According to Hurriyet Daily News, Turkcell, Turkey’s largest mobile phone operator by subscribers, is in the midst of formalising an approach to enter the Libyan wireless market, following the recent political shift in the country. Back in July 2009 Turkcell announced its intention to bid for a unified telecoms licence in Libya, in competition with UAE-based Etisalat. A year later, in July 2010, Libya’s General Telecommunications Authority (GTA) announced that it had refused both offers, concluding that neither proposal was satisfactory. However, Turkcell general manager Sureyya Ciliv now says that his company declined the concession due to the perceived lack of a level playing field; both of Libya’s operational cellcos Libyana and Al Madar are wholly-owned by the state via Libya Post and Telecommunications Information Technology (LPTIC).
Speaking at a press event to mark the fifth anniversary of the company’s call centre in Erzurum, Ciliv told a small group of journalists that the Libyan government also sounded out Turkcell regarding the construction of a fibre-optic transmission network, but once more Turkcell declined. When questioned regarding its intentions to enter the Libyan market, the enigmatic Ciliv declared: ‘Our friends are working on the issue’. The general manager also added that Turkcell has designs on entering the Somalian telecoms sector, providing no further details.