Iran’s largest Internet service provider Shatel Group has been given the go-ahead to offer ‘full’ Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) services by the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) affiliated to the Telecoms Ministry.
According to a company press release, Shatel will offer MVNO services under the brand name ‘Shatel Mobile’. The company will sell its own SIM cards but will make use of MTN-Irancell, RighTel or MCI networks.
The company has not yet announced when it will start the sale of SIM cards; the process should start late in the next fiscal year that begins in March.
An MVNO is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the mobile network infrastructure over which it provides services to customers but in fact pays a fee to the network operators.
The CRA issued a call for registration last winter, following which the applications of 51 firms were processed and they had to submit the required documents by the August 21 deadline.
One of those companies, HiWeb which signed a partnership deal with Britain’s Vodafone Group in October, the fourth largest mobile operator in world, also obtained a license from the CRA to offer SIM cards under a local brand.
That network will launch its network by the next Iranian year in March according to sources close to the firm.
They also said that some two dozen Vodafone employees are regularly coming to Iran to develop the HiWeb MVNO offer.
The CRA earlier said the list of approved firms will be finalized before the current year is out in March and the firms will begin selling SIM cards shortly after.
Some of those firms which won the licenses will either offer Internet-only services like LTE TDD home modems while others will attempt to tackle the supremacy of the two major operators by offering voice services as well as mobile Internet.