Given the reported uncertainty surrounding spectrum availability, the news that Iran will see the launch of 5G this year may come as a surprise to some readers.
However, in what is described as an official announcement, the operator Mobile Company of Iran (MCI), also known as Hamrave Aval, has said that having been commissioning 5G since late March 2020, it plans to have 5G in operation by the 20th of March 2021.
The news, which came from the director-general of MCI, suggested that the company’s 5G programme is well under way. Although the size of the project has not been made clear, a scheduled pilot will apparently soon be put into operation.
In addition a number of likely locations to be used for the pilot, all in Tehran, have been chosen, including the Hamrave Aval building, the Milad Tower (one of the tallest towers in the world), the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Book Garden, and Tehran University of Shahid Beheshti University.
MCI is the longest-established and biggest mobile operator in Iran, claiming some 60 million subscribers or about 71 percent of the country.
Early last year, there were reports in local news media of spectrum issues holding up auctions and rollout. Iran’s telecommunications minister was reported at the time as saying that the country might be able to offer implementation – and services – as early as 2021. However, a later report suggested that MCI had been given a deadline of early September 2020 to begin providing 5G coverage in Tehran.