EghtesadOnline: T he Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is in talks with the judiciary to acquire permits to unblock the Telegram voice calling feature in Iran.
Telecoms Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi told ISNA, “There is growing public demand for unblocking the service and the ministry is negotiating with the judiciary” to settle this issue and move forward. How far it will proceed and succeed in convincing the judiciary to change course on this key public demand remains to be seen.
Telegram messenger launched its voice calling service on April 13 in Iran, but the feature was blocked by the judiciary in less than a week.
Since then rumor mills say on social media platforms that Iranian mobile operators are opposed to the launch of the service fearing the negative impact it can and will have on their earnings, Financial Tribune reported.
Before leaving office last month, the former telecoms minister Mahmoud Vaezi said “A primary concern over the launch of the service is the inevitable and enormous impact it could have on the business of Iranian mobile network operators.”
However, mobile operators and networks have denied any cause for concern and officially said that they have nothing to do with the blocking of the service.
For hitherto unknown reasons, Vaezi change his stance and without elaboration said the blocking “is due to security concerns.”
This is while other applications like Skype, Hangout and WhatsApp are also available in Iran offering both voice and video call services.
Local startups are also looking to fill the void in the most popular messaging app’s arsenal to their advantage. One firm iGap is offering its own messaging and voice calling service. So far it has been able to attract 25,000 active users.
Telegram is the most popular messing app in Iran with close to 41 million active users. In addition to instant messaging, the application has a wide range of features such as file sharing and social networking via groups and channels.
According to a report published earlier this week by Iran’s National Center for Cyberspace, there are about 586,000 active Persian Telegram channels and almost 12,000 new channels are created every week.
Through Telegram channels subjects such as news, music, radio podcasts and short stories are published. The center said more than 3 million posts per day are published via Telegram channels.