Turkcell outbids Vodafone for top 3G licence

Turkcell, Turkey's incumbent mobile network operator, outbid Vodafone on Friday to buy the largest chunk of radio spectrum available in Turkey.

The spectrum is suitable for 3G and will pour about US1 billion into the government's coffers.

Turkcell agreed to pay €358m for the first 3G licence, which is for spectrum at the 40MHz band. Vodafone offered the minimum price of €250m for 35MHz. Avea, owned by Turk Telekom, offered €214m, also the minimum price, for €30MHz, according to the Financial Times.

Vodafone paid US$4.6 billion in 2005 for its Turkish operator, which is one of its worst performers, but claimed it was content with the spectrum it had secured.

Turkey's telecoms board had invited bids, after cancelling an auction in 2007 in which Turkcell was the only bidder. This time round, the government made the terms and conditions more attractive to overseas bidders, for example by guaranteeing number portability.