The race is on

Turkcell launches 3G in record time and secures its leadership in the Turkish market.
The race is on

Turkcell is one of three operators in the Turkish market and when 3G licenses were first awarded in Turkey in November 2008, all three operators applied for a license. As part of the licensing agreement the operators had just three months to launch services to the market. The official launch date was finally set as 31st July 2009 and the race was on.

Turkcell's challenge was to evolve its network as fast as possible to meet the deadline of the licensing agreement and to beat its competition. Ericsson's Network Rollout services played an important role in enabling this. Turkcell and Ericsson exceeded the initial target of 1,480 sites with a rollout of 2,000 sites in just four months. As a result, when the time came for the countrywide launch Turkcell was able to make a head start, implementing 20 percent more sites than its closest competitor and launching 3G services across all of Turkey’s 81 cities. The network is one of the first full HSPA+ enabled mobile broadband networks in the world and Turkcell now boasts the best 3G services in the country with speeds of 21 Mbps in the downlink and 5.76 Mbps in the uplink.

Facing fierce competition

Due to regulatory restrictions, the operators were not allowed to take on any new subscriptions in advance of the launch date. Neither could they simply convert existing GSM subscribers to 3G subscribers as each individual had to proactively apply for a 3G agreement. As a result the three operators had to work hard to attract consumers to their networks.

Competition was high but backed up by the widest coverage, fastest network and an extensive marketing campaign, Turkcell was able to attract the majority of subscribers within its coverage area. In just two months the operator sold four times as many dongles as in the whole of 2008 and Turkcell now boasts 3.5 million 3G subscribers.

Users can now enjoy advanced connectivity for the first time and take advantage of the faster speeds and capabilities that this brings. The introduction of 3G in Turkey offers a whole new selection of services and take-up has been high. Arda Cetiner, Account Manager, Radio Networks, Ericsson adds: "In the first four months Turkcell managed to grab all the addressable population in terms of subscribers with 3G handsets. Now they are running marketing campaigns to boost sales of 3G handsets and increase the potential subscriber base further."

Proven leadership

An independent benchmark study has been conducted to certify that Turkcell is the leading 3G operator in Turkey. Cihan Nazmi Biyikli, Radio Network Division Head, Turkcell, Turkey explains the significance of this: "By partnering with Ericsson we have been able to gain proven market leadership in the 3G domain. This has been especially important to us from a marketing point of view because now we can really position ourselves as the operator with the highest quality network in the country."


Customer: Turkcell, Turkey

Customer Objective

  • Modernize the network
  • Increase market share
  • Improve profitability

Ericsson Solution

  • Network Rollout
  • Systems Integration
  • Training, tuning and overseeing of the network

Customer Benefits

  • Leadership in the new 3G market
  • Increase in subscriber numbers
  • Transformed perception in the marketplace

Real impacts

Turkcell has been able to take advantage of the demand for 3G with the best HSPA and browsing performance, the highest network quality and the lowest dropped call rates in the country. Turkcell is now leading the way with infrastructure that guarantees uninterrupted service even at peak times.

Customer profile

Turkcell started its operations in February 1994, marking the beginning of GSM-based mobile communication in Turkey. Since then, it has continuously expanded its variety of services, improved quality levels and as a result increased its number of subscribers.

3G rollout marked the next phase in Turkcell’s evolution. Now with more than 35.4 million subscribers the operator leads the market in Turkey and is the third largest GSM operator in Europe in terms of subscriber numbers. Turkcell is the only Turkish company to be listed in both the New York Stock Exchange and the Istanbul Stock Exchange.

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