EghtesadOnline: M ajor mobile operators started sharing infrastructure on Thursday as part of efforts to help improve mobile coverage in rural areas.
The two main operators, Mobile Telecommunications Company of Iran (MCI) and MTN-Irancell currently provide communication and data transfer services throughout the country employing thousands of antennas.
While in most areas both MCI and Irancell have antennas, there are areas where their coverage does not overlap. This meant that only subscribers with one operator had access to services, local news website ICTNA reported. This mostly happened in the rural and underdeveloped areas, Financial Tribune reported.
Collaboration between MCI and Irancell is part of a scheme introduced by the ICT Ministry in 2014 named “National Roaming Network”.
Roaming refers to the ability of mobile subscribers to automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive data, or access other services, when traveling outside the coverage area of their “home network”, by means of using a “visited network”.
For instance, the “home network”, for a subscriber with MCI, is the network established by the mobile operator and the “visited network” is Irancell’s.
ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said on tweeter, “As of Thursday, and following implementation of the National Roaming Network scheme, subscribers who live in areas with poor or no coverage of their ‘home network’ will have enhanced access to services.”
In addition to basic telephony services, the collaborations between the two operators are to be extended to mobile Internet services.
Iran Communication Regulatory Authority says more than 91 million mobile subscriptions have been registered in the country. Some 60% of the users are MCI customers and 36% have a subscription with Irancell. The rest are customers of small local operators like RighTel.
It merits mention that most villages do have mobile coverage, but there are underdeveloped areas still not connected to the operators’ network.
Founded in 1992, MCI is the first and the oldest mobile operator in Iran. The country's telecommunication services were later extended with the launch of MTN-Irancell in 2006.