EghtesadOnline: Telecoms Minister Mahmoud Vaezi inaugurated the country’s first fiber optic telephone network in Tehran at the weekend.
Mobile operators were given carte blanche in 2013 to upgrade to the latest 4G systems. Traditional telecom companies only recently signed contracts to replace aging copper lines with fiber optic cables.
To show that the new network is part of a wider roll-out across the country, Vaezi used the opportunity to telephone regional officials in Bushehr, Zanjan and Tehran, which are among the targeted areas for expansion of the fiber optic network, Mehr News Agency reported.
During the first phase of the national fiber optic installation, 50,000 users will be given access to the network. However, full access will be gradual due to the needs and complexities of retrofitting a city of more than 13 million people, Financial Tribune reported.
The first phase of the fiber network should be operational by the end of the current year in March when the first 50,000 subscribers join up to the improved service.
The demonstration by Vaezi and private sector officials who have contracts to dig up the roads to lay the fiber optic cables comes as the country steadily increases Internet speed for landline users.
The ministry intends to push the private sector to increase potential subscribers to 100,000 in the next fiscal that starts in March 2018, however, it remains to be seen if they can do so as homes and businesses will have to be refitted with new telephone points.
The launch of the network is Iran’s first move towards “the next-generation network (NGN)” which is a body of key architectural changes in telecommunication core and access networks.
The general idea behind the NGN is that one network transports all information and services (voice, data, and all sorts of media such as video) by encapsulating these into IP packets, similar to those used on the Internet.
NGNs are commonly built around the Internet Protocol, and therefore the term all-IP is also sometimes used to describe the transformation of formerly telephone-centric networks toward NGN.
TCI joined hands with three foreign firms — Huawei and Fiber Home from China and Finland’s Nokia — to expand its fiber optic network and launch Fiber to the Home (FTTH) services in Iran.
Meanwhile, on May 9, South Africa’s MTN said that it had agreed to invest an initial $300 million in fixed broadband provider Iranian Net and lend the company $450 million.
Rob Shuter, CEO of MTN, signed the agreement in Tehran with Telecoms Minister Mahmoud Vaezi after months of discussion about the company entering the fixed-line Internet market.
The long-awaited investment will give the South African firm a 49% stake in the company.