Mobile subscribers in Turkey should be able to subscribe to LTE or 4G services from the first day of 2016, according to the country's Communications Minister Feridun Bilgin.
In a interview quoted by English-language publication Hurriyet Daily News, Bilgin said the country's three existing GSM operators--Turkcell, Vodafone Turkey and Turk Telekom-owned Avea--have been asked to get their networks ready before the end of 2015.
The minister also said that the value of the 20 frequency packages in a forthcoming tender of 4G frequency bands was at least $2.43 billion (€2.3 billion) and that licences would be valid until Apr. 30, 2029.
In March, Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) set €2.3 billion as the minimum price that mobile operators must pay to secure LTE frequency bands. The tender for the 4G frequency bands is scheduled for May 26, and a new operator is expected to bid alongside the existing operators.
Turkcell and Vodafone Turkey have long been preparing the ground for 4G by highlighting the benefits that such services will bring--even before they had a clear idea of when they would be in a position to offer the services on a commercial basis.
According to ICTA, there were around 72 million mobile subscribers in Turkey at the end of the third quarter of 2014. Excluding people aged nine or below, the mobile penetration rate exceeded 112 per cent. The number of 3G subscriptions stood at 56.8 million. Turkcell's market share in terms of subscribers was 48.3 per cent, compared with 29.1 per cent for Vodafone Turkey and 22.6 per cent for Avea. Almost 57 per cent of total mobile subscribers were prepaid users.
Pyramid Research said the telecoms and enterprise IT market in Turkey is the third largest in the Middle East and Africa region (MEA) with total service revenue of $13 billion in 2014. The Saudi Arabian telecoms market was in first place with revenue of $16.2 billion, followed by South Africa ($13.4 billion).
- see this article from Hurriyet Daily News
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