Turkey has awarded three 3G licenses to the incumbent operators following an auction to battle over the spectrum allocation. Turkcell won the largest block (A License) with a bid of €358 million ($462 million), followed by Vodafone and Avea with bids of €250 million (US$323 million) and €214 million (US$276 million) respectively.
The award of the fourth available 3G license was cancelled due to a lack of interest.
The minimum value of the A License was set as US$405 million, while the minimum value was US$355 million for the B License, US$304 million for the C License and US$253 million for the D License.
Turkcell said that it expects to launch its 3G network by the middle of next year, while Avea has previously said that its network is ready for 3G services as soon as the licenses are awarded.
Only Turkcell was willing to bid for a 3G license in the original tender in 2007, after the other two operators, Vodafone and Avea refused to participate in the original auction unless mobile number portability was also offered. The license which was awarded to Turkcell was later cancelled due to the lack of competition.
Mobile number portability is due to be launched in the country in November.
Turkcell dominates the local market, controlling some 60% of customer base according to figures from the Mobile World analysts. Vodafone is second with 26% and Avea trails with just 14%. The country has nearly 54 million mobile phone users, which represents a market penetration level of 76%.
Source: Cellular News.