ANKARA - Turkey’s mobile phone operators sign concession agreements wth the Information and Communication Technologies Authority to obtain Third Generation mobile telecommunication licenses. The government gets a whopping 2.2 billion Turkish Liras via 3G license tender.
Mobile phone operators will complete infrastructure installations in three months and launch 3G services at the end of July. Mobile phone users will be able to benefit from new services, such as video call, rapid Internet connection, interactive games and television.
The operators that want to offer the 3G service will make their payment up front, said Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım, noting that the amount was very important considering the crisis climate. The research and development condition within the scope of the 3G technology will create new jobs, he said.
A call to be considered
Speaking at the concession ceremony held for signing the agreements between the operators and the Information and Communication Technologies Authority, or BTK, Yıldırım warned sector players "not to covet others’ bread."
"There are enough opportunities to feed everybody," he said. "Look for your portion. If you covet others’, it will not benefit you. We will try not to quarrel but to live in solidarity. If you do not follow that path, we will have some instruments to force you that way."
Yıldırım said 3G means "adding new highways via air to the Internet highways," and added that new operators will start to provide local phone services as of May 10.
Meanwhile, BTK Chairman Tayfun Acarer said work is ongoing to determine the most appropriate license costs. The competition between operators reaps benefits to citizens, he said.
Each of the operators signed 18 different documents for the concession agreement.
Turkcell, the country's biggest mobile phone operator, has a type A license with the broadest frequency range, and paid 422.44 million euros.
"It is not a small amount amid the crisis climate," said Yıldırım while Turkcell Managing Director Süreyya Ciliv was handing over a symbolic check. Ciliv said that almost half of the revenues attained from the services will be transferred to the state as resources.
Serpil Timuray, chief executive officer of Vodafone, which has the second broadest frequency range, submitted a symbolic check worth 295 million euros to Yıldırım.
"We could have completed the highway between Sakarya and Mekece with this money," said Yıldırım in a joking manner.
Lastly, Cüneyt Türktan, CEO of Avea, Turkey's third-largest mobile-phone company, gave the firm’s symbolic check of 252.52 million euros to Yıldırım. Jokingly, Yıldırım said, "This is extra change here. Make it either 250 or 255."
Turkcell is planning investments worth $1.6 billion this year, said Koray Öztürkler, Turkcell’s vice managing director, during his speech prior to the signing ceremony. Out of that amount, $300 million will be invested in Belarus and Ukraine while $600 million goes for the 3G license cost, he said, adding that 2G and 3G infrastructure investments will cost $800 million.
Infrastructure costs are lower compared to countries that have shifted to 3G already, Avea Managing Director Cüneyt Türktan had said during a meeting Wednesday.