TeleGeography Logo

Turkcell loses case against Iranian government

20 Oct 2014

The International Court of Arbitration in the Netherlands has delivered a ruling against Turkcell in its six-year case against the Iranian government over the revocation of a GSM licence in 2004. A consortium led by Turkcell was approved as the winning bidder in a tender to take a 51% stake in the newly created national mobile licensee Irancell in February 2004, but the deal with Turkcell ran into difficulty, with conservative Iranian politicians unhappy with the involvement of a Turkish firm in one of the country’s main communications networks. Turkcell had been seeking a majority stake in Irancell but the government pushed through legislation in April 2005 to limit its stake to 49%; the cellco says it then faced a number of other blocking tactics and it was left with little choice but to walk away from the deal. The Turkish firm went on to launch its legal case against Iran in January 2008. Meanwhile, MTN of South Africa took Turkcell’s place in the consortium in October 2005 and Irancell has gone on to take second spot in the country’s mobile market, with 42.7 million subscribers at the end of June 2014, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.

Iran, MTN Irancell, Turkcell

GlobalComms Database

Want more? Peruse the GlobalComms Database—the most complete source of intel about mobile, fixed broadband, and fixed voice markets.


TeleGeography is the definitive source for telecom news, numbers, and analysis. Explore the full research catalog.