Short scenes from 2003 event…

The second Turkey, Central Asia and Caspian Region Telecommunication Conference and Exhibition (Caspian Telecoms) has been organized between 14-16 April 2003 in Hilton Convention & Exhibition Centre. Telepati was the World media sponsor for this organization which was established by BEM, EUF and ITECA.

Turkcell was the main sponsor for the event which was hosted by; Ministry of Transport and Communication of Turkey, Telecommunications Authority of Turkey and Turk Telekomunikasyon A.S. and supported by; International Telecommunication Union (ITU), European Commission, World Bank, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD, European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI), and UNDP.

Minister of Transport and Communication of Turkey, Binali Yildirim shortly summarized the organization in the opening ceremony by the words, “This conference is an important opportunity in order to form an infrastructure for

regional development. Our main goal is to create an institutional and permanent cooperation between neighbour countries which are rapidly trying to refresh their communication infrastructures in order to be merged with the world and adapt to the liberal
economy”.

In the conference, countries have shared progress reports and experiences. Also during the event, countries and companies have had the chance to gather and it was a good start for future business relations.

Turkish, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Azeri, Uzbek, Georgian, Tajik, Afghan ministers and delegates from companies, European Commission, United Nations, World Bank, ITU, EBRD, UNDP were present in the conference. Privatization of telecom companies, transit communication potential, digitalization of telecom lines and Internet technologies were the main topics in the conference.

In the exhibition area, which has been formed for the first time this year, region’s leader telecom companies have introduced their products and services to the attendees and participants.

Turkey

The conference was hosted by the Minister of Transport and Communication Binali Yildirim, President of Telecommunication Authority Omer Arasil, General Manager of Turk Telekom Mehmet Ekinalan and President of TUTED Tayfun Turkalp.

“We should cooperate as the regional countries”

Minister of Transport and Communication Binali Yildirim said that the rapid improvement in communication technologies is the initiator for globalization and emphasized that world is getting smaller and interactions between societies are increasing. Yildirim has told about the importance of the information and sharing that information. Yildirim continued his words by saying that, Caspian region is strategically important since a big part of world energy resources exists in the region and it is only possible for the countries in the region to develop if there is cooperation in between. Yildirim said, “Interaction between societies provided by
efficient telecommunications technology will create maintenance of peace in the region. Having the international society develop together and having a democratic world, is related to our improvement in telecommunication area.” Yildirim has stated that the information society has had remarkable influences on the 21st century and Turkey is catching up with the changes. Yildirim has said that, studies in this range caused quality of services to increase and services to become widespread.

Yildirim has summarized the improvements in Turkish telecommunication area. They are;

“Satellite services, cable TV, Internet, services via undersea lines are under Turk Telekom’s monopoly. In order to serve mobile telecommunication services, in 1994, a revenue sharing contract has been signed between Turk Telekom and investors, which has provided partial liberalization. In 1998, Ministry of Transport and Communication has given GSM licenses to investors and since then, the mobile market is privatized. The most important structural change

in the telecommunication sector occurred with the validation of Article 4502 in the law in 29 January 2000. The law has separated determination of policy, arrangement, investor functions. Under these circumstances, in order to make arrangements on telecommunication sector, Telecommunication Authority of Turkey was founded which has administrative and financial autonomy. With the same law, Turk Telekom is no more a Civil Financial Investment and is responsible of trading investment. Every kind of telecommunication service and substructure is under Telecom’s control.

The law bids that, it is under Turk Telekom’s monopoly to execute national and international voice transfer except exceptional occasions till 2003. Telecommunication sector which has a dynamic market structure has shown a rapid development tendency in the past few years. For sure, it is mainly because of the privatization of GSM market. parallel to developments in the world, GSM subscribers have rapidly increased in Turkey and for the first time passed the number of PSTN subscribers. These improvements are important but certainly not enough. The 59th government’s program and their Emergency Action Plan consists of constituting a new law that will summarize present telecommunication discussions, accelerate privatization in the sector and materialize licenses, roaming, universal service, numbering according to EU standards. Also with the Emergency Action Plan, authorization, roaming, common settlement and association sharing, transition rights, activation of local network systems and cable TV, user rights and numbering will be established during monopoly period. Required regulation operations will also be completed. As Turkey, we are ready to share our studies and experiences with neighbor countries. Telecommunication market should be considered with regional cooperation and arranged as a market where regional borders are in consideration. This conference is an important opportunity in order to form a substructure for regional development model. Our main goal is to create an institutional and permanent cooperation between neighbor countries which are rapidly trying to refresh their communication substructures in order to be united with the world and adapt open market economy. Turkey is trying hard to maintain peace and stability in the region, therefore it is our goal to cooperate with countries in the region. With this esteem, Turkey cares a lot about relationships with Eurasian countries. Caspian Region reminds us of rich energy potential. For sure, this potential attracts attention of foreign countries. I believe that, since the region has rich natural resources, it will be one of the world’s most important regions in the case of purchasing power. Unfortunately, Caspian Region is not well developed; therefore we have to attract the attention of foreign investors and provide a stable business environment. I don’t separate Turkey from Caspian Region countries. I believe that Turkey should make quick arrangements in order to reach a higher level of welfare. Our plans and programs are according to this goal”.

Minister of Transport and Communication of Turkey Binali Yildirim said, “This conference is an important opportunity in order to form a substructure for regional development model. Our main goal, is to create an institutional and permanent cooperation between neighbour countries which are rapidly trying to refresh their communication substructures in order to be united with the world and adapt open market economy.”

“Information and communication technologies play an important role in the improvement of countries”

The President of Telecommunication Authority of Turkey Ömer Arasıl, underlined the fact that, the sector for ICT-Information and Communication Technologies is the determining one for economic and structural transformation brought by information age. Arasıl continued his words by saying that, the developments in the sector play a determining role in the case of, stable economic development, society’s welfare and countries gaining power in order to compete in the world scale. This very general concept bids that; countries should pay attention to their telecommunication sector. As a conclusion, certainly presence and effectiveness of organizing authorities in market economy conditions is accepted as an inferior tendency. Since the foundation, Turk Telecommunication Institution is in charge of organizing, authorizing, inspecting and reconciling with regards to politics and strategies in the sector. Arasıl emphasized that, independent institutions have two major missions which are structural and functional. Structural missions consist of two parts which are neutrality and transparency. Also functional missions consist of authorizing, inspecting and reconciling.

Arasıl said that, these institutions are, partners with social shareholders, aware of each other, able to share final decisions and neutral. In theory and in practice it is proven that there is an inverted relationship between organizing and competing. Other than that, during the organizing period we face a juridical problem which is not only in Turkey but in well developed countries, too. As the sector, we are trying to correct these juridical problems that we face during organizing and authorizing periods. There are problems caused by the inefficient formation of law of telecommunication and these slow us down during adjudication period. We suggest that, problems caused by us and firms should be evaluated in the first hand by the Council of State. Analyzing these problems will save us a lot of time.

Also we are trying to fulfill our authorization and reconciliation missions with our qualified personnel even though we are inexperienced. We are aware of our deficiency and inefficiency which we are trying to solve. What we want from the sector is to make creative suggestions so that we can analyze our problems. We were in this very path since the beginning and we want to continue like this. Giving the authorizing and organizing tasks to our institution has brought effectiveness to the regulatory structure in Turkey. Researches made by our experts showed us that even though we think we are unsuccessful, actually we are very successful with regards to world’s developed countries. Telecommunication Institution showed interest in cooperation with social shareholders by arranging 2002-2003 business plans together with the sector. We may not have fulfilled our promises but that doesn’t not mean we won’t. There fore till the liberalization, support from the sector is indeed very important for us.

Arasıl mentioned the licenses given by Telecommunication Institution and talked about international investments. We accelerated our authorization tasks in order to encourage investors and have a more efficient market structure after liberalization. With this aim, our institution has given a total of 107 licenses which are 19 for satellite telecom services, 2 for satellite environment operations, 5 for GMPCS’s and 81 for ISP’s. Turkish Telecommunication Institution is not just responsible of domestic missions but as an outcome of the sector’s unity and globalization we are working on international activity with enthusiasm. Specially, in The Plenipotentiary Conference which took place in Marrakech, Morocco, Turkey is selected as a member of the council which will administrate International Telecommunication Union for 4 years. Arasıl said that, even though, there have been good intentions for liberalization of telecom sector in Caspian Region, still there is a lot to do and that we are way behind the developed countries. If the regional countries are taken into consideration, an organizer authority in telecommunication area has not been found in most of the countries.

“Türk Telekom is ready for privatization”

General Manager Mehmet Ekinalan stressed the importance of Türk Telekom A.Ş. and gave information about liberalization period. Ekinalan said that, liberalization and privatization is not just important for the development of the country but also for regional development. Development in the sector obtained by liberalization will attract foreign investors and decrease unemployment. Liberalization and privatization is very important for regional development because improvements in the telecom sector provide new investments and international cooperation. As Turkish Telecom, we continue our studies in liberalization and believe in the importance and competence of this arrangement.

Ekinalan also gave information about Turkish Telecom’s capacity and study rights. As Türk Telekom A.Ş. we have about 19 million fix lines. Digitalization ratio of these lines is 90%. We have 75 thousand public phones. We have a capacity of 2 million for cable TV and 1 million members. Number of ADSL is very low which is 3 thousand. We have 3 satellites. Our GSM 1800 operator Aycell and Türk Telekom A.Ş. has taken their place in the GSM market. Even though Aycell and Turk Telekomunikasyon A.S. have started providing GSM services since 2001, they have reached a number of 1 million members. Endorsement of our company is 4-9 billion dollars and we have 3 thousand employees. During the coming term, we want to focus on our customer relations. As Turk Telekomunikasyon A.S. we are ready for cooperation.

“Telecom professionals have the magic power of facilitating social life”

President of TÜTED Administration Assosiation, Tayfun Türkalp said that, the conference will provide information and experience sharing, investment cooperation, cooperation between global telecom investors and domestic telecom companies. Also in the fair area we have an opportunity of inspecting producer, service supplier and operator companies’ products and services. Türkalp continued his words by saying that, for the global world two major elements are transportation and communication. With regards to developments in transportation and communication technologies, transportation is easier between continents and countries, relations between continents and countries are increasing. In the progress of reaching common points in moral values and rules, there is also improvement in democracy, productivity and source sharing. Communication technology is the only way to reduce the income distinction between persons and regions. The only way for small and middle size companies to compete against strong companies is internet. We, telecom professional, have the magic power of facilitating social life and we will increase this power with this conference.

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