Turkey revises telecommunications tender to make transition to 4.5G: Official
AA photoTurkey did not cancel a planned 4G tender, but will make a 4.5G tender on Aug. 26, a high-level official from the Information and Communications Technologies Authority (BTK) has told Anadolu Agency.
The official refuted several claims on some media outlets on July 30 about the cancelation of the planned 4G tender upon President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s harsh criticisms of 4G technology.
“The 4G tender has not been cancelled. A tender will be held upon some revisions in the specifications on Aug. 26 for updated technologies, dubbed 4.5G technologies,” said Acting BTK President Ömer Fatih Sayan.
The planned tender for 4G Internet technology was delayed for three months by the BTK in May. The announcement followed Erdoğan’s harsh criticism of 4G technology, saying Turkey should skip directly from 3G to 5G in two years.
“It is not necessary to waste time with 4G technology. We need to move to 5G technology instead in two years,” Erdoğan said April 21.
“The world is talking about 5G technology right now. We are still at 3G,” he added.
Technology experts suggested, however, that such a rapid transition was impossible.
Sayan said a number of changes have been made in the tender specifications, which are now being distributed to telecommunications firms, to increase the level of domestic research and development elements in the sector.
“With these changes, Turkey will start to use 4.5G technology in April next year, paving the road for a possible transition to 5G technology with much more domestic means,” he said.
“We plan to enable Turkey to become one of the first countries that make a transition to 5G technology,” he added.
In the tender, 20 separate frequency segments were said to be sold at a minimum value of around 2.3 billion euros ($2.45 billion) according to the previous tender announcement.
With the changes in the tender specifications, the use of “IMT-Advanced” technologies is set as a must for the new telecommunications infrastructures, according to Sayan.
While the frequency assigned to mobile network operators is 183 MHz, this figure will rise to 573 MHz with the new frequencies after the tender.
“After operators are authorized to use new frequencies, they must extend coverage range to 95 percent of Turkey’s population in the next eight years,” he said.
The new addendum also obliges mobile operators to have at least 30 percent domestic product utilization in the first year, 40 percent in the second and 45 percent in the third.
“These rates were 3, 8 and 15 in the previous addendum,” Sayan said, underlining the importance of local technology production.
The number of R&D employees will also increase by 50 percent in the sector, said Sayan.