’s electronic banking system

Pardis Technology Park – Iran’s planned “Silicon Valley”

International rankings of Iran in ICT

List of Iranian companies

Media of Iran

Economy of Iran

Transportation in Iran


^ Burkhart, Grey, ed. (March 1998), “Iran”, National Security and the Internet in the Persian Gulf Region, Georgetown University,, retrieved 2009-07-15

^ “Telecoms And Technology Forecast for Iran”, Telecoms and technology, Economist Intelligence Unit, 18 June 2008


^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o “Telecoms And Technology Forecast for Iran”, Economist Intelligence Unit, August 18, 2008






^ Iran Daily: Software Exports Hit $45m Retrieved November 2, 2008

^ Iran Daily – Economic Focus – 10/09/06



^ I ran’s Twitter Revolution


^ Yiftah S. Shapir. “Iran’s Efforts to Conquer Space”.

^ “Zohreh”.

^ Howard, Roger (2007). Iran Oil: The New Middle East Challenge to America. I.B.Tauris. pp.140. ISBN 1845112490.,M1. Retrieved 2008-07-17.

^ “Iran’s Zohre satellite to be launched in 2009″. Persian Journal. 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2008-07-17.


^ https://www












^ book/geos/ir.html




^ a b


^ “Alcatel provides first DSL network in Iran to Asre Danesh Afzar”. Payvand. 2004-03-24.

^ “Tehran entirely under wireless Internet coverage”. 2007-01-15.









^ Iranian net censorship powered by US technology – info-tech – 27 June 2005 – New Scientist

^ IRNA: Iran’s e-commerce to reach rls10,000b Retrieved December 3, 2008



^ out=newdebi&country_id=IR

^ Iran Daily: Software Exports Hit $45m Retrieved November 2, 2008

^ Iran Daily – Domestic Economy – 04/19/08


^ a b


^ Iran-Daily: Privatization of Telecom Companies

^ Iran Daily – Domestic Economy – 06/03/07

^ Telecommunication Company Of Iran to be privatized

^ Iran Daily – Domestic Economy – 06/03/07


External links

Ministry of Information & Communication Technology of Iran

Information and communications technology (ICT) to Iran – Australian Trade

Business Monitor International: Iran Telecommunications Report – Q3 2008

Iran Mobile Network – Iran Mobile Phone Information Network

Information Technology Company – affiliated with the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology (ICT) of Iran

Telephone Area Codes of Cities In Iran

Internet and Telecom in Iran – A Comprehensive Survey (1999)

Brief Study (2008) – Telecom in Iran

GSM Coverage in Iran

e-Business in Iran (Economist Intelligence Unit)

Information Technology in Iran (1997)

World Bank – Information, Communication Telecommunication (ICT) in Iran

Internet Traffic Report – Ira n Routers

CIA FactBook (Iran Communications statistics)

Iran and Space Communications –

Electronic Commerce Law of Iran


Communications in Asia



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1 Sometimes included in Europe, depending on the border definitions. 2 Officially known as Myanmar. 3 Sometimes included in Oceania, and also known as Timor-Leste. 4 Transcontinental country. 5 Commonly known as Taiwan.

Categories: Communications by country | Communications in Iran | Economy of Iran | Internet service providers of Iran | Iranian media

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