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Iranian official: Turkcell has until Sept 3 to respond

Tehran, Aug 25, IRNA-Managing Director 'SAIran' one of the three Iranian members in 'Irancell' consortium involved in operating the second mobile phone network said in Tehran on Wednesday that the Iranian companies have given their foreign partners in the 'Turkcell' consortium until September 3 to carry out their commitments.

Ebrahim Mahmoudzadeh told IRNA that the negotiation with the foreign side are proceeding smoothly adding "we are hopeful in the outcome."

He also said until the negotiations are not completed it is not ethical to comment on the statements by the foreign shareholders published in the press.

One of the members of Turkcell board of directors Tuesday night had hinted on a row between Iranian and foreign partners.

On the content of the negotiations, Mahmoudzadeh added that the talks are not around legal issues, "but cover the work performed in the project so far by the foreign partner."

The parliament decided in February to trim down Turkish telecommunication major Turkcell's stake in the project to a non-controlling 49 percent, citing security concerns.

"The division of shares among Irancell shareholders must be carried out in a way that the Iranian companies' stake does not drop below 51 percent," the parliament declared in approving the bill.

Parliament also decreased Turkcell's subscription price to about dlrs 125 per line from the company's suggested price of dlrs 178.

The original deal was worth 385.7 million dollars, giving Turkey's leading GSM operator, Turkcell, a 70-percent stake in the joint project, to operate 16 million lines over a period of 15 years.

The former Telecommunications Minister Ahmad Motamedi had stated that the current Iranian mobile phone network, providing connection to 3.5 million subscribers in a country of 70 million, lags 10 years behind the rest of the world in updating its technology.

"A simple estimate indicates that if we rely on the capability of the First Operator, given the 25-fold increase in the country's capacity, it will take between eight and ten years to meet the existing demands (for mobile phones)."

... Payvand News - 8/25/05 ... --

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