Turkey

Information current as of 20 February 2019

What is the state of 5G deployment in Turkey?

There has not been a tender for spectrum yet and no licence has been granted. The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (“BTK”) granted permit to Turkcell, Vodafone Turkey and Turk Telekom to conduct 5G tests in Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara, the three largest cities in the country. These sector-leading companies are now testing their 5G technology, but there is no commercial 5G deployment yet.

The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure stated that most countries will shift to the new system by the year 2022; he further announced that they shall continue their work without pausing until 2020, in order to become the first country to use the new connection speed.

Which telcos and communications players are launching 5G services?

Currently, none of the telcos are launching 5G services.

However, as Turkcell, Vodafone Turkey and Turk Telekom are already testing 5G, we believe that if the 5G infrastructure is ready, these operators will launch 5G services in 2020.

Are there any public tenders for spectrum licences?

No.

Has there been any comment on when there might be?

During an interview, a board member of BTK stated that they are still waiting for the right time and tariffing to initiate a public tender. We understand that an accurate tariffing is not possible because of the fluctuating exchange rates in Turkey. However, local elections will take place at the end of March 2019 and, we believe that such tender might be conducted within 2019.

On the other hand, the former CEO of Turkcell, the leading Turkish telco, Mr. Kaan Tezrioğlu, recently stated that “The contribution to the economy must be evaluated rather than the 5G tender bid. We will increase our efforts regarding infrastructure in order to deploy resources. We must create resources for the establishment of new generation economy instead of the licence fee of 5G. Italy has repeated its mistake, the same mistake they did at the 3G tender bid of Europe, during its recent 5G tender bid. We should take USA, South Korea and Japan as our role models here.”

What has the government said regarding spectrum licences for commercial use?

No official announcement has been made.

Are the rules for 5G already drafted, and if so, what do they say?

No rules have been drafted for the use of 5G services.

What are or would be the rules for granting competitors access to the new 5G networks, once they are deployed?

We are not aware of any rules drafted for access. However, we believe that access to the new 5G networks would be structured in a way that facilitates competition.