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Telecommunications in Turkey

Communications Of Turkey
Telephones main lines in use: 16.5 million, 18th in world (2009)[1]
Telephones mobile cellular: 62.8 million, 17th in world (2009)[1]
Telephone system:
  • Urban Areas: both fiber-optic cable and digital microwave radio relay
  • Remote areas are reached by a domestic satellite system
International service:
  • Three submarine fiber-optic cables in the Mediterranean and Black Seas linking Turkey with Italy, Greece, Israel, Bulgaria, Romania, and Russia
  • Overland fiber-optic cables connecting Turkey to Greece, Bulgaria, and now also Syria and Iraq
  • 12 Intelsat earth stations, and 328 mobile satellite terminals in the Inmarsat and Eutelsat systems (2002)[dated info]
Country calling code: 90
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 102, shortwave 1 (2014)
Radios: 11.3 million (1997)[dated info]
Television broadcast stations: 635 (plus 2,934 repeaters) (1995)[dated info]
Televisions: 20.9 million (1997)[dated info]
Internet country code: .tr
Internet hosts: 3.4 million (2010)[1]
Internet Service Providers ISPs: 50 (2001)
Internet users: 27.2 million (2009)[1]

Telecommunications in Turkey provides information about television, radio, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet in Turkey.

Telecommunications liberalisation

The telecommunications liberalisation process started in Turkey in 2004 after the creation of the Telecommunication Authority, and is still ongoing as of May 2013. Private sector companies operate in mobile telephony, long distance telephony and Internet access. There were 16.5 million fixed phone lines, 62.8 million mobile phone subscribers, and 6.2 million broadband subscribers by December 2009.[2]

Telecommunications liberalisation in Turkey is progressing, but at a slow pace. The Telecommunication Authority (now renamed Bilgi İletişim ve Teknolojileri Kurumu or BTK), while technically an independent organization, is still controlled by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.[3]

While progress is being made (for example, local as well as long distance calls are now open to competition), the incumbent has so far managed in many areas to restrict access and protect its monopoly. For example, wholesale line rental is still not available to alternative operators, making it necessary for subscribers to pay two bills (one for line rental to the incumbent, and one to the chosen operator). The incumbent has so far managed to prevent any operator from connecting its own fiber optic cable at local loop unbundling exchanges, though it is technically required to allow this. Recently, the incumbent announced it is acquiring Invitel, one of only two other players in the inter-city capacity business, raising questions as to how the Turkish Competition Board will treat the acquisition.

The lack of progress by the BTK in ensuring a competitive playing field can be evidenced by the market share the incumbent still holds. In broadband, the incumbent's provider still occupies roughly 95% share of the market. The Governmental Audit Office of the President (T.C. Cumhurbaşkanlığı Devlet Denetleme Kurulu) issued a highly critical report of the BTK in February 2010, listing 115 findings to be addressed. For example, the report found #20 points out that the BTK has completed only 50% to 78% of its stated work plans in each of the years from 2005-2008.[4]

Alternative operators are rapidly growing, yet much progress needs to be made by the BTK to improve the competitive landscape.


The political authority is Ministry of Transport, Maritime and Communication (Turkey) . But there are also two supreme councils; Radio and Television Supreme Council (abbreviated RTÜK) and Information and Communication Technologies Authority (abbreviated BTK). While internet and point to point telecommunication is controlled by BTK, radio and television broadcast is controlled by RTÜK.

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