Turkey revises 4G tender for ‘4.5G’ technology

Turkey’s 4G mobile infrastructure tender will seek advanced technology to allow it to upgrade smoothly to 5G

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The specifications for the tender on August 26 for Turkey's 4G mobile network services and infrastructure have been changed to include a greater amount of local components.

"The requirement for using domestically manufactured products has been increased up to at least 30 percent for the first year. Previously, it was 3 percent," deputy president of Turkey's Information Technologies and Communications Authority, or BTK, Omer Fatih Sayan, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

This rate will be increased to at least 40 percent from 8 percent in the second year, and to 45 percent from 15 percent for the upcoming years, Sayan said.

"It is very important that Turkey manufacture its own products in the communication sector. We expect the prospective bidders to act in accordance with this vision," he said.

Sayan said that the amendments to the tender specs also require operators to use Information Mobile Technologies-Advanced (commonly known as IMT-Advanced, these are specifications determined by the International Telecommunications Union) components in their new infrastructure "as a minimum", and allow them to use 5G and similar new technologies without getting any permit from the BTK. This offers them more flexibility in network planning.

"These amendments will help launch 4.5G services in Turkey, and will also pave the way for 5G using local technology," Sayan said, adding Turkey was planning to be one of the first countries moving on to the fifth-generation technology.

Another new requirement is the eventual inclusion of conventional rail lines and tunnels longer than a kilometer into the network.

"Mobile broadband services are already available on highways and high-speed trains. Our goal is to offer these services to passengers travelling through tunnels and on conventional rail lines," Sayan said. With authorization, operators will also be required to increase their nationwide network coverage up to 95 percent within eight years.

IMT-Advanced services will be launched on April 1, 2016, Sayan said, adding that this new technology would not only provide much faster access to information, but also will help increase economic growth.

"Studies show that each 10 percent increase in broadband access contributes to a 1 to 1.5 percent increase in GDP. Therefore, it would be a very important contribution to the national economy."

The tender for Turkey's 4G mobile network services and infrastructure was originally scheduled for May 26, but was postponed for three months on May 15, due to additional time requests from bidders to complete technical and financial preparations, and for the evaluation of proposed changes in specifications by the BTK.

In March, Turkey’s telecommunications authority announced a minimum bid of €2.3 billion ($2.44 billion) for mobile operators who want to operate in the 4G frequency.