Turkish Ministry of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and
Communications had announced that the auction for 4G spectrum would
be held on 26 May 2015 and that 4G technologies would be put into
service towards the end of the year. Moreover, it had been stated
that a new operator would participate in the auction along with the
existing operators Vodafone, Avea and Turkcell. However, after
Turkey's president Tayyip Erdogan said that "it is not
necessary to waste time with 4G technologies" and that
"Turkey should jump directly to 5G within 2 years", the
scheduled auction was delayed by three months until 26 August 2015
as bidders claimed that they needed additional time for financial
and technical preparations. Since then, the auction has been dubbed
as "4.5G" by the public.
On 26 August 2015, the auction for IMT-Advanced Authorization
was completed in Ankara. the Information and Communication
Technologies Authority ("ICTA") conducted the auction. In
the auction, a total bandwidth of 390 MHz was put up for auction
and the ICTA set a minimum price of 2.3 billion euro for the 20
separate frequency packages of 800, 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz
spectrum. Moreover, a new operator was invited to bid at the
auction only for the 2600 MHz spectrum. Avea, Vodafone, Turkcell,
Netgsm and Huawei are the companies which had bought the
specifications document for the auction. However Huawei did not
join the auction and Netgsm decided not to make any bids and thus
was not qualified for the auction.
In the auction, the sealed bid procedure was applied and after
the sealed bids, the parties submitted their verbal bids. The
biggest winner of the auction is Turkcell, winning 8 of the 18
packages sold and 172 MHz of spectrum for 1.62 billion euro (VAT
excluded) across all five available bands. On the other hand,
Vodafone acquired 5 of the 18 packages and 82.8 MHz of spectrum for
778 million euro across all bands except 2100 MHz. Finally, Avea
secured 5 of the 18 packages and 110 MHz of spectrum for 955
million euro. Two presented packages and 15 MHz of 2600 MHz
spectrum have remained unsold in the auction.
In relation to details of the auction, A1, A2 and A3 packages
were presented in the 800 MHz spectrum. Vodafone won the A1 package
of 800 MHz spectrum for 390 million euro. Avea presented the
highest bid for the A2 package and the A3 package was acquired by
Furthermore B1, B2 and B3 packages were presented in the 900 MHz
spectrum and the winners, respectively, are Avea, Vodafone and
The winners of 1800 MHz are Turkcell for C1, Avea for C2 and
Vodafone for C3 package. In addition to this, Turkcell won all
three packages for 2100 MHz.
As to 2600 MHz spectrum, the highest bidders, respectively, are
Turkcell for E1-F3, Vodafone for E2-F2 and Avea for E3-F1 packages.
E4 and F4 packages have remained unsold.
After the completion of the auction, the bids will be submitted
for the approval of ICTA and the final result will be announced.
GSM and 3G concession agreements of the operators will be amended
after the notification of final results. The licenses of the
operators will be valid until 30 April 2029.
Following the auction, the current frequency allocated to mobile
network operators increased from 183 MHz to 548 MHz. The frequency
segments assigned with the auction will be put into service as of 1
April 2016. After the authorization, operators will be required to
extend their coverage range up to 95 percent of Turkish population
within 8 years.
In conclusion, Turkey has taken a big step in its
telecommunications industry. The "4.5G" auction is not
only intended for 4G technologies but also acts as a transition to
5G. Within this context explanations from ICTA indicate that Turkey
is planning to be one of the first countries to adopt 5G
technology. Moreover, the completion of the auction and launching
of new technologies will re-shape the competitive structure of the
broadband industry. In addition to that, considering the coverage
obligations of operators imposed by the auction, the nation-wide
coverage will be completed in the very near future.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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