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Iran launches outdoor 5G trial as internet reaches more villages

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An official shows a mobile phone displaying super-fast download speeds during a ceremony to launch the first outdoor trial for 5G internet in Tarbiat Modarres University in downtown Tehran on November 11, 2020. (Photo by Irancell)

A first outdoor network to provide fifth generation of internet technology (5G) has been successfully tested in Iran as telecoms minister vows the country would expand the internet coverage to all villages with over 20 households by March 2021.

The official IRNA news agency said that Iran’s second mobile operator MTN Irancell had launched its first outdoor 5G trial in a site in downtown Tehran earlier on Wednesday.

The site is the third 5G trial network launched in Iran since August as the country moves to provide high-quality online services to tens of millions of internet users.

Irancell’s CEO Bijan Abbasi said that the mobile operator plans to launch local production for 5G routers to help expedite the roll-out of super-fast internet in Iran.

Iran’s Tarbiat Modarres University, which hosts Irancell’s outdoor 5G testing site, would contribute to plans for domestic production of 5G modems, Abbasi said.

Fast internet services have rapidly expanded in Iran in recent years to make the country the largest in the Middle East in terms of the number of active users.

Authorities said last week that mobile broadband coverage had exceeded 91 percent in Iran less than a decade after it was launched in the country.

Iran’s telecoms minister Mohammad Javad Azari said on Wednesday that the government plans to connect all villages with more than 20 households to the internet by March 2021 when the current Iranian year ends.

Azari said Iran has nearly 46,000 census villages of which more than 40,000 have more than 20 households.

“We’ll do our utmost to create 100-percent internet coverage in villages of over 20 households before we also connect villages with less than 20 households,” said the minister.

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