Q&A with Emre Erdem, carrier relations and wholesale director, Turkcell

07 March 2017 | Jason McGee-Abe


Q. Can you give us a brief about your organisation & its recent activities?

Emre ErdemTurkcell is a converged telecommunication and technology services provider. We serve our customers with voice, data, TV and value-added consumer and enterprise services on mobile and fixed networks. In 2016, to meet Turkey's digital data management need, we built the nation’s largest data centre in Gebze, we started discussions with sector players towards establishing joint infrastructure for efficient use of resources and ensuring fair competition within the scope of Turkey's fibre mobilisation. 

We launched 4.5G in Turkey as an LTE-A service on April 1 2016 and it as enabled our customers benefit from the mobile broadband services nationwide, we offer the fastest LTE speeds that are supported on commercial terminals globally. We have played a key role in the global development of 5G technologies through our national and international collaborations made over the past 1.5 years.

With the vision of transforming Silk Road into Fiber Road that we consistently sustain since 2009, we’ve contributed to creation of an international community in Istanbul. By means, we provide a bridge between east and west, which supplies a continuous connection via partnerships with the Tier-1 operators and our strategic partners. Currently, we carry more than 3 Terabits of international traffic.

On the other hand, with the convergence between retail and wholesale services on customer-oriented focus, we had offered our customers to enjoy the “Roam Like Home” tariffs, which enables them to use their national tariff in 66 countries now by paying a daily fee.

Q. What have been Turkcell’s key highlights and developments in the Middle East over the past year?

It is obvious that we had challenges in our region in the recent period. Despite all these effects, we experienced strong growth in Turkcell wholesale services, which is a big success beyond being just satisfying. We achieved good relationships with all our neighbour countries and took a strong position among the internet and capacity providers.

For the Middle East region, very strong infrastructure is so crucial, so our huge data centre investment in Gebze is just not for Turkcell and Turkey, we have already positioned  it as a very important point to meet all the region’s needs.

Another important development is that by means of our new “Feel Like Home” offer, we solved the traditional roaming problem experienced by our mobile users visiting neighbour countries and trade centres. We also enabled our corporate customers to use Roam Like Home offers in not only Europe but also in Middle East countries. At that point, we aim more Middle Eastern countries to include into this. To be able to execute it, all related wholesale providers should take responsibility and play important role.

Q. What are the major trends in the wholesale market and how is Turkcell planning to capitalise on those?

The wholesale-retail convergence plays a very strategic role in the evolution of business models. We see digital life and digital transformation as a significant need. In this new era the wholesalers who used to serve to B2B services, should realise that they need to better understand consumer needs in their models. This results in the increase of our B2B2C needs more and more, so we strongly focus this area. As a company who starts to share its infrastructure with national IXPs, despite being non-regulated, we see the competition in the customer and service area is much more beneficial and valuable rather than competition in infrastructure.

Q. What are your strategic priorities in 2017 and what announcements can we expect from Turkcell in the region this year? 

In 2016, we were giving “Roam Like Home” service in 55 countries, now it’s 66 in 2017. Also, you may expect some important developments in our carrier natural wholesale data centre investments.

On the other hand, Turkey grew rapidly in IPX business in 2016. To meet our customers’ solution needs and demands to share our benefits with them in mobility services, we see this as a great opportunity and we will continue to open IPX PoP’s. As a very recent news, we collaborated with iBASIS, a KPN company, to open an IPX Point of Presence (PoP) in Istanbul. The new IPX PoP will provide multiple services including 2G/3G and LTE signaling and roaming to enrich the customer roaming experience and is expected to stimulate growth in LTE services throughout the region.

Q. What does Turkcell hope to achieve out of your attendance at the Capacity Middle East event?

Capacity Middle East is one of the three most critical events during the year. We’re one of the biggest players in the region by maintaining a digital transformation and a very strong capacity provider. This event both enables us to share our experience, expertise, capabilities on our services with our business partners and to use their solutions and make use of their experience.