Internet is widely available in Iran and that is quite easy to access. As soon as you get off your plane at IKA airport or any other Iran airport, buy a SIM card at a very reasonable price. Once your SIM card is activated, you’ll enjoy high-speed Internet access, keep in touch with family and friends or check your emails and messages.
Generally speaking, there are 2 ways to access the Internet in Iran:
- With an Iranian SIM card
- With a Wi-Fi hotspot in hotels or internet cafes
Internet Companies for smartphones in Iran
When you arrive in Iran, you can buy a local SIM card to have internet access without having to look for a Wi-Fi spot. In Iran, currently, there are three telecommunication and Internet service providers:
- Hamrah-e Aval (MCI): the first and largest telecom provider
- MTN Irancell: the second large telecom provider and the easiest for tourists
- RighTel: this provider is not a handy one for tourists
All three providers offer 2G, to 4G/LTE networks available for prepaid SIM cards. The two first offer special services for tourists through a product called “Tourist SIM”. They also have a national roaming agreement to offer better coverage, so the customers of either provider roam on the network in rural areas. Among all, Irancell is much cheaper, has better coverage and is the easiest provider to purchase a SIM card as a traveller.
How is the Network access in Iran?
The mobile phone network in Iran covers all major areas of the country for smartphone internet access, which are very common among young Iranians.
In major cities, you will have easy access to 4G/LTE internet. As well to the SIM cards with internet packages that you can buy, hotels are equipped with Wi-Fi and internet cafes can be easily found.
If you are thinking about having internet in remote areas like the countryside, desert or mountains areas, you need to think more. The villages and remote areas are not always connected to the web and the coverage for the SIM card is poor, not available all the time and even non-existent.
Filtering of the Internet in Iran
As a traveler, you have downloaded all the necessary travel apps, but your main concern is how the internet in Iran may cause hassle for you. Unfortunately, in Iran, access to some websites is blocked.
Luckily, there’s an easy way around this. To have access to free internet, you must install a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your mobile phone. A VPN will encrypt your Internet connection and direct the traffic to a server abroad. However, those will considerably slow down the connection, once installed, you can browse the internet normally.
What websites and applications are filtered in Iran?
The websites that are recognized to be against the country’s Islamic rules and beliefs have been filtered from the inside. Moreover, due to the sanctions, some websites and applications are blocked for Iran IPs by the abroad companies. The filtered websites by the Iran government include: Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram, and many news agency websites and Media platforms. However, WhatsApp, Instagram, Skype, Yahoo, and almost all Google features are accessible.
How is the internet connection speed in Iran?
In general, the connections are acceptable for doing daily activities. But in specific circumstances especially when uploading the speed may not be acceptable. In internet cafes, the network is stable, but you may have problems in some hotels where the connection drops regularly, which causes difficulty in uploading large files.
European phone compatibility in Iran
The Iranian network is compatible with European phones and cards and you will have no problems calling, texting and connecting to the internet with your European registered phone.
Cafenets or the Iranian Internet cafes
Iran has a considerable number of cafenets. However, they are not always visible because they are often located on upper floors or on side streets. The computers are generally equipped with Windows XP and software in English and the keyboards are often with Roman characters.
Important facts about buying a SIM card in Iran:
- You must have a valid passport and visa
- It is best to do the formalities with an Iranian
- The tourist SIM card is only valid for 1 month
- Once the SIM card is inserted, the network works hassle-free.
I hope this article was useful to you and I wish you an excellent trip to Iran!
For more information or to share your experiences about internet access in Iran, don’t hesitate to send us a comment.