LOL: Iran’s SMS Boycott
Tehran Bureau / SAYA OVAISY

Before the contested presidential election, Iranians shared 80 million text or SMS messages per day. Then, just before the election, the state banned SMS to hamper organizational efforts of Mir Hossein Mousavi supporters. Once SMS service was restored, Mousavi supporters took a page out of Gene Sharp’s “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” which lists “non-consumption of boycotted goods” as a method of civil protest. Mousavi supporters are communicating their dissent with an embargo on communications, and Iran’s largest mobile operator, Mobile Communications Company of Iran (MCI), a subsidiary of the state telecom monopoly (TCI) is the boycott’s target.
MCI does not declare its revenues, but based on news releases and official statements it is possible to estimate figures. Last November, Communications Minister Mohammad Soleimani told Mehr News Agency, “80 million text messages are interchanged daily between Iranian cell phone subscribers.” At the fixed rate of 150 rials per text message, that spells roughly 12,000,00,000 rials (about $1.2 million) per day in revenues from text messages.
Iranians caught onto the idea when BBC Persian announced that MCI had lost $14 million in just over a week since cutting text messaging services on June 11, the day before the election. The next day, “Boycott SMS!” chain emails appeared calling for mobile users to abstain from text messaging once service was restored.
The boycott call quickly spread thr... >>>

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