Domestic mobile phones become popular amid sharp lira losses

Domestic mobile phones become popular amid sharp lira losses

Ahmet Can - ISTANBUL
Domestic mobile phones become popular amid sharp lira losses As the Turkish Lira continued to lose value against the dollar and euro over the past several months, the use of domestically produced mobile phones has seen a dramatic rise in the market, increasing up to 30 percent, according to sector representatives.

While Turkish brands had a 20 percent share of the smart phone market in Turkey last year, this figure has increased to around 30 percent in 2015 and is likely to exceed 30 percent by the end of the year according to International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates.

Turkey imports around 12 million mobile phone units annually, with Turkish consumers paying an average of 1,500 liras per phone. Such imports have contributed around 15 billion liras to the current account deficit, which is the weakest link of the country’s economy. This figure is around 10 percent of the current account gap.

The focus on manufacturing products with higher added value, including electronic goods, has been one of the most voiced sagas of the Turkish economy. Some Turkish home appliance and television brands have already proven very popular in global markets, encouraging some Turkish companies to eye creating a global mobile phone brand. However, the first priority is to reach the Turkish market, in which the use of mobile phones is quite common. Around 90 percent of the mobile phones sold in the market are comprised of smart phones.

A total of 25 models developed by nine Turkish companies are currently on sale in the market. These models have all the latest technologies, including motion-detection and battery-saving modes.

Domestically produced phones have become more and more popular not only because of these features, but also their cost advantages. While consumers pay an average of 1,500 liras for each foreign model, this figure decreases down to 500 liras for domestic brands. The average price of the most advanced local models is 1,100 liras, almost half of the foreign models with the same features.

Local brands also have the advantage of offering quicker maintenance and repair services, according to sector players. Turkish companies have already increased the warranty periods for their phones up to three years, which is longer than what many foreign brands offer. They also offer such services at lower costs than their foreign competitors.