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Orange in talks with MCI of Iran

1 Sep 2016

French telecoms group Orange has reportedly entered preliminary talks to acquire a stake in Iran’s largest cellular operator by subscribers, Mobile Communication Company of Iran (MCI). A report from The Wall Street Journal cites ‘people familiar with the matter’ who say that Orange is discussing a commercial and technical agreement, as well as a share purchase. The French telco does have competition, however, as several other unnamed European firms are also thought to be interested in taking a stake in MCI.

Vahid Sadoughi, CEO of MCI, confirmed the development, saying: ‘Our negotiations haven’t been completed yet. I think the talks will be completed within the next three, four months.’ Meanwhile, an Orange spokesperson said: ‘We are conducting feasibility studies to understand and assess what’s possible in this complex environment, particularly with regards to certain economic sanctions that apply to Iran.’ If it went ahead, the deal would be the first purchase of an interest in a major Iranian firm since the lifting of international economic sanctions in January this year following Iran’s agreement to curb its nuclear programme.

MCI controlled around 57% of Iran’s 114 million mobile subscribers at the end of March 2016, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. It is a 90% subsidiary of Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI), whose majority shareholder Etemad-e-Mobin has links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Iran, Mobile Communication Company of Iran (MCI), Orange Group, Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI)

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