Iran to Announce 3rd GSM License Tender within Days

A03925602.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iran has launched bid inviting companies to take part in tender for the Islamic Republic’s third mobile operator.

The two existing operators in Iran are the state telephone company, TCI – which the Mobile World estimates ended Q1 2008 with some 24.5 million customers (59% of the market) – and Irancell, a firm that is 49 percent owned by MTN Group, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest mobile firm.

Irancell ended the month with an impressive 9 million customers after just over a year of operations. There are also a few small regional operators with negligible subscriber bases.

“The invitation to take part in the tender takes place through mass circulation newspapers from Aug. 25 to Sept. 4. The sale of tender documents will take place on Sept. 6,” said Saeed Mahdiyoun, the official in charge of setting up the third mobile network.

The report named the consulting firm for the project as Millennium Finance Corporation (MFC), an investment bank created by a team of bankers from major international investment banking firms in partnership with Dubai Islamic Bank.

“The foreign consulting firm will have responsibilities that include marketing, encouraging investors to participate in the tender, cooperating in the evaluation and determining the qualification of participating companies,” the report said.

Earlier, Iran’s minister of communications and information technology, Mohammad Soleimani said, “The international tender for Iran’s third cell phone operator will be published in newspapers by the next two days”.

He added that the project is estimated to attract $3 billion in investment.

Russia’s Megafon and VimpelCom say that they have already been approached over a bid for the license.

Iran launched its first rocket capable of launching a satellite into space last week, which will be used in the future to launch a communications satellite.

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