Observers are stating that multiple SIM card utilization is also declining significantly due to new cross-network compatible tariffs served by operators. As the turk-internet.com staff, we asked the operators about the decline in mobile subscribers in Turkey recently. Serpil Timuray, the CEO of Vodafone Turkey, points out that winding ups and downsizings related to economical recession are causing a significant loss in subscriber numbers. Timuray states that 3G is opening an extension door for the sector with its value-added services.
turk-internet.com : There has been a visible decline in Turkish mobile subscriber numbers within the last few months. What is the reason behind this and do you think there is a relation between this downfall and the global crisis?
Serpil Timuray: Although it is in single digits, Turkish telecom sector has shown some growth in the tough recession environment caused by global economical crisis.
Growth in mobile subscriber numbers, which was once about 15%, accounted for 3,6% in the first quarter of 2009. With a brief assessment we can say that there has been a shrinkage in revenues generated from small enterprises due to closings and winding ups. We are also experiencing its effects in subscriber numbers.
However the most recent downfall in subscriber numbers is especially a result of the consolidation in “multiple SIM card utilization”. Similarly we saw that the economical shrinkage caused a SIM card consolidation in Romania a few months ago. While multiple SIM card holders ratio was 29% in November 2008, it has declined to some 20% in June 2009.
Telecom sector is widely considered as the iron horse of economical growth all over the world. Considering the continuous investments, R&D focus and the contribution to the national economy with handing over 55% of the revenues to government as taxes, telecom sector has a significant role in Turkish economy. The three GSM operators in Turkey have transferred a total of 2,2 billion TL ($1,38 billion) to national treasury just for 3G license prices this year and they are carrying on their technological investments. And the 3G technology, launched on 30th July, is offering an expansion opportunity to our sector in data based value-added services.
turk-internet.com : Can you please summarize your short term predictions for the industry both in global and domestic environments?
Serpil Timuray: Turkey has a demographically highly dynamic society which has a strong consumption tendency. Vodafone Group stands on the top line in direct foreign investments and continues its strong investments with a long term growth vision. The Group prioritizes Turkey as a market which has a high potential for development and therefore should be considered in long term investments. With the 3G promotion in our sector, we are expecting a growth in market development. We are also foreseeing that 3G will not only create a transformation in communication tools but also will intermediate in building a strong economical value.
Revenues from mobile broadband are expected to reach $400 billion globally in the coming days. And by 2012, revenues from broadband services are expected to amount half of revenues produced by the all of the mobile services becoming the most important area of the mobile communication sector.
Mobile broadband services are the most rapid developing segment in the sector with a 40% growth expectance. According to Europe Commission’s data all of the Europe continent will be covered with broadband fast Internet access next year. As Vodafone, 25% of our European subscribers are benefiting from the mobile Internet services. But in Turkey this rate falls back to 5% yet. Within this context we believe that 3G will uncover a serious potential in this country, where the 6 million DSL connections are just accounting to a 8,4% of the mobile phone subscribers.