Turkcell to launch services in Germany in April

Europe’s third-largest operator in subscriber terms, Turkcell, has announced its intention to expand into the European market, starting with Germany in April this year.  As part of the newly formed subsidiary Turkcell Europe, the German MVNO will involve the launch of 1200 retail locations and will initially target Turkish citizens living and travelling in Germany with pre-and-postpaid offerings.

With over 33 million subscribers, Turkcell has a 54 per cent market share in Turkey; it also operates in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Moldova, Cyprus, Ukraine and Belarus. CEO Sureyva Ciliv said that the initial target market will be Turkish citizens living in Germany who wish to keep in touch with relatives and are “keen on receiving Turkish content and information.” According to Turkcell, further expansion into the European market will be based on the Turkish ex-pat population of any given country. In an effort to attract users, the operator has abolished roaming rates for ex-pats living in Germany and is hoping to gain a four per cent share in the market there.

Turkcell, which is 37 per cent controlled by Sweden’s TeliaSonera, had originally planned to launch in Germany at the beginning of this year, following an announcement of a five-year 3G network-sharing deal with Deutsche Telekom in October 2010. Last week, TeliaSonera said that it was preparing to take legal action against Turkcell board of directors chairman Colin Williams over claims that the company was blocking the increase in number of independent board members. TeliaSonera claimed that it had been denied the right to raise the issue at the company’s AGM.

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