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Iran: Electronic Media and Telecommunications
Country Study > Chapter 3 > The Economy > Transportation and Telecommunications > Electronic Media and Telecommunications


Radio and Television

In 2005 the state-owned National Radio and Television Organization (Sazeman-e Seda va Seema) had sufficient radio and television transmission capability to reach about 95 percent of the population of Iran. In 2004 Iran had 92 radio stations with 123 main radio transmitters and nine substations for reaching overseas listeners. In addition, four short-wave radio stations with 28 transmitters were in operation. In 2002 some 28 television stations were in operation, sending signals from six main channels to about 7 million television sets. Access to interna188

The Economy

tional satellite channels, introduced in the early 2000s, has provided Iranians in both rural and urban areas with greatly increased opportunities to obtain information. Although domestic data were not available, unofficial statistics suggested that at least 50 percent of households had access to international channels in 2005.


Since the introduction of telephone service to Iran, the demand for telephone lines consistently has exceeded supply. In 2004 Iran had 1.1 million intercity automatic telecommunications channels and 9,760 outgoing and 7,078 incoming international channels. Between 1987 and 2004, telephones installed in housing units, commercial units, and public buildings increased from 1.8 million to 17.7 million. During that period, the number of villages with telephone communication facilities increased from 2,329 to 41,109. Households and businesses subscribing to mobile telephone lines increased from 60,000 in 1997 to about 3.5 million in 2004. In 2006 an estimated 13.7 million subscribers had mobile telephone service. In 2005 Iran’s telephone system remained inadequate to meet demand, but an ongoing modernization program was expanding services, especially in rural areas. Also, the widespread installation of digital switches increased the system’s technical capabilities.


In 1998 only nine businesses provided Internet services in Iran; all nine were in Tehran. In 2004 official records indicated that 800 Internet access services were operating in major cities. Internet businesses are divided into two categories: Internet cafés and Internet service providers (ISPs). In 2005 some 319 Internet cafés, 191 ISPs, and 94 unidentified Internet businesses were in operation; Internet businesses employed 1,831 full-time and part-time personnel and had 2,309 computer units. In 2002 Internet businesses served 7,100 customers a day and had about US$13 million in sales. Capital formation was US$3.5 million that year. Between 1997 and 2006, the number of Internet subscribers increased from 2,000 to 7.5 million. However, Internet censorship increased sharply after the election of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in 2005.

Data as of 2008

Last Updated: January 2008

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Iran was first published in 1987. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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