Figures by the Iranian customs office (IRICA) show the country imported nearly $3 billion worth of mobile phones in the nine months to December 21 as shipments accounted for 8% of the value of total imports into Iran over the period.
IRICA’s deputy for technical affairs Foroud Asgari said on Tuesday that Iran had spent over $2.942 billion to import nearly 13.62 million units of mobile phones in March-December last year, an increase of 117% in value terms compared to the similar period in 2020.
Asgari said that over 28% of the imports had gone to mobile phones with prices of over $600 for which Iran charges an import duty of 12% against the 6% tariff applied to phones worth less than $600.
The Iranian government refused to impose a proposed ban on imports of mobile phones with prices of over 300 euros for the current calendar year ending late March, said a Tuesday report by the semi-official ISNA news agency.
The report added that a similar proposal for banning imports of mobile phones worth over $600 in the next calendar year has yet to be approved by the government and parliament in Iran.
Parliament lawmakers proposing the ban believe Iran is spending huge sums on imports of luxury phones at a time the country faces economic hardships because of US sanctions and the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
That comes as mobile phone ownership has increased in Iran amid a surge in demand for mobile internet during the pandemic as schools and businesses in the country continue to rely on online services for much of their routine activities.