Financial Tribune- Nearly 90% of iPhones sold in the market in Iran are smuggled into the country, according to the head of Iran’s Telecoms Equipment Union.
Only 8% of the iPhones on the market are imported via certified firms, ISNA quoted Gholam Hossein Karimi as saying.
He added that the prices of the contraband phones are 12% cheaper than those that are legally imported; this is why customers prefer the smuggled items over the legally imported ones, he said.
Removing the 9% value added tax which the legal importers and distributors must pay could be an effective measure in reducing illegal iPhones.
Certain officials had in the past opined that the import of iPhones should be banned altogether and when questioned about the matter, Karimi said, “We cannot wage a war against technologies.”
The imports of smart phones unlike cars cannot be stopped. “Even if we decide to ban the Apple, it is certain that smugglers will continue to bring the phones and sell them in the country.”
The union has proposed several methods for countering illegal import of phones; however these solutions have not been welcomed by governmental organizations, he said.
In August 2016, Iran’s Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade issued licenses for nine local companies to import iPhones.
A copy of the official document which allowed the companies to sell iPhones in Iran was signed by Deputy Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mojtaba Khosrotaj and was published by Eghtesad Online at the time.
The companies’ names were Datis Emertat, Media Pardazesh, Arvand, Delta Commerce Company, Smart Golden Apple, Pars Manatel, Iranian Qaem, Elixir Saba (Mahtel) Commerce Company and Almas System.
Earlier in July, the government had introduced a new measure to ban contraband smartphones and gadgets from entering the market. It required all mobile phones to be registered with the country’s telecommunications user database.
Smuggled phones that were not registered become unusable, such as Apple, that did not have official representatives and failed to offer after-sales services.
The recent remarks made by Karimi attest to the fact that the measure has been ineffective.
The nine companies authorized to sell iPhones in Iran by the government will have to offer official after-sales services to their customers.
None of the firms are authorized by Apple, California.