Turkcell has announced plans to launch a smartphone designed and manufactured in its home market of Turkey by the end of 2013. The announcement was made by Süreyya Ciliv, Turkcell’s CEO, in the presence of Binali Yildirim, Turkey’s Minister of Transport, Marina Affairs and Communications, at a press conference in Barcelona today.
Code-named Gabze, after the city in which the 700-employee Turkcell Technology R&D centre is located, the new smartphone will be developed by Turkish designers and engineers and incorporate an interface unique to Turkcell.
The Gezbe smartphone will build on the T Series range of Turkcell-branded Android smartphones manufactured for the operator in China. The range of competitively priced devices was developed to improve equality-of-access to the internet. T Series sales have exceeded 750,000 units. Turkcell has also launched its own tablet.
Observing that Apple iPhone is designed in California but manufactured in China, Ciliv inferred that Gezbe could become the Cupertino of Turkey.
Ciliv said, “With our Gebze smartphone, we aim to lead and encourage other sector players to manufacture in Turkey, thereby positively contributing to the current account deficit. Indeed, it is possible that TRY500 million [$275 million] will remain in Turkey’s pocket for every million units of local smartphones sold.” Turkcell also hopes to open up export markets for the new device, initially in its local region.
Turkcell also announced a co-operation agreement with Qualcomm that will give Turkcell access to advanced features of Qualcomm chipsets and open the door to joint R&D initiatives.
Qualcomm Senior VP & President of Europe Enrico Salvatori (right) said that Qualcomm’s partnership with Turkcell marked an important development not just for Turkey, but also for other countries in the region.