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Ad-funding is the answer when it’s time to talk Turkey

Turkcell outlines 3G expectations

Turkcell to take 80% stake in BeST in Belarus

Turkcell brings Windows Live Messenger to mobile users in Turkey with NeuStar’s mobile IM service

Bubble Motion announces partnership with Turkcell

Turkcell 3G license cancelled

Turkcell to offer Google search

Turkcell 2009 Q1

Turkcell 2008 Q1-Q4



Ad-funding is the answer when it’s time to talk Turkey


Turks love mobile data services - at least until it's time to pay for them - is the message being sent out by Turkcell's chief business development officer, Cenk Serdar. Serdar reckons the Turkish market is a zero-to-one game and says that for most services, with the notable exception of football goal video clips, if you charge one dollar, you'll attract zero customers. He speaks from experience having attracted 1.1million users to the carrier's Windows Live Messenger mobile offering in fewer than three months, that's almost one third of Turkcell's subscriber base. However, monetising the service proved impossible and subscriber numbers shrank to just 25,000 overnight when a US$3 per month charge was introduced.


"It's very hard to get wallet share from customers," admits Serdar. "Turkey is a large country but the GDP isn't high so users are very open to free offers and incentives."


Turkcell has had to box clever but many of the announcements made by the vendor community regarding mobile services in the last five years are coming to fruition in Turkey. From live, location-based traffic info to mobile signatures, Turkcell boasts millions of users and, although their hands remain firmly in their pockets when it comes to signing up for subscriptions, the carrier has found ways to monetise many of its services. It's Tone and Win ringback tone service, for example, gives users the opportunity to win prizes by allowing advertising to run as their ringback tone and big brands have brought into the concept.


"The advertising model has created the means for mobile operators to make money," adds Serdar. "I think services like Tone and Win are going to fly. We currently have 250,000 subscribers and it's at that level because we want to limit it to 250,000 while we make sure we've got it right and the offering isn't over-intrusive. We don't want it to die before it flies so we're being careful but by the end of this year, we'll have one or two million users depending on how widely we make it available."


Serdar is excited by using advertising as a means to monetize and thinks Turkey represents and excellent early adopter market, in part as a consequence of its low ADSL penetration of 33% and low GDP. "We have 20 different advertising-funded products already," he says. "That's probably the largest portfolio in the world after NTT DoCoMo."



George Malim, 18 February, 2009

Mobile World Congresss




Turkcell outlines 3G expectations

License bid process will mean no rollout till mid 2009
Turkcell will not start investment in its 3G network until it has gone fully through the license approvals process, according to Koray Öztürkler, the Turkish operator’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer.

With the tender process now scheduled to begin on 28th November, and a judicial approvals process that can take up to 90 days, that means that investment in the network will not be begin until well into 2009.

The operator will not divulge its investment plans for 3G rollout until the 6th November, the day after its Q3 results announcement. Its license commitment will be to cover 50% of the country by population within three years. Öztürkler said that the operator can achieve more than this by covering Turkey’s eight largest cities.
The operator will jump straight to HSPA coverage, he said, offering a broadband alternative to fixed line services.

Turkcell bid last year for a license, only to see it withdrawn as it was the only bidder. Vodafone and Avea refused to take part in the bidding process until Mobile Number Portability was enabled.

Last year the company bid €511 million, including tax, for the license. There are four types of license available, offering 40, 35, 30 and 25MHz of spectrum in each license respectively. With the A license (40MHz) this year set at a reserve of €285 million, the operator does not expect to be paying above its previous bid this year.

But Öztürkler said that the company had benefited in one way from the delay, as it was able to benefit from reduced infrastructure costs, as well as improved interoperability.

“There are some significant technical improvements and we have been able to move away from a single vendor model. This year we made the choice to replace our single vendor supplier, Ericsson, with Huawei, especially in the North of the country and he Black Sea region,” he said.

In a wide ranging interview, Öztürkler covered several other areas.

On Number portability:
Turkcell will use the introduction of mobile number portability to its advantage, Öztürkler said, and will aim to use its band power and marketing presence to lever customers away from Turkey’s other two operators. The company held a MNP day internally to make sure its employees understood the ethics around MNP.

On the Competitive situation:
“I don’t believe Vodafone has any advantage in its technology, service offerings or speed of infrastructure investment. Two months ago, Vodafone said it would bring the iPhone to Turkey. At that point Turkcell was not involved in a contact with Apple, but we talked to them, and Apple realised they could not overlook Turkcell. We explained our strength, and made and agreement for the iPhone. Now you will find it difficult to find an iPhone in one of our stores, because they have proved so popular. This is not a situation you will find with our competitors. Operators can’t differentiate around the iPhone, but we can differentiate around our brand, our marketing power and our PR power. In ten days we sold 15,000 iPhones, and that was in a holiday week.”

On Macro Economic Conditions:
Turkcell has $3 billion net cash resources, making it unusual in having no debt, beyond $600 million consolidated debt from its subsidiary businesses. Only Zain, of its like for like rivals, is not in a negative cash position. It means the company can finance mergers and acquisitions going forward. It is to be hoped the current market conditions don't reach down to the street, but Turkcell is well placed if there is a consumer slowdown.

On the BeST acquisition:
The company will import the Life brand from Ukraine, where it has had great success. Earnings per capita are higher in Belarus than in Ukraine, so there is potential for ARPU growth. The investment required will not be in the multi-billion dollar realm. At purchase, €500 million was floated as a number over ten years to meet its investment need.

On regulation and government:
Parliament is soon to approve a law allowing Turkish companies to buy back their own shares, which could be an attractive investment option for the operator.
The operator is also lobbying for Turkey’s punitive value added sales tax laws to be reformed. Consumers pay 42% tax on value added services items, with operators paying another 15% tax. At the very least the operator wants the tax regime brought level with the fixed operators. It wants Government to understand that if taxes are brought down, not only will it stimulate usage, increasing the overall take, but is more likely to result in less tax avoidance.

Keith Dyer
Mobile Europe, 22 October 2008




Turkcell to take 80% stake in BeST in Belarus


Turkcell, the provider of mobile communications in Turkey, has announced that it signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement to acquire a 80% stake in Belarusian Telecommunications Network (BeST). The completion of the transaction will be subject to the fulfillment of the conditions set forth in the SPA.


The stake will be acquired from the State Committee on Property of the Republic of Belarus for a consideration of US$500 million. The payment is expected to be realized in 3 tranches of which US$300 million is expected to be paid on the closing date, which is expected to be 30 days after the signature date and additional US$100 million tranches are expected to be paid on December 31, 2009 and 2010 respectively. An additional payment of US$100 million shall be made when BeST records a full-year positive net income for the first time.


Turkcell CEO Sureyya Ciliv commented: "The acquisition of BeST represents an opportunity for Turkcell to gain access to a market with a growth potential. Belarus is an attractive emerging market within Turkcell's growth geography with its young and well educated population and steadily growing economy. We are also happy to be starting our operations with an already established third operator in Belarus. We believe we can use our complimentary skills we gained in Ukraine and CIS very effectively in Belarus to differentiate BeST as soon as possible.



Mobile Europe, 30 July 2008  




Turkcell brings Windows Live Messenger to mobile users in Turkey with NeuStar’s mobile IM service


NeuStar has announced that it has partnered with Turkcell, the third largest mobile network operator in Europe, to launch the Windows Live Messenger mobile instant messaging (IM) service to Turkcell's 35.1 million mobile subscribers.


A longtime NeuStar customer, Turkcell is now using NeuStar's powerful Mobile Messaging Gateway (MMG) solution to bring Windows Live Messenger to its subscribers. Turkcell has been and will continue to offer its own-community mobile IM service (Turkcell Messenger), which is powered by NeuStar's Instant Messaging Service Centre (IMSC).


With a simple login function and instant access to their buddy lists and presence information, Turkcell subscribers will be able to experience all the functionality of Windows Live Messenger on their mobile phones. The same familiar experience is available whether they are sitting at a PC or using their mobiles.


Burak Ertas, head of the Consumer Services Division at Turkcell, said: "At Turkcell, we like to bring the widest choice of services to our subscribers. Our business relationship with NeuStar has enabled us to offer two complementary mobile IM services. NeuStar built a close working relationship with our team from day one, and that has helped to shape our service. We are delighted to have partnered with NeuStar again to launch Windows Live Messenger, which gives our users further mobile IM choices."


Allen Scott, general manager of NeuStar NGM, added: "Turkcell's customers have roundly embraced the new opportunities for communication that IM brings to the mobile phone. Having worked on the original Turkcell Messenger service, NeuStar is pleased to have been responsible for the deployment of Windows Live Messenger, giving Turkcell's subscribers further choice. As Turkcell strengthens its position as Turkey's leading mobile communications provider and continues to innovate in this field, we have no doubts that mobile IM will prove to be increasingly important for them."



Keith Dyer

Mobile Europe




Bubble Motion announces partnership with Turkcell


Bubble Motion, a specialist in 'voice SMS', has announced an agreement with Turkcell, the mobile communications provider in Turkey, to launch its voice SMS service, KonusGonder.


The partnership means that all Turkcell subscribers will be able to record and send short voice messages to their friends, families or business contacts, in a similar manner to sending text messages. BubbleTALK is said to offer a more instantaneous, personal and language-agnostic alternative to text messaging, mobile email, and traditional mobile voice calling.


Turkcell plans to use the KonusGonder service to provide an innovative and unique Value-Added Service to its subscribers. The introduction of the BubbleTALK service is claimed to have been attractive to mobile operators because of its simple, revenue-generating service which eliminates the need for any additional network infrastructure.


"Turkey is a large, rapidly-growing market, so working with Turkcell, one of the most progressive and well-respected operators in the region, is an important step in establishing our market leadership, as we have in other regions," stated Bill Crawley, Vice President, Sales at Bubble Motion.


Cenk Serdar, Chief of Value Added Services at Turkcell, commented: "Turkcell is one of the most innovative operators in the world and has always recognized the benefit in working with innovative partners. With Bubble Motion we have been able to jointly bring voice SMS to the Turkish market in a very short timeframe. Our customers love to talk and love to send messages, so voice SMS is the perfect complementary product to sit alongside our very popular text SMS service. Early indications and user testing show that voice SMS will be very popular in Turkey and will be a real hit with our customers."


Thomas Clayton, CEO & President of Bubble Motion commented: "We are excited to announce this deal with Turkcell, and begin our aggressive expansion into Europe.  This is the latest in a series of partnerships for us, helping operators differentiate their offerings with a unique, popular service and enabling consumers to communicate more efficiently and impactfully while they are mobile."



Mobile Europe

13 May, 2008  




Turkcell 3G license cancelled


The Turkish Telecommunications Authority  has revoked the 3G license granted to Turkcell, after three other licenses remained unbid for following the closure of the tender period on 7 September.


Turkcell offered US$511 million for a Type A Third Generation license and pledged payment in advance. The remaining licenses were not issued due to the absence of any other participants in the tender.


Sureyya Ciliv, Turkcell's CEO, said: "We are disappointed that the license was cancelled and hope the Turkish Telecommunications Authority determines to reschedule the 3G license tender at the earliest opportunity.


 "By delaying Turkey's capacity to use this advanced technology, the decision to cancel the 3G license risks depriving the country of a key technological competitive advantage. Turkcell has been preparing for three years to offer 3G technology to our people and our customers, and will continue to take the lead in our investment in the future of Turkey. "



Mobile Europe

21 September, 2007  




Turkcell to offer Google search


Turkcell, said to be the leading GSM operator in Turkey and the third largest in Europe, will now offer its subscribers Google search to help them find information on the internet while they are on the move.


Google search will appear on the home page of Turkcell's turkcellim, enabling Turkcell subscribers to easily search the internet at no extra cost above their existing data charges.



Mobile Europe

12 July, 2007






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