Over 350 telecoms industry executives gathered in Istanbul Turkey , 1-2 April. For the second year running, the city hosted Info rma Telecoms & Media's
Eurasia Com conference and exhibition, the annual meeting point for operators and other telecommunications value chain participants from Turkey , the
Caspian region and Central Asia . The operators of the host country were well represented, with good-sized delegations from each of Turkey 's three mobile players attending. Further Turkish delegates represented the country's national incumbent carrier, Turk Telekom plus a good number of its competitors in the areas of fixed-line telephony and broadband services.
The conference was opened by Turk Telekom CCO, Mr Mehmet Toros, who spoke about the company's desire to integrate its wireline business more closely with Avea, the mobile operator of which it owns a majority stake. Toros spoke about how this would enable the company to offer new, convergent services. It also became clear that the company is doing much to extend the accessibility of broadband in Turkey .
The next operator to be represented in the day one Keynote session was
Turkcell, the host country's leading mobile operator and a shareholder in
Fintur Holdings, the majority share of which is owned by giant Scandinavian telco TeliaSonera. Fintur has long owned controlling stakes in mobile operators across the Caspian region and Central Asia - Azercell ( Azerbaijan ),
Geocell (Georgia) and K'Cell ( Kazakhstan ). In 2007, the Fintur/TeliaSonera footprint grew with the acquisition of operations in Uzbekistan and
Tajikistan . Fintur is also present in Moldova and Turkcell controls an late- entrant mobile player in Ukraine . The Turkcell speaker was Tayfun Cataltepe, the company's Chief Strategy and International Expansion Officer, ably positioned to speak about how opportunities across this somewhat under- penetrated represented an important plank in Turkcell's overall growth strategy.
The Turkish mobile market is nearing saturation and a number of speakers at
Eurasia Com were invited to speculate how the eventual introduction of 3G
services might impact on competitive conditions and the growth of the content ecosystem. The 3G licensing process has itself been delayed by wrangles over the imposition of mobile number portability.
Delegates from Turkey got useful insights into how they might best approach the marketing and delivery of 3G services from David Lee, CEO of Magticom, a GSM operator from the Republic of Georgia , one of the first markets in the region to see the deployment of WCDMA networks. Lee spoke about the need to offer country-wide 3G coverage from the outset, ensuring that customers can enjoy new services anywhere.
A further high-value contribution to the discussions at Eurasia Com came from Gary Koeb, recently appointed as the Fintur Holdings Chief Marketing Officer. Koeb, a former CMO at Magticom, drew on a wealth of experience around bringing world-class marketing techniques to a Eurasian market, discussing issues of branding and the effective marketing of services.
As well as offering insights from the region's operators, the event organisers were also pleased to offer an opportunity to raise awareness of new investment opportunities to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran . Delegates with a responsibility for the expansion and M&A strategies of telecoms groups looking to expand their footprint in the region will have gained from this early chance to understand the conditions around the privatisation of Iranian incumbent carrier MCI, the sale of a third national mobile licence and the sale of licenses and spectrum enabling the deployment of WiMAX technology across the regions of Iran . All of this was admirably articulated by Lotfollah Sabouhi, representing Iran 's telecoms regulatory agency.
Eurasia Com (formerly Mobile Eurasia) continues to work well in Istanbul , having been held in Almaty , Kazakhstan in its first two years. The event will return to Turkey next year and the organisers expect the focus of the discussions to widen further beyond purely cellular industry opportunities and challenges.
For more information on the event, please visit www.ComWorldSeries.Com/Eurasia
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