Turkcell to launch ‘4.5G’ in 81 cities, ten days ahead of schedule

24 Mar 2016

Turkcell, Turkey’s leading cellco by subscribers, has confirmed it is ready to launch ‘4.5G’ technology across cities in all 81 provinces on 1 April 2016, the date on which the country’s three mobile operators’ new mobile broadband frequency licences become valid for commercial services. Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Turkcell CEO Kaan Terzioglu said: ‘We have invested heavily in the spectrum auction held on 26 August in order to bring the fastest mobile internet to our customers all over Turkey … Today we are able to announce that the Turkcell network is ready for 4.5G in 81 cities ten days ahead of schedule.’ Turkcell’s website displays a countdown clock indicating that its 4.5G network will go live at 00:00 AM on 1 April. Vodafone Turkey’s website displays an almost identical countdown clock, while Turk Telekom has also confirmed 1 April as its scheduled switch-on date, indicating that all three cellcos will launch their commercial 4.5G services simultaneously.

In comparison to Turkcell, Vodafone’s 4.5G coverage map shows expected initial coverage of eight major regions in Turkey (including the largest cities), but Turk Telekom has indicated that on 1 April it will offer all of Turkey ‘s 81 provinces 4.5G-speed services (at least matching Turkcell’s claim), supported by its superior high speed fibre transmission reach; Turk Telekom’s online marketing (see link below) underlines the widespread initial footprint by adding that its 4.5G launch ‘will benefit 17 million mobile customers’, while highlighting the potential for upcoming ‘gigabit’ speeds.

Turkcell says it has achieved LTE mobile data speeds of above 350Mbps (download) and above 45Mbps (upload) on its new multi-band network using carrier aggregation. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Turkey’s three incumbent mobile network operators (MNOs) Turkcell, Vodafone and Turk Telekom (Avea) each won multi-band 4G spectrum in the August 2015 tender held by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK), collectively bidding a total of more than EUR1.14 billion (USD1.3 billion) for the frequencies. Turkcell revealed in December 2015 that it would launch commercial 4.5G mobile broadband services in April 2016 with theoretical peak speeds of up to 375Mbps by aggregating three frequencies. It also said that further upgrades will support speeds of above 1Gbps near the end of 2016.