By ANNE CANALP
Mr Dürüst said that he had “pressed the button” to invite expressions of interest for a GSM operator tender and investment and restructuring for the Telecommunications Office as a public/private venture.
Ayça Arifoğlu, spokesman for the Information Technology and Communications Authority, said a third operator on 4.5G would provide “number portability” for users and added: “If you are a Telsim subscriber it will be possible to use Türkcell but keep your entire number, including the prefix.
“We are running out of numbers and available bandwidth.”
She added that present operators Telsim and Türkcell had been testing 4G services for the past two years.
The 4.5G system uses the as-yet-unlicensed 0.5G of the 5G bandwidth and has licensed access to existing networks, allowing subscribers to use their personal number across networks.
The authority published its yearly plan on the Information Technology and Communications Council (BTHK) website which forecasts big improvements this year, but Ms Arifoğlu said it would be “a long road”.
Telecommunications employees union Tel-Sen head Tamay Soysan described the moves as “a cartel not even a monopoly” which had been formulated without consultation in pursuit of Telecommunications Office infrastructure.
He claimed consumers would have no choices and face inflated prices and called on the BTHK to stand by its principles of fair competition and reasonable rates.
Mr Dürüst said a new Telecommunications Office project would bring fibre-optic connections to homes which would provide faster and better quality connections.
He said the new move was under the auspices of the Economy and Energy Ministry’s Directorate of Money and Exchange Development Agency which had ordered a working committee to be set up.
Mr Dürüst added that high mobile phone rates were due to protocols signed by his predecessors in 2007 and emphasised the importance of a new 4.5G operator and the benefits to both the public and private sectors.
The government would work with the State Tenders Commission and Attorney General’s Office to tender under the Electronic Communications Law Article 14 Clause 4 and progress would be overseen by the independent BTHK.
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