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Who owns Irancell? Does anyone really care anymore?

4 Oct 2005

Confusion continues to surround the ownership of Iran’s second GSM mobile licensee Irancell, with various sources claiming that an agreement between major foreign investor Turkcell and the Iranian government has still not been reached. Following 38 months of legal and political wrangling, the Irancell consortium was finally granted Iran’s second GSM mobile licence last month, after Turkcell confirmed that it would retain its much-reduced 49% stake in the venture. According to Iran’s official IRNA news agency, Turkcell ratified its participation in Irancell just hours before the 4 September deadline imposed by the Information and Technology Ministry. However, ISNA said yesterday that the deal was officially dead, quoting Deputy Telecommunications Minister Vafa Ghaffarian as its source. Ghaffarian reportedly told a conference: ‘From the point of view of the ministry and the local partners, the second operatorship is finished with Turkcell’. However, within hours of the story appearing a Turkcell source had insisted that the company was still hoping to take its stake in Irancell. ‘We are still here and are keen to do business,’ Irfan Unver, Turkcell’s coordinator in Iran told Reuters. ‘I think we will still get the deal.’

Iran, MTN Irancell, Turkcell

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