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Communications in Iran

Communications in Iran

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Iran’s telecommunications industry is almost entirely state-owned, dominated by the Telecommunication Company of Iran
Telecommunication Company of Iran
Telecommunication Company of Iran was established in 1971 with a new organizational structure as the main responsible administration for the entire telecommunication affairs, and Iran Telecommunication Industries was also founded in the same year to manufacture the required equipment for the...

 (TCI). Fixed-line penetration in 2004 was relatively well-developed by regional standards, standing at 22 lines per 100 people, higher than Egypt with 14 and Saudi Arabia with 15, although behind the UAE with 27. In terms of mobile provision in 2004, however, Iran lagged all the countries mentioned above.

Iran has a population of 70 million with some 56% of Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ians under the age of 25. In 2008, there were more than 52,000 rural offices, providing Telecom services to the villages across the country. The number of fixed telephone lines is above 24 million, with penetration factor of 33.66%. Besides, there are 18 million private internet users in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 (over 23 million when counting public/"internet cafe" users), making the country first in the Middle East, in terms of number.

Iran is among the first five countries which have had a growth rate of over 20 percent and the highest level of development in telecommunication. Iran has been awarded the UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 special certificate for providing telecommunication services to rural areas. By the end of 2009, Iran's telecom
Telecommunication
Telecommunication is the transmission of information over significant distances to communicate. In earlier times, telecommunications involved the use of visual signals, such as beacons, smoke signals, semaphore telegraphs, signal flags, and optical heliographs, or audio messages via coded...

 market was the fourth-largest market in the region at $9.2 billion and is expected to grow to $12.9 billion by 2014 at a CAGR of 6.9 percent.

According to the Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries (EJISDC), the information and communications technology (ICT) sector had a 1.1-1.3% share of GDP in 2002. About 150,000 people are employed in the ICT sector, including around 20,000 in the software industry. There were 1,200 registered information technology (IT) companies in 2002, 200 of which were involved in software development. Software exports stood around $50 million in 2008.

Overview



The government runs the broadcast media, which includes three national radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 stations and two national television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 networks, as well as dozens of local radio and television stations. In 2000 there were 252 radios, 158 television sets, 219 telephone
Telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

 lines, and 110 personal computers for every 1,000 residents. Computers for home use became more affordable in the mid-1990s, and since then demand for access to the Internet has increased rapidly. In 1998, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (renamed the Ministry of Information & Communication Technology
Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (Iran)
The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology established in 1908, is the Ministry of Information and Communication of the Islamic Republic of Iran...

) began selling Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 accounts to the general public. In 2006, the Iranian telecom industry's revenues were estimated at $1.2 billion. By the end of 2009, Iran's telecom
Telecommunication
Telecommunication is the transmission of information over significant distances to communicate. In earlier times, telecommunications involved the use of visual signals, such as beacons, smoke signals, semaphore telegraphs, signal flags, and optical heliographs, or audio messages via coded...

 market was the fourth-largest market in the region at $9.2 billion and is expected to grow to $12.9 billion by 2014 at a CAGR of 6.9 percent.

The Fourth Five Year Economic Development Plan has proposed the following key benchmarks for 2010: 36 million fixed lines; 50% penetration rate for mobile phones; establishment of reliable rural ICT connections and 30 million internet users. Given the recent developments of the industry, the objectives are very likely to be achieved.

More than 23 million Iranians have access to the Internet and over 45 million own mobile phones. Tech-savvy citizens use text messages to communicate with friends and browse the Internet — which the government controls in terms of access and speed — for a multiplicity of purposes. Blogging is also immensely popular. Iran is among 5 countries with cyber warfare capabilities according to the Defense Tech institute (US military and security institute).

Press


The press in Iran is privately owned and reflects a diversity of political and social views. A special court has authority to monitor the print media and may suspend publication or revoke the licenses of papers or journals that a jury finds guilty of publishing antireligious material, slander, or information detrimental to the national interest. Since the late 1990s the court has shut down many pro-reform newspapers and other periodicals. Most Iranian newspapers are published in Persian, but newspapers in English and other languages also exist. The most widely circulated periodicals are based in Tehrān. Popular daily and weekly newspapers include Ettelaat, Kayhan
Kayhan
Kayhan is an influential newspaper in Iran. Directly under the supervision of the Office of the Supreme Leader, it is regarded to be "the most conservative Iranian newspaper."...

, Resalat, Iran Daily and the Tehran Times
Tehran Times
Tehran Times began its work in 1979 as a foreign language newspaper to air the voice of the Islamic Revolution. The policy that the newspaper has been following has been based on the guideline set by the revered martyr Ayatollah Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who said: Tehran Times is not state-owned...

(both are English-language papers).

Satellite


Since the 1970s, there have been a number of proposals for a state-owned communications satellite
Communications satellite
A communications satellite is an artificial satellite stationed in space for the purpose of telecommunications...

, called Zohreh (en:Venus
Venus
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows...

) from 1993 onwards. The planned satellite would have similar capabilities to a commercially-produced Western satellite, while such capabilities are already provided through leases owned by the Iranian telecommunications sector. Most recently, an agreement was signed between Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 in 2005 to develop the satellite with a planned launch date of 2007, but the launch has been postponed until at least 2009, set to follow actual construction of the satellite.

Telephone


Inadequate but currently being modernized and expanded with the goal of not only improving the efficiency and increasing the volume of the urban service but also bringing telephone service to several thousand villages, not presently connected.

Domestic


As a result of heavy investing in the telephone system since 1994, thousands of mobile cellular subscribers are being served; moreover, the technical level of the system has been raised by the installation of thousands of digital switches.

Iran’s telecommunication network enjoys the highest growth rate in the Middle East. One of the indicators that clearly illustrates this growth rate is the increase in the number of installed main lines. In 1978 there were only about 850,000 fixed lines installed in Iran. This number rose to about 1,767,000 by 1986 and to about 2,380,000 by 1989. One of the objectives of the first five-year development plan (1989–1994) for the telecommunication sector was to add one million new fixed lines to the network. However, due to the establishment and expansion of many low-capacity and high-capacity exchanges, the actual growth rate that was achieved was considerably higher. In fact more than 3.1 million new main lines were installed during the period of the first five-year plan. Four million new lines were expected to be added by the end of the second five-year plan (1994–1999), which would increase the number of installed main lines to about 9,510,000 fixed lines. Iran's telecom market, which generated an estimated $9.1 billion in 2010 (of which 2/3 from "voice" mobile-phone and 1/10 from "data" mobile-phone services), has been growing significantly, especially its mobile-phone business. As of 2010, Iran had about 66 million mobile-phone subscribers covering about 70% of the population. In contrast, about 36% of Iranians had fixed-line phones.

Mobile phone


  • Mobile: 68 million (Sep. 2011) from 35 million (early 2008) and 4.3 million in 2004.
    • Penetration rate: 91.2% as of September 2011.
  • Short Text Messages: Iranians send 80 million SMS
    SMS
    SMS is a form of text messaging communication on phones and mobile phones. The terms SMS or sms may also refer to:- Computer hardware :...

     per day (Nov. 2008).
  • Major mobile operators as of 2008: Telecommunication Company of Iran
    Telecommunication Company of Iran
    Telecommunication Company of Iran was established in 1971 with a new organizational structure as the main responsible administration for the entire telecommunication affairs, and Iran Telecommunication Industries was also founded in the same year to manufacture the required equipment for the...

     (MCI/Hamrah Aval
    Hamrah Aval
    Mobile Company of Iran also known under its brand name Hamrah-e-Avval is Iran's first and largest mobile phone network operator. MCI was a subsidiary of the Telecommunication Company of Iran and it has over 16 million postpaid and over 18 million prepaid subscribers...

    ) with 70% market share, MTN Irancell
    MTN Irancell
    Irancell is the second mobile phone network operator of Iran. It is 49% owned by the South Africa-based MTN Group.MTN Irancell operates on GSM 900/1800 and is the first network operator of Iran which provides GPRS and MMS service and will let subscribers choose their desired number from between...

     (28%), Taliya
    Taliya
    Taliya is the third largest mobile phone network operator in Iran . It is owned by the Rafsanjan Industrial Complex Islamic Cooperative Company....

     (1%), and Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat
    Etisalat
    Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, branded trade name Etisalat is a UAE based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa...

    ) who won a license for 300 million euros in December 2008. The two national operators, Mobile Company of Iran (MCI) and MTN Irancell both offer GPRS-based data services.
    • Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat
      Etisalat
      Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, branded trade name Etisalat is a UAE based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa...

       and Tamin Telecom, the telecommunications investment arm of Iran’s social security and pensions department, will gain exclusive rights for two years to offer second- and third-generation services (3G
      3G
      3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

      ) in Iran (2008). Assuming a minimum network investment of $4 billion, Etisalat can gain about 20 percent to 25% market share over five years of its operations (by 2013). In 2009 it was announced that Etisalat, however, failed to secure the right to be Iran’s exclusive 3G operator for two years. Later, Tamin Telecom announced that, IDRO
      IDRO
      Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran was established in 1967 in Iran. IDRO Group is one of the largest companies in Iran, it's also on of the largest conglomerates in Asia. IDRO's objective is to develop Iran's industry sector and to accelerate the industrialization process...

       and Imam Khomeini Decree Center have replaced Etisalat because of contractual disagreements. In 2011, Tamin Telecom revealed plans to cover 60 percent of the population with its 2G
      2G
      2G is short for second-generation wireless telephone technology. Second generation 2G cellular telecom networks were commercially launched on the GSM standard in Finland by Radiolinja in 1991...

       network and 40 percent with its 3G
      3G
      3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

       network by 2014.
  • As of 2011, major foreign supplier to Iran's mobile-phone networks are: Huawei
    Huawei
    Huawei is a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China...

     of China along, Telefon AB L.M. and Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture between Nokia
    Nokia
    Nokia Corporation is a Finnish multinational communications corporation that is headquartered in Keilaniemi, Espoo, a city neighbouring Finland's capital Helsinki...

     Corp. and Siemens AG
    Siemens AG
    Siemens AG is a German multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Munich, Germany. It is the largest Europe-based electronics and electrical engineering company....

    .

International


As of 2010, international connection services are provided exclusively by Infrastructure Company of Iran, a fully owned subsidiary of TCI
Telecommunication Company of Iran
Telecommunication Company of Iran was established in 1971 with a new organizational structure as the main responsible administration for the entire telecommunication affairs, and Iran Telecommunication Industries was also founded in the same year to manufacture the required equipment for the...

. Submarine fiber-optic cable to UAE
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 with access to Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe
Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe
Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe is a 28,000-kilometer-long submarine communications cable containing optical fiber that connects the United Kingdom, Japan, and many places in between. The cable is operated by India's Flag Telecom, a fully owned subsidiary of Reliance Communications. The system...

 (FLAG); Trans Asia Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line runs from Azerbaijan through the northern portion of Iran to Turkmenistan with expansion to Georgia and Azerbaijan; HF radio and microwave radio relay to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Kuwait, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; satellite earth stations - 13 (9 Intelsat and 4 Inmarsat) (2007)
Apart from Iran-Kuwait submarine communications cable network, Iran is launching an optical fiber channel and a submarine communications cable in the Persian Gulf. The next program is to connect the country with global optical fiber networks from northern and northwestern borders.

Radio


  • Radio broadcast stations: AM 72, FM 5, shortwave 5 (1998)
  • Number of Radios: 22 million (2005)

Television



  • Television broadcast stations: 29 (plus 450 repeaters) (1997
  • Number of televisions: 15 million (2007 est.)
  • Although formally illegal, the use of satellite television
    Satellite television
    Satellite television is television programming delivered by the means of communications satellite and received by an outdoor antenna, usually a parabolic mirror generally referred to as a satellite dish, and as far as household usage is concerned, a satellite receiver either in the form of an...

     receivers in urban areas is widespread. Over 30 percent of Iranians watch satellite channels.

Internet



In 1993 Iran became the second country in the Middle East to be connected to the Internet, and since then the government has made significant efforts to improve the nation's ICT infrastructure. Iran's national Internet connectivity infrastructure is based on two major networks: the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and the public data network. The PSTN provides a connection for end-users to Internet service providers (ISPs) over mostly digital lines and supports modem-based connections. The Data Communication Company of Iran (DCI), a subsidiary of TCI, operates the public data network. Iran's external Internet links use the basic Internet protocol of TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/Internet protocol) via satellite exclusively. For data lines, copper, fibre, satellite and microwave are the available media, and popular services are high-speed Internet via digital subscriber lines (DSL), high-bandwidth lease lines and satellite. About 33 Iranian cities are connected directly by the Trans-Asia-Europe cable network, or "silk road", connecting China to Europe.

National internet


Since 2005, Iran has been developing a "national Internet" to improve control over its content as well as speed. The project, which is separate from the world wide web
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet...

, will be completed by 2013. This network will be separated from the rest of the internet, specifically for domestic use. Creating such a network, similar to one used by North Korea, would prevent unwanted information from outside of Iran getting into the closed system. Myanmar and Cuba also use similar systems.

ISPs


The leading Data Communication Company of Iran (DCI) which belongs to Telecommunication Company of Iran
Telecommunication Company of Iran
Telecommunication Company of Iran was established in 1971 with a new organizational structure as the main responsible administration for the entire telecommunication affairs, and Iran Telecommunication Industries was also founded in the same year to manufacture the required equipment for the...

 (now privatized) and the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology
Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology
Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology is a comprehensive science policy research center directly attached to the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology of Iran which was approved and ratified by Revolutionary Council of Iran in 1980...

 (IROST) are two bodies that act as ISPs. The largest privately owned ISP is Parsnet, which serves only Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

. The leading ISP with a provincial focus is Isfahan-based Irangate.net. The Neda Rayaneh Institute (NRI) was the first private ISP in Iran.

Domain names with the ".ir" suffix are assigned by the Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics (IPM). DCI maintains the network infrastructure, providing Internet access via the IRANPAK X.25 packet-switching network, which covers most major cities. DCI is the only ISP with a permit for supplying government agencies. DCI supplies both dial-up and leased lines to its users.

By the regulations of Iran, these ISPs should rely on the Telecommunication Company of Iran
Telecommunication Company of Iran
Telecommunication Company of Iran was established in 1971 with a new organizational structure as the main responsible administration for the entire telecommunication affairs, and Iran Telecommunication Industries was also founded in the same year to manufacture the required equipment for the...

 (TCI) for their bandwidth. Previously serviced by TCI’s Public Switch Telephone Network, the ISPs have recently been provided with modern data line capacity through a national IP-based network. With the completion of this new network, Internet services in Iran is expected to improve dramatically.

Broadband Internet access


Iran’s IP-based 'national data network' is being developed by Information Technology Company (ITC), which is also a TCI subsidiary. This network currently covers 210 Iranian cities and has 60,000 high-speed ports to meet the needs of its end users such as business and ISPs (2009). Recently, some actions are being taken to build and optimize infrastructure for provision of broadband services in the next five years and the Regulatory has decided to grant the license of offering WiMAX
WiMAX
WiMAX is a communication technology for wirelessly delivering high-speed Internet service to large geographical areas. The 2005 WiMAX revision provided bit rates up to 40 Mbit/s with the 2011 update up to 1 Gbit/s for fixed stations...

 services to some private companies based on auction and then the license for the 3rd mobile operator.

companies that are under the PAP license:

Statistics

  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 12 certified for high-speed connections - Iran had 1,223 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in 2009, all private sector operated.
  • Country code (Top-level domain): IR
  • Internet users (including internet cafe users): 23 million (2007)
  • 250,000 users have access to high-speed Internet service in Iran (October 2006)
  • Iran ranks 32nd in the world in terms of the number websites. Until 2009, 200,000 sites have been launched in Iran. 118,000 sites are using the domain ".ir".
  • Some 1,218 of Iranian cities have access to Internet and 1,460 telecommunication centers are operational there (2008)
  • Iran’s optical fiber
    Optical fiber
    An optical fiber is a flexible, transparent fiber made of a pure glass not much wider than a human hair. It functions as a waveguide, or "light pipe", to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber. The field of applied science and engineering concerned with the design and application of...

     network extends over 120,000 kilometers and has optical fiber connections with all neighboring states (2008). As of 2008, more than 36000 kilometers optical fiber in the backbone network and 45000 kilometers in cities have been installed.
  • There are an estimated 1,500 Internet cafe
    Internet cafe
    An Internet café or cybercafé is a place which provides internet access to the public, usually for a fee. These businesses usually provide snacks and drinks, hence the café in the name...

    s operating in the capital, Tehran
    Tehran
    Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

     (2008). Prepaid Internet-access cards are widely available throughout the country.

As of 2008, more than 100 companies sell International VoIP cards and the government has announced to issue 4-5 VoIP licenses through holding bids for national use.

Usage



Full Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 service is available in all major cities and it is very rapidly increasing. Many small towns and even some villages now have full Internet access. The government aims to provide 10% of government and commercial services via the Internet by end-2008 and to equip every school with computers and Internet connections by the same date. The Internet has become an expanding means to accessing information and self-expression among the younger population. Iran is also the world's fourth largest country of bloggers
Iranian blogs
Blogging in Iran operates under special circumstances because the government restricts certain views. Blogs in general tend to be unregulated compared to other forms of expression in Iranian society. This characteristic can account for the huge popularity of blogs especially among Iranian youths...

 with approx. 60,000 Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 blogs although Internet censorship in Iran
Internet censorship in Iran
In the first few years of the 21st century, Iran experienced a great surge in Internet usage, and, with 20 million people on the Internet, currently has the second highest percentage of its population online in the Middle East, after Israel. When initially introduced, the Internet services...

 is amongst the most restrictive and sophisticated in the world.

Electronic commerce


Iran is presently implementing a bar code system across the country in order to facilitate e-commerce and tax collection. The executive state organizations, which are the largest buyers of goods in the country, cannot buy and use goods that do not have the "Iran Code".

Iran's electronic commerce will reach 10,000 billion rials ($1 billion) by March 2009. In 2007, Tetra-Tech IT Company announced that using VISA
Visa
Visa or VISA may refer to:* Visa , a document issued by a country's government allowing the holder to enter or to leave that country...

 and MasterCard
MasterCard
Mastercard Incorporated or MasterCard Worldwide is an American multinational financial services corporation with its headquarters in the MasterCard International Global Headquarters, Purchase, Harrison, New York, United States...

 is now possible for online sales and in Iranian e-card terminals at shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies for Iranians and foreign tourists. Saman Bank
Saman Bank Corp
-History:Saman Bank Corp. is a 100 percent privately owned bank and is not listed in tehran stock exchange. This bank started its activities as Credit Institution in September 1999. Subsequently, in August 2002, it received a full banking license and changed its name to Saman Bank...

 was the first bank to introduce online banking services in Iran
Shetab Banking System
The Shetab system is the only electronic banking clearance and automated payments system used in Iran. The system was introduced in 2002 with the intention of creating a uniform backbone for the Iranian banking system to handle ATM, POS and other card-based transactions.Prior to its introduction,...

. Since, it has been at the forefront of expansion and enhancement of electronic banking. In 2010, a state-linked technology group (the Rouyesh Technical Centre) established the country's first online supermarket. In February 2011, the first Iranian Online Shopping Festival presented by the Iranian Ministry of Commerce
Ministry of Commerce (Iran)
The Ministry of Commerce of Iran was the main organ of the Government in charge of the regulation and implementation of policies applicable to domestic and foreign trade...

 honored the best brands of the e-commerce industry. The best websites awarded were Adinebook.com, Aftabbazaar.com, مركز خرید اینترنتی البسكو.كام Albasco.com, and AtlasEmarket.com .

In 2004 the Majlis
Majlis of Iran
The National Consultative Assembly of Iran , also called The Iranian Parliament or People's House, is the national legislative body of Iran...

 adopted the Electronic Commerce Law:
  • Articles 62–66 of this law specify that Iran’s existing intellectual-property laws
    Intellectual property in Iran
    Iran is a member of the WIPO since 2001 and has acceded to several WIPO intellectual-property treaties. Iran joined the Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1959. In December 2003 Iran became a party to the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol for the International...

     apply to all electronic transactions.
  • Articles 33–49 of the Electronic Commerce Law of 2004 seek to ensure consumer protection in electronic transactions. This legislation ensures the right of consumers to complete disclosure of information by suppliers before, during and after electronic transactions. Also specified are the terms under which contracts for electronic commerce may be broken.
  • Article 37 gives consumers seven days to withdraw from any contract without penalty.
  • Article 42 stipulates that the protections laid down in this law do not apply to financial services, immovable property, automatic vending machines, transactions over public payphones and auctions.


The Fifth Five-Year Development Plan (2010-15)
Economy of Iran
The economy of Iran is the eighteenth largest in the world by purchasing power parity and according to Iranian officials' claims is going to become the 12th largest by 2015. The economy of Iran is a mixed and transition economy with a large public sector and some 50% of the economy centrally planned...

 has set the target of conducting electronically:
  • 80 percent of governmental transactions,
  • 20 percent of domestic trade
  • 30 percent of foreign trade.

Software development


According to the Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries (EJISDC), the information and communications technology (ICT) sector had a 1.1-1.3% share of GDP in 2002. About 150,000 people are employed in the ICT sector, including around 20,000 in the software industry. There were 1,200 registered information technology (IT) companies in 2002, 200 of which were involved in software development. Software exports stood around $50 million in 2008.

Iran imports a large part of its software. According to the EJISDC, around 95% of the output of the domestic industry is bespoke
Bespoke
Bespoke is a term employed in a variety of applications to mean an item custom-made to the buyer's specification...

 development (including translation/adaptation from foreign source) —as opposed to product work—meaning export possibilities are low.
Domestic firms involved in software production include Iran Software & Hardware Co. (NOSA), Sena Soft, Dadeh-Pardazi, Iran Argham, Kafa System Information Network, Iran System
System Group
System Group is an Iranian software company which delivers business software solutions to Iranian corporations and manufacturers. Established in 1988 by Mahmoud Nazzari, Shahriar Rahimi and Homayoon Hariri, is now the biggest software company in Iran having more than 1000 employees...

 and Puya. IDRO's subsidiaries "Magfa" (Information Technology Development Center) and Iran Info-Tech Development Co. are also leading players in this sector.

Iran's National Foundation for Computer Games unveiled the country's first online video game in 2010, capable of supporting up to 5,000 users at the same time.

Although there are no established clusters in Tehran, a major facility, the Tehran Software and Information Technology Park, is planned. International Development Ireland was selected as the consultant for the project in mid-2004. There are also plans for a technology park in the free-trade zone on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf, which already contains the necessary technological infrastructure.

The government's drive to automate manual processes is expected to account for about 70% of demand for software development
Software development
Software development is the development of a software product...

, but there are also some 15,000 private-sector factories that have software needs. Foreign investment in the sector is minimal, although some links are being developed with the Indian industry. Poor intellectual property protection in Iran
Intellectual property in Iran
Iran is a member of the WIPO since 2001 and has acceded to several WIPO intellectual-property treaties. Iran joined the Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1959. In December 2003 Iran became a party to the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol for the International...

 has also hindered the development of Iranian software companies because of lack of foreign direct investment
Foreign Direct Investment in Iran
Foreign direct investment in Iran has been hindered by unfavorable or complex operating requirements and by international sanctions, although in the early 2000s the Iranian government liberalized investment regulations. Iran ranks 62nd in the World Economic Forum's 2011 analysis of the global...

 in this sector.

Consumer electronics



The Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 consumer electronics and technology sector amounts to a $37 billion high (2008), according to a study by the Dubai-based subsidiary of GfK-MEMRB Marketing Services.
The study also predicts that the market will continue riding the wave of growth to hit $39–$40 billion in 2009. Mobile and smartphones make up 41 percent of the entire digital consumer market with sales of $10 billion expected in 2008. It’s followed by desktop and notebook computers at $5 billion and LCD televisions at $4 billion. The study also reveals the market structure by channel where, in Iran and the UAE, independent retailers still lead with 60-percent share in volume for product categories such as digital cameras, LCD televisions and mobile phones. However, large retailers like Plug-Ins, Emax and Sharaf DG are also making their presence felt by capturing the remaining 40 percent. The digital consumer technology sector is expected to see retail sales in excess of $24 billion by the end of 2008.

Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

’s domestic consumer electronic market, defined as including computing devices, mobile handsets and video audio and gaming products, was estimated at $7.3 billion in 2008 ($8.2 billion in 2010), with 47% market share for computer hardware
Computer hardware
Personal computer hardware are component devices which are typically installed into or peripheral to a computer case to create a personal computer upon which system software is installed including a firmware interface such as a BIOS and an operating system which supports application software that...

, 28% Audio/Video and 25% mobile phone
Mobile phone
A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

 (with growing demand for PDA
PDA
A PDA is most commonly a Personal digital assistant, also known as a Personal data assistant, a mobile electronic device.PDA may also refer to:In science, medicine and technology:...

s, smartphone
Smartphone
A smartphone is a high-end mobile phone built on a mobile computing platform, with more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary feature phone. The first smartphones were devices that mainly combined the functions of a personal digital assistant and a mobile phone or camera...

s and 3G
3G
3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

 handsets). Business Monitor International (BMI) forecasts that Iran’s demands for domestic consumer electronic devices will reach $10 billion by 2013.

Computers



Iran is manufacturing some computer components under license from international companies, predominantly in the area of monitors. Currently eight Iranian companies are manufacturing monitors under licence of LG, Samsung, Hyundai, Benq, Tatung and CTX. Motherboard, keyboard, mouse, computer case, power supply, CPU, hard drive and recently printers are other components that are now manufactured locally. Personal computer (PC) ownership in Iran stood at 7.3m in 2005, or 10.5 PCs per 100 people.

Among the leading domestic telecoms equipment manufacturers is the Iran Telephone Manufacturing Company (ITMC), which has licensing agreements with Siemens
Siemens
Siemens may refer toSiemens, a German family name carried by generations of telecommunications industrialists, including:* Werner von Siemens , inventor, founder of Siemens AG...

 and Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent is a global telecommunications corporation, headquartered in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France. It provides telecommunications solutions to service providers, enterprises, and governments around the world, enabling these customers to deliver voice, data, and video services...

 of France. ITMC is owned by TCI (45%), Industry Bank (35%) and Siemens (20%).
Other manufacturers include Iran Communications Industries Incorporated and Parstel—which produces under licence from Daewoo
Daewoo
Daewoo or the Daewoo Group was a major South Korean chaebol . It was founded on 22 March 1967 as Daewoo Industrial and was dismantled by the Korean government in 1999...

 Corporation, a South Korean firm. IDRO's Iran Info-Tech Development Co. is producing computer
Computer
A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem...

s under the brand name "SAHAND". Overall, ICT hardware sales were estimated to total US$700m a year in 2008.

Ministry of Information and Communication Technology



The main functions of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology
Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (Iran)
The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology established in 1908, is the Ministry of Information and Communication of the Islamic Republic of Iran...

 are laying out and implementing policies pertaining to post and communications in Iran. The Ministry is also in charge of issuing import licenses for certain communication equipments and parts thereof. This ministry was originally named "Ministry of Post, Telegraph & Telephone".

Privatization



Based on Note C of the general policies of the constitution's Article 44, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced that it will float the shares of affiliated companies such as Mobile Telecommunications Company in the stock market.

Under the general policies of Article 44, telecom companies are categorized in four groups as follows:
  • Group One: Among the 30 provincial telecom networks, the fixed telecom networks pertain to those of Tehran, Isfahan, Fars, Hamedan, Ahvaz, Khorasan Razavi, Khuzestan and East Azarbaijan. The first group concerns fixed line telecom networks, including those in the public sector with 30 subsidiary telecom networks in provinces. The non-governmental sector includes companies such as Iraphone, Novin, Zahi Kish, Kouh-e Nour, Montazeran Adlgostar and Pouya Ertebat with each having hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

  • Group Two: The second group concerns mobile telephone networks. In the public sector, they include the Telecommunication Company of Iran
    Telecommunication Company of Iran
    Telecommunication Company of Iran was established in 1971 with a new organizational structure as the main responsible administration for the entire telecommunication affairs, and Iran Telecommunication Industries was also founded in the same year to manufacture the required equipment for the...

     (TCI). In the non-governmental sector, they include telecommunications companies such as Omran Kish, Arse Telecom, Isfahan, Rafsanjan Complex and Irancell
    MTN Irancell
    Irancell is the second mobile phone network operator of Iran. It is 49% owned by the South Africa-based MTN Group.MTN Irancell operates on GSM 900/1800 and is the first network operator of Iran which provides GPRS and MMS service and will let subscribers choose their desired number from between...

    . Privatization Organization has forecast that shares of Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) will be floated in the stock market by late September 2007.

  • Group Three: There is only one public network in the data network sector, namely Data and Telecommunications Company of Iran which is considered a basic telecom network in terms of mobile networks and Shomal IT Company. In the non-governmental sector, there are over 100 companies with a shared data network.

  • Group Four: The subsidiary telecom network named Subsidiary Telecommunications Company is another basic telecom network. They are completely owned by the state and not targeted for privatization.


TCI's Infrastructure Telecom Company will be detached from it and it would continue its activities as a part of the ICT Ministry. 33 companies in the telecom sector are to be privatized by September 2007. This happened simultanisouly with the launch of MTN Irancell
MTN Irancell
Irancell is the second mobile phone network operator of Iran. It is 49% owned by the South Africa-based MTN Group.MTN Irancell operates on GSM 900/1800 and is the first network operator of Iran which provides GPRS and MMS service and will let subscribers choose their desired number from between...

, a private second carrier with foreign ownership. The privatization and introduction of a second operator has created a significantly more competitive environment which has led to significant cost reductions for mobile owners and service benefits.

2009-IPO


In 2009, 51% of the shares of TCI was sold to Mobin Trust Consortium
Mobin trust consortium
The Mobin Trust Consortium is a company affiliated with the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps.. As such, it is an economic engine of the Revolutionary Guards that has been used to acquire state monopolies, or other commercial and business interests important to conservative Iranian political...

, a consortium which some media claimed it was affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, for the sum of $7.8 billion.

Further reading


See also


  • Supreme Council of ICT of Iran
    Supreme Council of ICT of Iran
    SCICT is the main council in Iran for ICT affairs. SCICT is managed by Nasrollah Jahangard.The first form of ICT in Iran was the fax in 1988, and then the computer. Now Iran itself develops ICT. Iranian universities are connected to a gigabit ethernet backbone. Computers have not yet reached all...

    • Takfa
      Takfa
      Tafka is the first complete and countrywide plan for ICT in Iran, the equivalent of an "National ICT agenda " in some other countries...

       - Iran's countrywide plan for ICT, also called "NICTA" in some countries.
  • Telecommunication Company of Iran
    Telecommunication Company of Iran
    Telecommunication Company of Iran was established in 1971 with a new organizational structure as the main responsible administration for the entire telecommunication affairs, and Iran Telecommunication Industries was also founded in the same year to manufacture the required equipment for the...

  • Iran Electronics Industries (IEI)
    Iran Electronics Industries (IEI)
    Iran Electronics Industries is a state-owned subsidiary of Iran's Defense Industries Organization...

  • Shetab Banking System
    Shetab Banking System
    The Shetab system is the only electronic banking clearance and automated payments system used in Iran. The system was introduced in 2002 with the intention of creating a uniform backbone for the Iranian banking system to handle ATM, POS and other card-based transactions.Prior to its introduction,...

     - Iran's electronic banking system
  • Pardis Technology Park
    Pardis Technology Park
    Pardis Technology Park is an technology park, based in Pardis, a satellite city outside of the Tehran metropolitan area, in the Islamic Republic of Iran....

     - Iran's planned "Silicon Valley"
  • International rankings of Iran in ICT
  • List of Iranian companies
  • Media of Iran
  • Economy of Iran
    Economy of Iran
    The economy of Iran is the eighteenth largest in the world by purchasing power parity and according to Iranian officials' claims is going to become the 12th largest by 2015. The economy of Iran is a mixed and transition economy with a large public sector and some 50% of the economy centrally planned...

  • Transportation in Iran
  • Stuxnet
    Stuxnet
    Stuxnet is a computer worm discovered in June 2010. It initially spreads via Microsoft Windows, and targets Siemens industrial software and equipment...


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