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EghtesadOnline: While officials claim that cellphone prices have dropped sharply, market observers dismiss the assertion saying that prices remain high.

Officials at the Telecoms Ministry in Tehran have been quoted on several occasions in the press as saying that mobile prices have declined by up to 8% in recent weeks due to the decrease in foreign exchange rates, reports ICTNA.

Last week forex rates declined as the Central Bank of Iran introduced rescue packages for the rial. The national currency has continued its gain against the US dollar in the open foreign exchange market, as the CBI pushed through with its efforts to stabilize the currency that had lost a quarter of its value within six months. 

The rial was trading at 44,800 to the dollar on Sunday, strengthening from 49,000 more than a week ago. But money exchangers across the country were not trading in the greenback and a few had the euro for sale, Financial Tribune reported.

The relative stability in the forex market led to the expectation that mobile phone prices would also descend, but experts say prices of most handsets remain high while a few models have become only slightly cheaper. This they assert is due largely to declining demand for the specific (older) models and seemingly unrelated to the hard currency prices that have seen more than their fair share of huge swings over the past several years. 

Industry experts and retailers insist that the implementation of the Registry Scheme is the main reason pushing up cellphone prices. Launched in October, the scheme bars local operators from offering services to contraband phones. It is said that the scheme has caused prices to hike by up to 20%. All phone brands sold in Iran will be subject to the registry scheme by the end of the current fiscal that ends in March. 

Officials have often denied the negative impact of the registration compulsion on price inflation and love to blame the volatility on the foreign exchange market.

Morteza Amirzadeh, a phone retailer told the news agency that if the decline in forex rates continues, we will definitely see lower prices. But the claim that prices have dropped 8% is simply not true.

It is predicted that the prices will rise further by March when Samsung, which dominates almost 50% of the local mobile market, is included in the Registry Scheme.


Cellphone Prices in Iran Iran cellphone market