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Mobile Operators :
There are four major companies in Iran who provide Mobile communication :
1 - IR-TCI :
This is the first mobile company in Iran and it is govermental and also the sole provider of all land lines. Covers almost all of Iran , but mobile signal maybe weak in Mountains and some deserts of IRAN . Has both permanent and pre paid sim cards and You can top up Your balance for prepaid sim card through Internet by using major Iranian Debit cards or simply buy a Top up card from any grocery, news stand or Mobile service provider shops which are available all around Iran . sim cards have SMS , MMS , GPRS . This service provider is the one who is providing roaming services to many countries.
2 - : MTN-IRANCELL :
This operator normally referred to just as Irancell, was the 2nd one to start its service in Iran and it's coverage area also ranks 2nd after MCI. . There is not a significant difference between its area of coverage compared with MACI in all cities and villages of Iran. The only difference might be in outskirts of smaller cities where it might be not as good as MCI. Top up is possible both by online purchase (with a local debit card) and top up prepaid cards available in every grocery or news stand.
3 - Taliya :
Third company in Iran which has a bit higher calling rates and doesn't have a very good country Coverage like other two operators mentioned above. Altogether not recommendable to tourists,
This operator was the first in Iran to start providing vido chat facility without any special programs such as skype or viber. Later this service was limited and requires some paperwork and is available only to owners of permanent sim cards. The quality of its services is excellent, but the coverage area is still very limitted. Very much recommendable for those staying in Tehran and few other major cities such as Isfahan & Shiraz and Tabriz and Mashhad, but if you want to move around and go to location out of the city, think twice before buying their sim cards. Top up is possible both by online purchase (with a local debit card) and top up prepaid cards available in every grocery or news stand.
Also, to save money on SMS to Iran use a free SMS service such as SMS4all.
How to Buy a Sim Card :
To purchase an Iranian mobile sim card You shoud bring Your passport , Provide a copy of the page with Your photograph on Your passport and pay the sim card price . But if your host or tour agent accepts to buy one for you prior to your arrival, it can be the best option.
The price is about 5 - 10 USA Dollars depending on the number (round numbers tend to be more expensive) and they normally have 1.5 Dollars credit and you will need to top up upon purchase. Most operators have promotional offers making it possible to increase your credit with the normal payments if you use that credit in a short period ( normally 1 week) and it can be a good option for tourists.
Incoming calls from other countires are FREE OF CHARGE and You dont need to recharge Your sim card if it is Your last days of trip and You except incoming calls from Iran or abroad .
Calling Abroad :
There are also VOIP prepaid international cards available in all of the Stores and if You want to call other countries while you are in Iran it is much better to purchase one . Commonly they are 5000 Tomans cards ( 5 $ ) and 2500 Tomans Cards ( 2.5 $ ) .
This Way You can dial a number which is written on the back of the card and after that You enter Your pin code and your number and it Dials for you .
International calls from Iran start with 00 , for instance, 001 for USA and 0044 for UK. But there are companies who give you a better rate for international calls and to use their services you will need to replace the 00 with another code. Main instance is 020 . If you Dial 0201 instead of 001, you will pay almost half the price. All in all, international call rates are very reasonable in Iran and your first international call will give you a good idea on the price for your destination.
Iran numbers :
Country Code is : " +98 " . each city has it`s own code for example :
Shahrekord ( Shahrkord or Shahre_kord ) : 038
Tehran : 021
Esfahan : 031
If someone is calling You from outside Iran , they should dial : " +98 - 21 For tehran for example "
If you call a land line from your cellphone, you will need to necessarily dial the city code even if you are in that city. It means, if you are in Tehran and want to call someone else in Tehran on his land line, you should dial 021 and then the tel no.
Emergency Number :
In case of any emergency just dial the number : " 110 " , You will be able to dial this number with Your sim card even if You dont have any charge on Your sim card .