Nowadays, telecommunications industry and its role in the progress of nations considers as one of the key driving engines of many high-tech industries, of course, this characteristic has been made due to telecommunications ( telecom in abbr. ) industry move in accordance with the Human Science trend. Dramatic developments have been made in economic marketplaces and consumption patterns in the world upon entering the scientific achievements of telecom industry to consumption markets and combination with technology.
Today, the state of telecom industry is not desirable in Iran, although very good activities, plans and developments have been done in recent years, but the industry to achieve favorite position is far from global standards.
In recent years, ministry of communications has considered about $ 40000000 budget to support research, development and knowledge-based companies in Iran and “Communications Research Center” has defined a specific budget for manufacturing domestic products and supporting R&D activities and programs too.
Telecommunication Company of Iran ( TCI ) in the ranking of the top 100 Iranian companies in terms of the highest market value and value-added, profitability, employment and sales volume was 2nd, 3rd , 5th and 9th in 2013 respectively and gained the highest net profit margin, this company had average ratio of paid dividend profit of 90 percent in 2013 that can not be attributed to the profitable investment opportunities and survey of these figures indicate that other countries have about half of this paid profit and dedicate the remainder to R&D activities, programs and investments, the important issue that has been really neglected in Iran.
From the beginning, there has been a government monopoly in telecom industry marketplace in Iran and the government is the only great buyer, of course this trend is not intended one in recent years and some efforts have been made for industry privatization that have been effective and helpful but not sufficient.
Improper use of regional opportunities due to lack of proper strategic planning and holistic and trans-regional viewpoint have caused these strategic opportunities that could be owned by Iran, shift to neighboring countries. It is essential to use strategic opportunities properly, support government in all different economic and politic levels and complete recognition of domestic capabilities for becoming Iran a partner with famous and great companies in global telecom industry.
Indeed, establishing consortiums including operators from various industrial areas and directing their activities form a model for developing countries such as Brazil and such approach, in addition to use related expertises to perform cross-sectional activities, improves work process.
There are organizations in order to monitor, forecast and make foresight technology in Many developed countries, in all sectors especially ones with high speed of technology changes, unfortunately, there are no such organizations in Iran and founding these institutions is only a preliminary to a series of actions that governments accomplish in the form of technology policy. Implementing “National Innovation System” is a method that has been applied in some countries in order to expose to technology development cycle, the method that can be used to address the problem of technology development in Iran well.
The main problems of telecom industry in Iran include : lack of strong R&D departments, lack of coordination and continuous supervision of related organizations in control and monitoring of the industry practitioners and producers, government monopoly, lack of systematic and comprehensive regulations and lack of appropriate planning and effective use of technical and industrial capabilities. In real, some of aforementioned factors have acted as preventive ones for foreign investors in recent years.
The transition from the current situation and developing powerful telecom industry requires continuous identification of demand markets and formulating comprehensive plans, also there is an urgent need for R&D reinforcement and commercialization chain creation.
Connecting world people through landline phone backs date to 125 years ago and lasts until today with metal wire and optical fiber infrastructure, but nowadays, people hear less about voice of their environment from landline phone.
Mobile phone has possessed landline phone world, revenues from landline phone have declined sharply and other traditional voice services are not considered. landline phone companies currently provide bandwidth and internet related services and try customers retention and shortage income compensation via these services widely.
Mobile phone penetration rate is relatively low in Iran compared to regional standards, this country was ranked thirteenth in terms of coverage among 15 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2014 and Iranian policy makers are optimistic about future growth of mobile phone accordingly. It is anticipated that penetration growth rate of mobile phone will be 5.2 percent annually until 2017, whereas average penetration rate is 3.4 percent in the region.
Iran telecom market valued about $ 5.5 billion in 2015 and this value must be 4 times more regarding to this fact that the market must have the share of 1 percent of the world telecom market.
Iran's high dependence on voice services revenue is under pressure due to intense competition that along with devaluation of national currency have caused lowest average revenue per subscriber for Iran.
There are two main mobile phone operators in Iran : Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran ( MCI ) and Irancell. MCI belongs to Telecommunication Company of Iran ( TCI ) and is a governmental organization. Irancell is a semi private company and 49 percent of its stocks is owned by MTN South Africa company. Third and fourth operators are Taliya and RighTel, Taliya has not been successful in audience attraction, while RighTel that is first 3G mobile operator, has been successful in client attraction with providing customer friendly and diverse services. In 2015, RighTel launched 4G technology and its success in reaching to 3rd rank in Iran marketplace with regards to its limited coverage indicates accumulated demand for high level services, various services such as multimedia message ( MMS ) and video call which are supported by RighTel.
High acceleration rate of return on investment compared to other areas in telecom industry and a growing worldwide demand for varied services have caused investors' attention is focused on this industry more than ever so that many countries adjust and correct political orientations and decisions due to existing economic situation, predetermined objectives and significant changes and evolutions in the industry.