Irancell and MTN have been told by the Information & Communication Technologies Ministry (ICT) that they are free to negotiate – a process that is understood to have already begun. However, ICT has given Irancell a deadline of 21 November to reach agreement or face the project being retendered. The dispute between Turkcell and Irancell centred on the division of extra stock the Turkish company was forced to relinquish in the consortium by Majlis order, as well as difficulties over paying the Eur 300 million ($375 million) licence fee.

MTN is expected to face some similar difficulties to Turkcell in its negotiations with the local partners.

The process is now running more than a year behind schedule. Turkcell and its partners won the second licence after a tender in early 2004 and were expected to finalise the project last summer. However, challenges by the Majlis and Guardian Council delayed matters. If Turkcell is forced out, it will seek to reclaim a Eur 100 million ($125 million) deposit paid when it first won the licence.