EghtesadOnline: A $9.2 million telecom infrastructure development plan has been completed in East Azarbaijan Province while another initiative worth $5.8 million was launched on Thursday.
The news was announced during a press conference attended by ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi.
President Hassan Rouhani launched the new project with a live-streamed message, the ministry’s website reported.
According to Jahromi, Irancell, Mobile Telecommunications Company of Iran and RighTel (major mobile operators in the country) have respectively set up 114, 81 and three communication centers in the province, Financial Tribune reported.
“The private sector spent 860 billion rials ($7.1 million) for setting up these centers and the government pitched in 260 million rials ($2.1 million),” he said.
“With these efforts, all cities of the province and 644 villages have got access to quality communication services … With the launch of this project, 89.9% of residents of the province and 67% of villages with more than 20 households will get connected [to Iran’s National Information Network].”
The National Information Network is an independent domestic network that enables Iranians to communicate without reliance on international Internet hubs.
The network comprises several projects, including but not limited to the expansion of the local fiberoptic network, installation of Internet Exchange Points and giving a boost to Content Delivery Networks.
“Earlier this year, with an investment of 240 billion rials [$1.98 million] in the province, 528 cell towers were upgraded by the two major Iranian mobile operators, MTN-Irancell and MCI in East Azarbaijan,” Jahromi said.
The telecom minister also inaugurated a project worth 700 billion rials ($5.8 million), which entails laying 302 km of optical fiber cable in the province to boost the communication infrastructure.
According to Jahromi, by the end of the current fiscal year (March 19, 2020), an additional 13% of villages in the province with more than 20 households are to go on stream,” he added.
If the project is successful, 300 other villages will get connected to the World Wide Web.
Pointing to the province's potentials in the fields of ICT, Jahromi called on local authorities to invest more time and effort on expanding services and providing younger generations with training in the field.
Iran Communication Network
Over the past two decades, extensive investments have been made for the expansion of Iran’s telecom infrastructure. These investments helped lay fiber optic cables and set up more cell towers in the country.
Iran’s first intercity fiber optic cable was laid between Tehran and Karaj in 1990. The cable was 54 kilometers long.
According to the latest data, 195,260 km of fiber optic cable have been laid in Iran.
The country’s total population is estimated to be 82.4 million, nearly 70% of whom live in urban areas. With 72.94 million users, Iran has an Internet penetration rate of 89%.
The number of Iranian Internet users shot up by 29% in 2018. In other words, 16 million people got connected to the web for the first time last year.
An estimated 123.7 million SIM cards have been sold in the country. The number of active mobile SIMs registers an annual increase of 3 million (2.4%).
Average mobile Internet speed was 30.58 megabits per second in 2018, 75% higher than a year earlier, while average fixed Internet speed was 12.82 Mbps, indicating a 36% rise.
Close to 74% of mobile subscribers use prepaid services and 26% are post-paid. Over 59% of the mobile SIMs support broadband Internet (3G and/or 4G).