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‘Unique duality’ makes ICT growth in Turkey a fact, not a trend

Article - October 8, 2014

Hakam Kanafani, former Türk Telekom Group CEO, speaks about how Turkey is embracing rapid growth in the ICT sector.


A young population. Eighty-one cities ready to be connected. As communications technology drives economic growth in Turkey, Türk Telekom Group readies itself to take the helm and lead innovation in the country’s rapidly expanding ICT sector. Conscious of its brand and prudent with investments, Türk Telekom Group is situated to work with the Turkish government to improve the ICT sector as well as the overall quality of life for the Turkish people.

In a recent interview, Hakam Kanafani, member of the Board of Directors and former CEO of Türk Telekom group, spoke to World Report about opportunities and plans regarding the ICT sector, and Turkey’s unique duality among nations.

Considering the size and scale of the Turkish economy, there is an extraordinary amount of untapped potential in the ICT sector. When you look at the domestic landscape, where do you see opportunities?

We think there is something special to do in every industry. We can help the oil and gas industry to communicate better with the fields and to supervise and maintain their network of pipes and ships. If you look at the health industry, they can do a good job engaging doctors with certain families and having doctors give them knowledge as to where to go, who to talk to and basic information they require for their children. What we can do for digital education is to make education much more entertaining and engaging for children, and make it much safer and more effective for teachers. For banking, we can connect all the retail sectors through unified communications. The list goes on – from security to manufacturing. We think the potential is tremendous.

Turkey’s Vision 2023 includes ambitious goals such as reaching 30 million broadband subscribers and supplying 50 percent of ICT with domestic services, with the ICT sector representing 8 percent of Turkey’s GDP. Can you please briefly outline some of Türk Telekom’s strategies to help achieve these?

I think one of the most important things is to deliver a fiber platform so we can speed up the data exchange. The more you do this, the happier people will be because they will be able to browse faster, as well as so many other things on the software side that you can do on the web. The faster the web and the better the fiber, the more complex and sophisticated software can be written, which means that the internet can be used more to develop society in particular.

Türk Telekom is rapidly expanding its superfast broadband infrastructure in 81 cities and has already reached extensive coverage levels in fiber. As of December 2013, our FTTH/B (fiber to the home/building) home pass reached 2.5 million and FTTC (fiber to the curb) home pass, 6.5 million.

As we are doing the fiber carpeting of the nation, we are moving into the next phase of offering new and innovative products and services like smart home and smart city solutions.

We have invested a lot of energy, money and planning to make sure that we are able to deliver this fiber network. We have a very aggressive plan for the next five years where we want to transform our network with fiber.