The woman steering Vodafone Turkey

The woman steering Vodafone Turkey

Vodafone Turkey was this year one of the main sponsors of TEDGlobal, the platform known as the creative ideas platform. 

We started off together, Vodafone Turkey’s CEO Serpil Timuray and I, from Istanbul to Edinburgh, to attend the TED speeches. 

Timuray explained the “Women Movement in Technology,” the Turkey leg of the Women Program supported by the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, at a dinner arranged by Vodafone Turkey as part of TED. 

Timuray transferred from Danone to Vodafone in 2009. “Change companies or countries to test your success,” she said, having steered Vodafone Turkey for nearly three years. 

It is the talk recently that because of the extraordinary performance she has demonstrated, she will be appointed to an important position in the United Kingdom. 

While Timuray has been sitting in its CEO seat, Vodafone Turkey has become the fastest growing company in the telecommunication sector. To put it in figures, in three years its market share has gone up from 18.6 percent to 28.5 percent. The number of its subscribers has gone up from 1.9 million to 5.9 million.

According to what Timuray says, out of the top 500 firms in Turkey, 280 use Vodafone’s services. 
Meanwhile, while they have invested more than 3 billion Turkish Liras in infrastructure, they have also bought companies such as Borusan Telekom and Koç Net that are growing in the market. 

Timuray runs the Turkey leg of the “Women Movement in Technology,” in cooperation with the Turkish Informatics Foundation (TBV) and the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGİDER). She has pointed out that there was a 30 percent difference against women in the usage of cell phones. 
“As a matter of fact, we know from research that when a woman owns a mobile phone, she feels much safer and can socialize much faster,” she said. 

Dealing with women’s affairs is no doubt Serpil Timuray’s most enjoyable part of her work. It can’t be easy to lead the fastest growing company in the telecommunication sector, in a country that has the highest “communication tax” in the world. Speaking of which, we have learned that taxes in Turkey are on average 2.5 times higher than the taxes in European Union countries. 

During the conversation with Timuray, I asked her to clarify two issues for us that preoccupy the man on the street.

One is whether the ever-increasing base stations in Turkey are a threat; the other is whether our mobile phones will work during disasters, such as an earthquake. 

Truly, these two questions fixate many people. 

The CEO of Vodafone Turkey said wrong information was circulating on base stations. The electromagnetic waves generated by base stations are quite low. Any electronic appliance at home, for example a hair dryer, has more electromagnetic waves.

Besides, while we are anxious about the base stations on the streets, in a number of European countries, the number of homeowners who have installed a base station in their homes so that their phones have a better reception is increasing. 

On the subject of the usage of mobile phones during natural disasters, Vodafone has come a long way. Timuray said they had received a certificate that “communication would not be interrupted during a disaster.” 

At the technological base set up in Tuzla, Istanbul, the network is tested nationwide and when there is a temporary disruption, they interfere. 

It is good to know this in a country like Turkey, where the earthquake risk is high.