Competition in Turkey’s mobile market looks set to hot up following comments by the CEO of number-three operator Avea that the company will overtake Vodafone’s revenues in the next year. “We think Avea will be the number two by revenues this year, even in six months,” said Paul Doany, according to a Financial Times report. The report notes that Vodafone’s Turkish operation, which it bought for US$4.6 billion in 2005, was among the global operator’s worst-performing businesses last quarter, plagued with problems linked to its mobile network and sales outlets. Doany’s forecasts came as Avea’s parent company Turk Telecom met expectations with a 31 percent fall in full-year net profit to TRY1.75bn (US$1.04 billion) in 2008. Operating profit rose 6 percent to TRY2.7 billion. Turk Telekom, controlled by Dubai-based Oger Telecom, was listed on the Istanbul stock exchange in May 2008.
According to Wireless Intelligence, Turkey had a mobile penetration rate of 87 percent at the end of Q4 2008 and was dominated by market-leader Turkcell (36.9 million connections and a 56 percent market share). Vodafone Turkey had 16.7 million connections (a 25 percent market share) whilst upcoming third-placed player Avea had 12.8 million connections (a 19 percent market share). Last November all three operators snapped up 3G licenses, with services expected to be launched this summer.