Domestic and international members of the Irancell Consortium are said to be doggedly continuing their efforts to resolve ‘several bones of contention’ in the second mobile operator issue, according to reports from IranMania. Problems surrounding Iran’s second GSM licensee have rumbled on for over three years, after it became known that Turkish operator Turkcell was to head up the joint venture consortium Irancell. The Iranian side of the contract is said to be busy negotiating technical issues concerning project management and funding, and the structure of the company’s board of directors, amid concerns that Turkcell will not continue working on the project. The Turkish group is unhappy at recent government moves to decrease foreign ownership levels – capping them at 49% – and increasing the number of shares held by domestic concerns. According to the Iranian side, the second mobile operator has agreed to roll out services covering eleven million people within the first three years.
In June this year confusion continued to surround the shareholder structure of Irancell with various news sources claiming that Turkcell – the original winner of the country’s February 2004 GSM licence auction – was continuing to fight for its place in the company’s boardroom, on the same day that others reported that the Iranian government had begun talks with investors other than the Turkish group.