Britain’s Vodafone is going into partnership with the Iranian internet service provider HiWEB to help modernise its network and IT infrastructure.
It is the latest Western firm to enter the country after sanctions were lifted after Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear programme.
With a population of 80 million, many of them young, and high levels of mobile phone ownership, Iran is seen as an opportunity for telecoms companies looking to expand into new markets.
“Vodafone’s corporate customers will get the benefit of quality network services in the country and HiWEB will be able to access Vodafone’s global expertise,” Vodafone Partner Markets Chief Executive Diego Massidda said.
Privatised in 2009, HiWEB got a nationwide licence to supply mobile internet services in 2014 and has won a government contract to provide high-speed internet exclusively to 25,000 villages across the country for a decade.
Vodafone, the world’s second-largest mobile phone company, will assist HiWEB in marketing, distribution and sales, including the provision of Internet of Things (IoT) services which involve enabling internet connectivity for cars and other objects.
Other British companies entering Iran include British Airways, which resumed direct flights to Tehran in September, and BP which was reported to have bought crude from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) this month.
Vodafone’s French rival Orange is also in talks about cooperating with the Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran, the country’s largest mobile operator.