The largest mobile operator in Turkey, Turkcell, has decided to launch itself into the European market having signed an MVNO agreement with Deutsche Telekom.
The company said it planned to go live next February and would target the large number of Turks living in Germany with low-cost roaming services between Germany and Turkey.
Announcing the venture, Turkcell CEO, Süreyya Ciliv, said that this move was the first step of a Europe-wide strategy. "Turks make up over 3.5 per cent of the population in Germany. According to a recent survey conducted by the company, 80 per cent of Turks living in Germany said they would prefer to use Turkcell services."
The five-year MVNO deal with Deutsche Telekom was, according to Turkcell, done on the basis of the German operator providing the fastest mobile data services, which would be the main focus for Turkcell's services in Germany.
However, analysts believe that this venture into Europe could encounter problems. Vodafone has already announced price cuts for calls between Germany and Turkey, and mobile phone penetration among the Turkish population in Germany is already over 90 per cent. Also, Turkcell is encountering harsh conditions in its home market which has seen penetration fall from 87 per cent at the end of 2009 to 85 per cent at the end of June.
Commenting on Turkcell's European announcement, local analyst Takimoglu Homris, an analyst at Is Investment, said that, "although we believe that there could be potential in this business going forward, the short-term effects will be immaterial. The competition is likely to follow a similar route."
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