The market

US$ 18.5 billion to be invested in the Iranian ICT-sector over the next five years  

Bandwidth planned to be 4-folded - Iran getting ready for e-banking and e-government

According to the Iranian minister of ICT Mahmoud Vaezi, the Iranian government plans investments of US$ 18.5 billion in the ICT sector over the period of the sixth five-year development plan, starting on 21 March 2017. Alongside this investment, the government is planning for the investment of US$ 15 billion in industries related to ICT.

The minister of ICT in January 2017 explained the expansion of access to the high-speed internet over the country: “Currently, around 700 towns and cities have access to 3rd generation and around 350 cities have access to 4th generation mobile internet access. We are planning to increase the countries bandwidth which is currently 4 Gb/s up to 17 Gb/s by the end of the year. Therefore we are ready to enter a new phase of change in many areas including banking.”

“At the moment, many ministries are using the National Broadband Network. The ministry of ICT emphasizes that the development of the National Broadband Network has created more than 100,000 jobs and therefore the electronic government is to begin by February 2017.”

The spread of third and fourth generation mobile internet access as well as 40 million smartphones across the country has caused the ICT-ministry to consider the ever increasing potential for the development of e-banking.

“Each cell phone can play the role of a bank card, therefore bank regulators must have a closer relationship with ICT departments,” explains minister Vaezi.

The Ministry of Communications reports that in the past three years, US$ 3.7 billion has been invested on ICT infrastructure, from which US$ 2.5 billion has come from the private sector whereas US$ 1.2 billion has been invested by the government.


Iran - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecast
Iran shows progress in 2014 with fibre network deployment


In recent years the international community identified Iran as lagging behind in terms of broadband infrastructure and access, particularly when compared to other GCC member states. However in 2014 there are encouraging moves underway to improve this situation, with the FttX operator Iranian-net currently deploying a fibre network which aims to have 8 million customers by 2020.

Broadband penetration is also improving due to the growing number of competing ISPs, made possible through a licensing scheme. Competition has also improved following the launch of alternative infrastructure-based offerings centred on WiMAX.

In 2014 there are four companies licensed to provide WiMAX services, including MobinNet, MTN Irancell; MTCE and Rayaneh Danesh. In 2013 Datak Telecom failed to obtain ongoing authorization to continue to offer WiMAX services.

Despite these progressive developments; censorship in Iran appears to be increasing with Iran utilising China’s experience on how to implement Internet control using Iran’s National Internet Network. In addition social media apps have been banned at various times including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and all Iranian’s are required to register their websites with the Ministry of Art and Culture.

Other potential inhibitors to growth in Iran include the government’s tight control of the telecoms market combined with the general economic situation and international sanctions. One bright spot however is the mobile sector which has shown strong growth.

With a young population willing to embrace technology; Iran has seen huge growth in mobile subscriber numbers in response to competition over the past 8 years. It now has nearly 90% mobile penetration and there is still room for continued revenue growth. Mobile data services are available but account for only a small proportion of total revenue. This is expected to increase over time as it becomes clear that mobile data services will increasingly underpin future revenue growth.

(Source: BuddeComm)


Economic data Iran

Inhabitants:
80 million (2016)

Population growth:
1.2% (2014)

Strength:
Second largest oil and gas reserves in the world, strong GDP growth, young and relatively well qualified population

Opportunities:
Huge market for capital and consumer goods, financial strength, young and western oriented population with strong interest in modern and sophisticated products and technology

Commodities:

agrarian:

  • Caviar
  • Cotton
  • Pistachios
  • Dates
  • Oilseeds
  • Rice
  • Wheat

mineral:

  • Crude oil,
  • Natural gas
  • Coal
  • Iron ore
  • Copper

Fiscal year:
March 2015 – March 2016 
(identical with Iranian New Year)

Facts about Iran at a glance

  • Iran is one of the world's 20 strongest economies
  • An energy superpower with the world’s largest natural gas supply and the fourth-largest proven oil reserves
  • With 80 million inhabitants the second most populous nation in the Middle East and the 17th most populous in the world
  • Leading industries in the Middle East in car-manufacture and transportation, construction materials, home appliances, food and agricultural goods, armaments, pharmaceuticals, information technology, power and petrochemicals
  • A regional power with major influence in the region
  • A top five producer in the world of apricots, cherries, sour cherries, cucumbers and gherkins, dates, eggplants, figs, pistachios, quinces, walnuts, and watermelons
  • Geostrategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz; a major regional and middle power, exerting considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy
  • Host to Asia‘s 4th-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and home to one of the world‘s oldest civilizations
  • A multicultural nation comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups
  • Estimated GDP-growth of between 5% and 8% in 2016-2020