Turkey’s largest mobile operator Turkcell has said it will spend US$1.6 billion this year rolling out its first 3G networks in the country. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Ilter Terzioglu, chief network operations and regulations officer at Turkcell, said that the operator will switch on 3G services in all 81 provinces of Turkey simultaneously, reports World Bulletin. Turkcell has previously hinted that the networks could go live in June. Turkcell submitted the highest bid – EUR358 million – to secure the highest-frequency 3G spectrum license on offer when the Turkish government auctioned-off the licenses last November. The US$1.6 billion figure is understood to include this license fee. Turkcell’s two rivals, Vodafone and Avea, bid EUR250 million and EUR214 million, respectively, for licenses in lower frequencies, and are also expected to launch rival 3G networks this year.
Turkcell said it would work with equipment vendors Ericsson and Huawei to build the network. In an earlier statement, Swedish-based Ericsson said it has signed a contract with Turkcell to build a WCDMA/HSPA network and a range of related services. Under the agreement, Ericsson will supply an end-to-end network solution, including a WCDMA/HSPA radio access network, and an IP-over-Ethernet-enabled mobile-backhaul solution based on microwave transmission. Financial details were not disclosed. Huawei, meanwhile, is also working with Vodafone Turkey to rollout a similar network.