The holder of the second mobile phone licence in Iran signed up some 5,852,000 people over the year taking its total number of customers to just over 6m.

Egyptian operator Mobinil was the region’s second fastest-growing operator with 5,851,000 new customers during 2007, just 1,000 fewer than Irancell.

Irancell’s share of the Iranian market is difficult to assess because its only competitor, Mobile Company of Iran, a subsidiary of Telephone Company of Iran, does not publish regular figures.

MTN’s operations in its three other Middle Eastern markets, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, all grew rapidly during 2007.

The Sudanese operation grew by 96 per cent from 1.1 million to 2.1 million. MTN Syria grew by 40 per cent from 2.2 million to 3.1 million and MTN Yemen grew 30 per cent from 1.2 million to 1.5 million.