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One-third of Iran’s mobile users on data plans

23 Feb 2017

Iran’s Ministry of Information & Communication Technology (MICT) says that the country was home to 27.1 million active 3G and 4G mobile data users by the end of the third quarter of 2016, which equated to around one-third of all mobile subscribers. According to a report cited by The Financial Tribune, state-backed cellco Mobile Communication Company of Iran (MCI) is the largest provider, with 13.1 million data users, though the bulk of these – 12.8 million – are on 3G networks and just 297,000 are using 4G LTE services. Second-placed MTN Irancell, meanwhile, had twelve million data customers by September 2016, including 10.4 million 3G and 1.6 million LTE. Third operator Rightel had 1.9 million active data users at the same date, with no split given for 3G and 4G.

In terms of network coverage, MCI covered 547 cities with 3G by September 2016 and 33 with 4G, while Irancell served 568 with 3G and 228 cities with LTE. Rightel has data networks which reach 520 cities. The Iranian government has been encouraging operators to disconnect inactive mobile accounts, with an estimated 30 million unused SIM cards having been wiped off the books of the three main cellcos in recent years.

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