Süreyya Ciliv is the CEO of Turkcell since January 2007. Before joining to Turkcell, he held several executive positions in Microsoft Corporation. In 1997, Ciliv was appointed as the Country Manager for Microsoft Turkey and in 2000 he was promoted to the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, WA, USA. He held executive positions in the Microsoft Worldwide Sales, Marketing and Services Group from 2000 till 2007.
Between 1988 and 1997, Ciliv served respectively as Vice President, President and Chairman of Novasoft Systems, an enterprise document and workflow management company which he co-founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He started his business career as a software development engineer at Metagraphics in Massachusetts where he was later promoted to be the director of international sales and marketing.
Ciliv has a MBA degree from Harvard Business School in 1983 and BSE degree in Computer Engineering and Industrial & Operations Engineering from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1981.
The availability of broadband and smart devices is propelling Turkey into the new digital era, towards Mobile Internet – the platform of the future. 3G was launched in Turkey in 2009 and Turkcell has contributed to its high population coverage rating. High broadband speed and good coverage enables Turkcell to launch a wide range of advanced services, including mobile payment and NFC based transactions, thus keeping Turkey in the forefront of technology and transforming the ancient ‘Silk Road’ to the modern ‘Fibre Road’.
During 2011 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the main discussion topic was the impact of mobile communications on our daily lives. Today, five billion people are connected by mobile phones. Thanks to 3G, the number of mobile internet users, currently at two billion, is expected to rise to four billion by 2020. I am among those who think this number will be reached even sooner. As the demand for democratization and transparency increases globally, the speed and mobility that 3G offers can bring information and news flow to a remarkable level.
When we look back only half a century, we can truly appreciate just how much communications technology has transformed. The ‘digital age’ we live in has necessitated a fresh technological vision for the new techno-economic period. Enhanced economic performance requires effective use of mobile technologies shaping the ‘new world’. A professor at The London School of Economics has estimated that each ten per cent rise in mobile penetration may generate a 0.6 per cent increase in a nation’s annual growth rate. Independent research indicates that, by the end of March 2011, mobile line penetration was 82 per cent globally, reaching 102 per cent in the Asia- Pacific region.
The explosion in bandwidth for consumers and businesses drives customer growth while contributing to applications enhancement and greater availability of value added services. Such large increases in bandwidth support exponential growth in data, including voice, video and Internet. Smartphones and tablets further accelerate this trend. Global smartphone sales are expected to reach 41.4 per cent of total handset sales by 2015, as their sales are expected to more than triple between 2010 and 2015 in Asia-Pacific.
In Turkey, while mobile line penetration was at about 87 per cent as of the end of June 2011, we have seen a rapid uptake in smartphone sales since the 2009 launch of 3G in the country. The ratio of smartphone sales, which constituted five per cent of total sales in 2009, increased to 18 per cent in 2010, and is expected to reach 24 per cent by the end of 2011.
Accordingly, mobile data revenues are forecast to grow by 32 per cent between 2010 and 2014 on a compounded basis, spurred by 3G and smartphone devices and application downloads. As the sale of smartphones and tablets rises further, data usage will continue to increase, with a key contributor being video usage.
I personally believe that just as PCs have been the platform of the past 25 years, the next platform has become smart mobile computing devices. For a long time, we have been preparing for a new world where ‘mobile internet’ plays the leading role. In order to create an ideal platform for mobile services, which is the platform of the future, we have set a good example in Turkey, this fast growing country at the crossroads of the Middle East and Asia. We have introduced the nation to 3G, generating national value with one of the fastest and most sophisticated mobile internet infrastructures in the world. We are proud of our contribution to the World Economic Forum and INSEAD’s ranking, where Turkey came first in population coverage among 138 countries. In the Ericsson’s ranking, our eleven 3G exchanges were ranked in the top eleven among 639 3G exchanges in 53 countries, in terms of 3G data download speed.
While our country is taking a major step towards becoming an information society, we have prioritized the provision of equal opportunities in terms of information access, and are seeking to close the digital divide in Turkey.
We are currently experiencing the online integration of communication, information and entertainment. The key issue may be expressed under three headings: “mobility, internet and convergence”. Hence, the possibilities presented by broadband will be the entire sector’s focus of attention. We anticipate particularly exciting years ahead, as the world is now shifting its focus to the next chapter, which is clearly about “mobile internet”.
I believe that operators should define themselves as mobile service providers, rather than solely GSM operators. Particularly in Turkey, as the market leader, we have focused on establishing one of the world's best performing 3G technology supported networks. Moving towards this vision, we have implemented HSPA+, one of the first to do so globally. We are now able to reach mobile internet speeds well above those of domestic and global peers, at up to 43.2 Mbps with the HSDPA multi carrier solution.
Unsurprisingly, the smartphone market has been a key growth area. Last year, the Turkish market enjoyed rapid adoption of smartphone usage, as operators introduced their own branded smartphones at reasonable prices to take the smart-phone experience to a higher level of price-quality balance. Particularly, we have observed that users of our own Android™ type smartphone in our network had increased their mobile internet consumption 18 fold. Currently in Turkey, smartphone and data bundled packages drive the increase in mobile line penetration and growth in mobile internet and service revenues.
We believe that new versions of these smartphones, such as our own, which embeds mobile services and applications, as well as NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities, will further enhance consumers’ lives. In this new era, the application arena is becoming increasingly important. Through application stores, operators can boost loyalty, decrease retention cost, increase ARPU and provide local and customized applications that are closely tailored to their customers’ needs. This is why I view application stores as an indispensable component of a successful business plan.
Turkey is a country where a successful business plan can rapidly result in higher returns, with a larger share of the youth segment known to be keen on trying out new technologies and services compared to other European markets. Additionally, the operators have both the time and budgetary motivation to follow and respond to the competition’s promotions. Accordingly, we expect to see a proliferation of smartphones which may be used as small sized PCs by many people, and will continue to drive services relying on multimedia and mobile internet. In particular, our cutting edge applications like mobile payment, mobile signature, mobile education, telemetry applications, e-government applications and various products and services have elevated Turkey to a country of firsts, especially in location based services and Near Field Communication.
Mobile payment innovations, both on a local and global scale, have been introduced in Turkey. Turkey is shown as a model for technical implementation of mobile payment services, with the business model behind it. A recent mobile payment solution for iPhone users marks a European first, offering commercial mobile contactless payment. Additionally, the multi-application environment of NFC usage has also been launched to realize Turkish subscribers’ Mobile Wallet expectations. In the near future, we expect to see a boom in mobile financial services spanning from mobile payment to money transfer, fuelled by Near Field Communication, while location-based services will continue to thrive and increasingly include social networking.
The sizeable investments made in Turkey are not limited to mobile. Thanks to investments in our fiber network, Turkey is among the top-five countries in the world to offer residential internet service at speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. We are taking radical steps to transform the centuries-old Silk Road into a “Fibre Road” and facilitate Istanbul in becoming the regional traffic exchange centre.
Before I conclude, we should address potential challenges that may arise from strong mobile internet growth. As free internet services increase, data traffic continues to rise. Consequently, the growing use of smartphones and tablet PCs means consumption of network capacity in terms of signalling. While this is good for boosting data usage, more smart phones in the network necessitates better and faster network and technology. Therefore, those operators failing to invest in their network will be left behind. Operators and vendors are already discussing possible proactive steps and precautions to be taken in order to successfully address this situation. To this end, we closely trace technological developments and invest in our network.
It is also necessary to translate the need for increased capacity into increased income. Therefore, we design our pricing strategies and investments with a focus on profitability, and advise operators to scrap unlimited data tariffs and introduce clear data price bands.
Additionally, the availability of IP version 4 addresses for the rapidly growing number of IP devices is decreasing fast. Therefore, there is a need for a transition to the new standard, namely IP Version 6. The transition is not simple, as terminals, infrastructure and content must all support this new standard. In Turkey, we are continuing our efforts towards a seamless transition to IPv6 from IPv4.
Today, the entire world is experiencing a transformation brought about by mobile communications. In tomorrow’s world, the winners will be those cutting edge countries that are ahead in the race today.