Iran has several mobile-phone networks but only two – government-owned MCI and MTN Irancell) enjoy wide coverage. Irancell has a onemonth tourist SIM card sold at a booth upstairs in Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport for IR500, 000. The SIM gives IR 200, 000 worth of calls and texts (which should cover most eventualities over the course of a month) plus 5GB of data. Top up your credit at vendors displaying yellow and blue MTN signs; vendors will usually charge about 10% more than the card’s face value. Full pricing is available in English on Irancell̕ s website. MCI and MTN Irancell SIMs allow GPRS data transfer after a free registration process, and WiMAX has been rolled out in several cities. As a general rule, 4G is available in big cities and 3G in mid-sized ones, while there’s very basic pedal power in rural places. * You will need a local SIM card for cheap local and pricey international calls. Your home SIM will not work.
Iran received access to the Internet in 1993. According to Internet World Stats, as of 2016, about 68.5% of the populations of Iran are Internet users. Iran ranks 19th among countries by number of Internet users. According to the statistics provided by the web information company of Alexa, Google Search and Yahoo! are the most widely used search engines in Iran. Instagram is the most popular online social networking service in Iran. Around 90% of Iran’s e-commerce takes place on the Iranian online store of Digikala, which has around 750,000 visitors per day and more than 2.3 million subscribers. Digikala is the most visited online store in the Middle East, and ranks fourth among the most visited websites in Iran. In Iran, internet cafes are known as cafeenets (previously called coffee nets), although there are fewer such places with each passing year as everyone has mobile internet and Wi-Fi is increasingly common. In Tehran, for example, there are virtually no cafeenets left as pretty much all cafes, teahouses and hotels have Wi-Fi. Speeds are variable, but most cities have ADSL connections. Wi-Fi is increasingly available in hotels and cafes, and it’s usually (but not always) free. Upmarket coffee shops invariably have Wi-Fi, and whether you pay for it or not seems to depend a little on how much you pay for your coffee.