WiMo, a new Wi-Fi wireless broadband hotspot network covering the Iranian capital Tehran, has attracted more than 50,000 registered mobile device users after four months in beta testing mode, with more than 500 internet access points currently active across the city. According to WiMo’s website, wireless LAN zones are situated in various locations such as shopping malls, transport terminals, banks, cultural centres, libraries and restaurants, while the network is expected to be expanded to roughly 1,000 hotspots by around mid-2013.
In its beta phase, users must register a mobile number from an Iranian mobile operator – MCI, MTN Irancell, Taliya or Rightel – to receive free high speed WiMo access on any compatible device for the first 60 minutes, after which time the user will be limited to a lower speed unless they choose to upgrade to a paid service. WiMo is operated by Iranian ISP MobinNet, which has utilised its extensive WiMAX network in the transmission layer of the new Wi-Fi network. Although WiMo is initially completely separate from the MobinNet WiMAX service, MobinNet is anticipated to introduce some form of promotional Wi-Fi packages for its WiMAX subscribers upon launching a full commercial service. Other possibilities for the WiMo service include a future tie-up with one of the major mobile operators to offer integrated packages, with MobinNet’s most likely cellco partner thought to be MCI.
According to MobinNet public relations staff, the operator has at least 400,000 WiMAX broadband internet subscribers, with approximately half of its users located in Tehran and surrounding areas. The WiMAX network covered 135 cities as of this month, up from 113 cities in May 2012 (an expansion of 22 additional cities in eight months). MobinNet has rolled out the WiMo Wi-Fi service with design and implementation assistance from Tehran-based IT and networking firm ParsPooyesh Fanavar Company.