Turkey aims to make 4G tender, inviting new firm
ISTANBUL - ReutersTurkey expects to complete a tender for fourth-generation (4G) mobile data services in May and be able to offer the service to consumers by the end of this year, Transport and Communications Minister Lütfi Elvan said on March 4.
Elvan said that the legal process had been completed and there would be tenders for the 800, 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600 megahertz (Mhz) bandwidths, amid increasing mobile Internet traffic in the country.
Elvan added the aim is to enable a least 90 percent of the population to have 4G coverage in the next six years.
“We will complete the tender process by the end of May and open the service by the end of the year,” he said, adding there would be a place for a new operator to bid in the tender as well as the existing three operators, Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea.
“The fourth operator will be able to bid only for the 2600 Mhz, but will be free from other operating obligations with the GSM trio,” he said.
He said the government wants all companies to compete under the fairest conditions.
The existing companies have long voiced their needs as well.
“It is good for Turkey to have a competitive telecommunications market and the company expects the same in the forthcoming 4G tender,” Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said to daily Hürriyet in December 2014.
“The three biggest mobile operators are doing business in a competitive environment in Turkey, and this is good. Competition is the case in many markets across the world. It is of great importance for us to see healthy regulations and a competitive environment. In this vein, we want to see the same fair competition conditions in the forthcoming 4G tender,” he said at the Digitalizing Europe Summit.
Vodafone Turkey also previously announced that it had reached very high speeds in its own 4G tests, adding that it had invested over 4.5 billion Turkish Liras in 3G technologies over the last years.
Turkcell also began launching speed tests for 4G through a limited long-term evolution (LTE) network in Istanbul in 2012.
While 3G technology is a relatively new development in Turkey, having only been introduced in 2008, it has expanded very quickly. There were around 58 million 3G subscribers in Turkey at the end of 2014, and 71.8 million mobile phones, according to a report prepared by the BTK. This is much higher than the European average of around 30 percent.
The same trend is expected for 4G technologies as well. The 4G network, with its increased speed, is expected to bring better service to smartphone users in Turkey, who are increasingly using their handsets for internet access.