TeleGeography, citing a report on Iranian TV channel Press TV, notes that Russia’s MegaFon is the apparent winner of the country’s protracted third mobile license auction. MegaFon is believed to have been competing with Russian rival VimpelCom for the license, having recently pledged to invest around EUR3 billion in building a GSM network in Iran if it were successful. 

According to Wireless Intelligence, Iran has 58 million mobile connections and a market penetration rate of 78 percent. Incumbent state operator TCI has 34.4 million connections whilst MTN Irancell has 20.5 million. There are also a few small regional operators with subscriber bases of around 2 million or under. The much sought-after third major license covers GSM services, and reportedly includes a two-year monopoly on 3G services. Iran has been attempting to award the third license for months. An earlier tender saw UAE-based Etisalat awarded the concession; however, the government cancelled the award in May and transferred the licence to Zain before withdrawing it once again in July.