‘The consortium is now negotiating with the Foreign Investment Organisation, not with the Information & Communication Technologies Ministry [ICT],’ says ICT official Mohammed Fardis, who is in charge of the second licence programme. ‘It has asked for more facilities regarding the repatriation of money, inflation and exchange rate fluctuation.’

The consortium was declared the winner of a tender for the licence on 23 February and is to be named Irancellwhen it is formally established as a local company. It is comprised of Turkcell, Sweden’s Ericssonand Finland’s Sunaray, with local partners Parman Ertebadand Iran Electronic Development Company, a joint venture between Industrial Development & Renovation Organisation, the Defence Ministry subsidiary Sa Iran and Bonyad Shahid.

Some analysts in Tehran have said the Turkish company may be concerned about the fate of another Turkish-led consortium, Tepe Akfen Vie, which in May was expelled by the military from Imam Khomeini International Airport, for which it was on the verge of signing an operation contract.