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ERSU ABLAK > Istanbul asks to host Mobile World Congress after 2018

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February is the most important month of the year for the technology industry, with the Mobile World Congress (MWC) taking its place at the end of February in Barcelona. We, as journalists, try to understand the upcoming trends, while businesses try to understand whether they are on the right track with their new offerings. This year, Turkey had a country pavilion and 20 companies were presented.

Exhibitors at the MWC in Barcelona this year have indicated that smart phones will get a lot cheaper very quickly, and that digital payment systems will grow exponentially. The prices of smart phones are reducing at a fast rate, as I wrote about a while ago, but it seems that the industry is very determined to make everyone own a piece of high computing power.

This is a result of redoubling efforts to satisfy the growing demand for affordable smart phones in Asia, Africa and Latin America, according to The Associated Press.

Joining the bandwagon, Turkcell has announced plans to launch a smart phone designed and manufactured in its home market of Turkey by the end of 2013. The announcement was made by Süreyya Ciliv, Turkcell’s CEO.
Code-named Gebze, after the city in which the 700-employee Turkcell Technology R&D centre is located, the new smart phone will be developed by Turkish designers and engineers and will incorporate an interface unique to Turkcell.

The Gezbe smart phone will build on the T Series range of Turkcell-branded Android smart phones, manufactured for the operator in China. The range of competitively priced devices was developed to improve equality of access to the Internet, and T Series sales have exceeded 750,000 units. Turkcell has also launched its own tablet. Observing that the Apple iPhone is designed in California but manufactured in China, Ciliv inferred that Gezbe could become the Cupertino of Turkey.

“With our Gebze smartphone, we aim to lead and encourage other sector players to manufacture in Turkey, thereby positively contributing to the current account deficit. Indeed, it is possible that 500 million Turkish Liras [$275 million] will remain in Turkey’s pocket for every million units of local smart phones sold,” Ciliv said. Turkcell also hopes to open up export markets for the new device, initially in its local region.

Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Binali Yıldırım on Tuesday visited the MWC and received information from authorities. While at the congress, he visited the stands of the 20 participating Turkish companies.

Barcelona has been hosting the MWC since 2006 and has a contract to host the event until the end of 2018. Sources told Anatolia news agency that the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce was making efforts in Barcelona for Istanbul to push to host the MWC after 2018. The issue was first raised by Serhat Ayan, owner of Tknlj.com, and it seems that the idea is spreading fast.

February/28/2013

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