Even though Turkcell has now been granted the FIPPA licence, the company has denied rumours that the final network operating licence agreement has been signed. In addition to Turkcell, other shareholders in Irancell are Sweden’s Ericssonand the local Iran Electronic Development Company, itself owned by state-owned Defence Industries Organisation subsidiary Sa Iran, Bonyad Shahidand Industrial Development & Renovation Organisation.

Turkcell still has some major obstacles to overcome. Majlis representatives from the dominant conservative factions have strongly criticised the deal. They say it breaches national security and are pushing for a new bill that will give them the power to veto all government-awarded foreign investment contracts, retrospectively from the start of the Iranian year on 21 March 2004.

Second-placed bidder, MTNof South Africa, renewed its bid bond in August to take over the project if the Turkcell consortium dropped out.