Minister Yıldırım calls on operators to begin fiber mobilization

Minister Yıldırım calls on operators to begin fiber mobilization

ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Minister Yıldırım calls on operators to begin fiber mobilization

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Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communication Minister Binali Yıldırım has called on operators to launch a campaign to bring fiber everywhere in Turkey as soon as possible. 

“Let’s leave aside small calculations. Let’s leave aside the saying that if other [operators] invest in fiber, we will make a loss and fall behind,” Yıldırım said Feb. 9 during a signing ceremony of GSM and IMT200/UMTS Concession Agreements between the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) and three operators in Istanbul.

“We know the problems in the implementation of services. We have started to work to solve these problems,” Yıldırım said. “You cannot plan for the future by relying on the current capacity,” Yıldırım added, adding that the level of Internet traffic was way below the levels in developed countries.

Turkey’s three main operators, Türk Telekom, Turkcell and Vodafone, have disagreed on how to forge ahead with extending fiber networks in Turkey, creating controversy within the industry.

Yıldırım said citizens now demanded uninterrupted service from anywhere. Moreover, the paths of communication should be expanded to meet the increasing demand from customers, he said, giving the examples of highways built in the last decade that had decreased the rate of traffic accidents by 62 percent.

“The agreement we are signing today is aimed at expanding existing roads. We currently have a capacity of 183 Mhz, and we are now adding a capacity of 365 MHz. This means that communication will be much faster than now,” Yıldırım said.

The minister also said the infrastructure was ready for the new technology but that the task of establishing the substructure belonged to operators.

Noting that the 900 band had only been used for 2G, Yıldırım said 4.5G technology would combine them all. “Our citizens should know this: We are saying that 4.5G will be 10 times faster than 3G. If a citizen living in the Konukçu village of Erzurum asks on April 1 whether he will experience those speeds, that would be wrong. We have eight years and we will gradually expand the roads. Tunnels will also be covered by 4.5G,” Yıldırım said.

Still problems with lack of coverage

The minister also warned operators on the issue of coverage. “In the event you don’t know, there are still plenty of areas where there is no coverage. You are making a show of this, and you compete in ads but this is not the situation. I’m touring Turkey and I’m the best auditor. I’m writing down all of this. You can earn money and trade but you have a mission to satisfy the customers. You are already making an effort on this issue, but we want more effort from you,” Yıldırım said.

Yıldırım also defended 4.5G technology, saying it was a step toward 5G. “4.5G is a step to 5G. It has two features. The first one is the increase of speed in communication and the second is the increase in the number of lanes. It will also pave the way for the development local technology,” Yıldırım said.

On the utilization of local technology, Yıldırım said the rate of domestic production would increase in addition to the number of research and development staff by 50 percent. 

“We don’t expect that the rate of local production will increase to 50 percent in one day, but we will follow this issue. Those who earn their money from this country should add value to Turkey. The BTK will monitor the situation in increasing the utilization of local technology,” Yıldırım said.

“This should not be a measure for us. What is the measure then? Your plans in the IT sector might dramatically change in five years. We were talking about ‘100 megabyte Internet houses’ and people said the minister had gone crazy. Now what is 100 megabytes? Now people are expressing displeasure with this rate. Long-term plans in communications are not possible. We should begin fiber mobilization as soon as possible. Let’s leave aside small calculations. Let’s leave aside the saying that if [operators] will invest in fiber we will make a loss and fall behind. How will you get the upper hand? Through your performance, your range and quality of services and the content you will provide to customers,” Yıldırım said.