Vodafone Turkey emerged as the highest bidder in a 4G network tender process launched by the country's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) that aims to raise €2.3 billion ($2.6 billion) in total.
The Vodafone Group subsidiary bid €390 million for spectrum in what is referred to as the A1 package Reuters reported. Local newspaper Daily Sabah added that rival operator Avea submitted a bid of €380 million for spectrum in the A2 package, with Turkcell offering €373 million for the A3 package. Vodafone Turkey and Avea offered €24 million above the minimum required in the tender, Daily Sabah said.
BTK is selling 20 frequency packages in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz bands, Daily Sabah reported, adding that successful bidders will be expected to cover 95 per cent of Turkey's population within eight years of service launch, which is scheduled for April 2016.
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 said the country should bypass 4G technology and move straight from 3G to 5G.
Sayan was confirmed as BTK's president the day before the 4G tender process began, Hurriet Daily News reported.
Fitch Ratings this week predicted that a drive towards converged services in Turkey would impact the profitability of the nation's telecoms operators, Hurriet Daily News reported in a separate article.
The ratings agency said adding pay-TV services would help the nations' operators to grab a larger slice of mobile and fixed broadband markets, but at the same time put pressure on their profits in the form of increased content costs, for example in buying rights to show live football matches.
Turkcell teams up with Huawei and Ericsson on 5G
IDC: Retailers in Middle East and Africa boost IoT spending
ITU outlines 5G roadmap towards 'IMT-2020'
Is Turkey about to gamble with its mobile broadband future?
Turk Telekom bids for remaining 10% of Avea