LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 MIDDLE EAST: Erkan Akdemir, CEO of Turkey’s third largest mobile carrier Avea, warned operators need to innovate with new services and look at different ways of managing infrastructure if they are to sustain growth.

Reflecting the changes taking place in the mobile market, Avea is looking to become “a digital social provider in a real sense”, according to its boss.

It has developed the Woops youth brand and the Prime high-end brand which offer a range of campaigns and tariff benefits. The operator has also launched its own branded smartphone, which now accounts for 15 per cent of all its smartphone sales — more than any other device.

Avea is also working to develop offerings around mHealth, m-Commerce and augmented reality, while selling non-personal data about its customer base to other players in the sector to generate new revenue.

“Big data is also top of our agenda as an area where we can make user of consumer data for various purposes. The key is to extract this information and make it valuable for people,” Akdemir said. “This not only provides addition revenue streams, but benefits the rest of the economy,” he added.

Avea is also developing products in the mobile advertising space, in-store marketing (using Beacons and Femtocell technology) and mobile financial services, under its Flexus business.

However, despite the potential of these new business areas, revenue “is not likely to rocket as it has before”, according to Akdemir, meaning operators will need to reduce the cost per bit of data.

As part of this Avea is focused on investing in its next generation network “to provide our customer with the best coverage and quality”, with the equivalent of 19 per cent of revenue spent on this in 2013.

“We have to develop a new understanding of collaboration among operators for infrastructure and backhaul, and where possible, innovate,” the Avea CEO concluded.

According to GSMA Intelligence, Avea is Turkey’s smallest but fastest-growing mobile operator, chasing larger players Turkcell and Vodafone.