2 Dec 2008

Turkish 3G awards: no surprises

The stalling and wrangling is finally over: the Turkish Government has awarded 3G licenses. The surprises? None.

As confirmed by today's Global Mobile Daily, the three established cellcos, Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea, all bagged licenses, raising between them a total of €822 million (US$1.04 billion) for the state coffers.

Market-leading Turkcell (55.54% of the subscriber base, according to WCIS as of Sep 2008) won the ‘A’ licence with the largest bandwidth block of 40MHz, with a bid of €358 million. Vodafone Turkey (26.56% market share) was awarded a license in the 35MHz spectrum band after paying €250 million, while third-placed operator Avea (17.90% market share) was awarded a 30MHz operating license €214 million. The auction for a fourth bid was cancelled due to a lack of suitable bidders.

The 3G licensing process will not, therefore, introduce any new MNOs onto the Turkish market, as has been the case in one European country. A Romanian 3G licence was awarded to RCS & RDS, a cable MSO and broadband service provider with no previous mobility proposition. Having launched 3G services in December 2007, RCS & RDS has now built a mobile market share of just under 4.5% according to WCIS figures.

If operators do face any new competition for subscribers in the recently-initiated era of MNP in Turkey, this will come in the form of MVNOs, which look set to enter the market at some stage in 2009. Those who track the Turkish market will not be surprised to learn that MNO, MVNE and MVNO strategies are set to be discussed at length at our Istanbul Eurasia Com conference (31 March & 1 April 2009), which will gather delegates from Caspian and Central Asian markets as well as from the host country.