Turkey's 3 operators meet April 1 deadline with 4.5G launches

Turkcell, Turk Telekom and Vodafone Turkey have all indicated that planned LTE-Advanced (4.5G) services would be commercially available to users as of Apr. 1.

The market's three mobile operators were all targeting the first day of April as the deadline for the launch of 4.5G tariffs, which follows the acquisition of spectrum licences in August last year.

Turkcell, the market's largest mobile operator, released a statement saying that its network went live at midnight on Mar. 31. The company said it covers 81 cities with the new service and has achieved download speeds of up to 390 Mbps in speed tests.

In order to drive customer adoption of the services, Turkcell also said it would double mobile data allowances for a three-month period.

Vodafone Turkey, meanwhile, is allowing its subscribers to trial 4.5G services for free during the month of April. The company also revealed that voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) capability would be available on compatible phones at the same time.

For its part Turk Telekom -- which recently abandoned the Avea mobile brand and brought all mobile and fixed services under the Turk Telekom brand -- said 4.5G services would be available in 81 provinces as of Apr. 1.

Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) sold 20 frequency packages in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz bands in a tender on Aug. 26 last year.

The auction was originally due to take place in late May, but was postponed because of a general election in June.

In late July Ömer Fatih Sayan, then the acting president of BTK, amended the terms of the auction by requiring operators bidding for the spectrum to commit to deploying IMT-Advanced networks, Turkey's state news agency Anadolu Agency reported.

That amendment aimed to pave the way for the faster deployment of 5G technologies, and appeared to be a nod to Turkey's president Tayyip Erdogan, who in April 2015 said the country should bypass 4G technology and move straight from 3G to 5G.

For more:
- see this Turkcell release
- see this Turk Telekom release (in Turkish)
- see this Vodafone Turkey release (in Turkish)
- see this CNN article (in Turkish)

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