MURAT ERKAN

Turkey 2020 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

Turkcell's 1,000-plus R&D engineers and developers not only place customers first, but are also working around the clock to make the company Turkey's premier ICT service provider through its digital business solutions in three years.

Murat Erkan
BIOGRAPHY

Murat Erkan began his career at Toshiba before becoming an application engineer at Biltam Engineering. After being the premier system engineer in Turkey at Cisco Turkey, he served as chief officer at Cisco Systems in charge of technology, sales, business development, and channel management for 10 years. He joined Turkcell Group in 2008 as the general manager of Turkcell Superonline, and from 2015-2019 was executive vice president of sales. He graduated from Yıldız Technical University in electronics and telecommunication engineering and completed the Strategic Marketing Program at Harvard Business School.

How will Turkcell's ongoing focus on digital services change its domestic priorities, and how has it impacted Turkcell's revenue growth?
Backed by Turkcell's strong mobile and fiber infrastructure, our strategic focus areas comprise digital business solutions, services, and fintech solutions. Turkcell has spearheaded the digital transformation of the telecommunications industry and continues to lead the digital transformation of Turkey. Its 1,000-plus R&D engineers and developers place its customers first, and its unique ability to combine telco and OTT abilities have helped it achieve its objectives. We have constantly expanded what users can do with our digital services, recently removing language barriers on BiP. It now knows more than 100 languages and provides users with real-time translation. Leveraging the power of AI backed by our engineers, Turkcell's digital services like fizy, Dergilik, and TV+ now offer personalized content recommendation. Our AI-powered personal assistant Yaani will be launched by the end of 2019, and we will continue to develop technologies that augment the capabilities of our customers. Our fintech solutions serve as a backbone for our digital services, and our digital business solutions continue to improve as we add new products and features. In the domestic market, we have successfully captured a strong revenue growth of 21.3% in 2Q2019, as we generated TRY6.2 billion in revenues. Through our customized solutions in providing connection, cloud, cybersecurity, and surrounding IT and integration services, we facilitate the digital transformation of companies in both the public and private sectors. Our subsidiary digital business services combine ICT and telco abilities and offer end-to-end solutions to enterprises in Turkey. We aim to become the top-of-the-line ICT service provider through our digital business solutions in three years.

How will the digital transition change Turkcell's international operating strategy from one of acquisition to digital penetration?
The immense impact of next-generation technologies and 5G pushes telecom operators to the center of digital transformation. At this point, the fundamental global strategy shifts to providing digital services and solutions to customers. Our strategy to capture global expansion and growth focuses on our digital services instead of providing traditional telecom services. Turkcell's “Turkey's data should be hosted in Turkey" strategy applies to this field, as we have gathered our global operator collaborations under one roof. Our digital services and solutions help other telecom operators in the world host their data in their country, too.

How is Turkcell's strong subscriber base helping the company's growth in the fintech area?
Our investments in the fintech area are part of our vision to expedite the growth of Turkey's digital economy, i.e. we see fintech as an opportunity not only for Turkcell but Turkey at large. Turkcell's subsidiary Paycell, in this sense, serves as a backbone in its strategic focus areas—it offers payment solutions for Turkcell's digital services, ranging from the instant messaging app BiP to the music streaming app fizy. The transition to a digital operator required a mobile payment solution for our customers combining OTT and telecom abilities, our know-how in technology, our stores all over the country, and the largest customer base in the market, which have helped us become an important player in the fintech industry. Our established experience with mobile users in Turkey and thorough knowledge of the financial behavior of our customer base also uniquely positions Paycell as a financial service provider in the Turkish market.