Investments in Turkey's electronic communication sector surged by 37% year-on-year in 2019 to TL 13 billion ($1.86 billion), the country's transportation and infrastructure minister said Sunday.
"This investment momentum is necessary for our country's move to achieve digital transformation, take fiber infrastructures to every point of the country much faster, and switch to 5G and beyond technologies," Adil Karaismailoğlu told Anadolu Agency (AA).
Karaismailoğlu's remarks came in his assessment of "Turkey’s Electronic Communication Sector Quarterly Market Data Report” prepared by the Information Technologies and Communication Authority (BTK).
Turkey's leading information and communication technology company, Türk Telekom, and mobile operators alone invested some TL 10.2 billion in the electronic communications sector last year, a 52% year-on-year increase, the minister noted.
The operator revenues in the electronic communications sector, which reached TL 17.6 billion in the last quarter of 2019, increased by 13% year-on-year last year and exceeded TL 66.7 billion, the data showed.
While revenues increased by more than 12% last year in terms of mobile operators, Karaismailoğlu noted that net sales revenues of operators other than Türk Telekom and mobile operators increased by 15% in 2019 compared with the previous year, surpassing TL 16 billion.
“What matters for the development of the sector and for subscribers to receive higher quality service is the reflection of the increase in revenues of the operators in the investments made,” the minister continued.
The number of mobile subscribers increased to 80.8 million as of the end of last year, the minister noted, adding that the prevalence of mobile subscribers was over 97%. He suggested that 74 million of mobile subscribers preferred the 4.5G subscription that started service in 2016, while the number of subscribers of 3G service decreased to around 5 million.
“The fact that 4.5G service has become widespread throughout the country in such a short time and has been preferred by 92% of subscribers gives an idea that 5G and beyond technologies will create an important potential in our country. Operators invest heavily in every point of our country and every citizen to benefit from 4.5G service,” he further stressed.
Expressing that they are pleased to see that 5G and beyond and M2M technologies are being used more frequently in daily life in many fields, Karaismailoğlu said that the steady growth in Turkey's internet infrastructure, which has become an indispensable service, continues and that these services are becoming accessible to more people.
The total number of broadband subscribers exceeds 76.6 million, Karaismailoğlu said, noting that 62.4 million of these are mobile subscribers and 14.2 million are fixed, pointing out that while the number of broadband internet subscribers increased, the usage of subscribers also increased significantly in 2019.
“While the average monthly data usage of fixed broadband subscribers was 97.5 gigabytes in the last quarter of 2018, this figure increased by 22% to 119.3 gigabytes in the last quarter of 2019,” he continued. “We see that this increase is more pronounced for mobile subscribers. Data usage, which was 4.8 gigabytes in the fourth quarter of 2018, increased by 40% and reached 6.7 gigabytes.”
Pointing to the critical importance of fiber infrastructure for the development of both broadband internet and existing 4.5G, as well as 5G and beyond mobile technologies, Karaismailoğlu said the satisfactory increase in the investments of operators in 2019 was also reflected in fiber investments.
Looking at the 2019 year-end figures, Karaismailoğlu stated that the amount of fiber infrastructure reached 391,000 kilometers with an increase of more than 10% compared with the previous year, adding that the number of fiber internet subscribers exceeded 3.2 million with an increase of 15%.