ÜMIT ÖNAL

Turkey 2020 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

With the most extensive fiber infrastructure in the country covering 80% of the entire fiber network, Türk Telekom stands ready to continue to lead Turkey's digital transformation.

Ümit Önal
BIOGRAPHY

Ümit Önal has been the CEO of Türk Telekom since July 2019. He joined Türk Telekom in 2016. Önal previously worked for Turkuvaz Media Group and was CEO of Digitürk. He is the former chairman and current board member at TV Monitoring and Research Committee (TİAK) and Committee Chairman at the Association of TV Broadcasters (TVYD). Önal graduated from İstanbul University's department of advertising and public relations in the faculty of communication.

How will 5G factor into your mobile growth strategy in the coming years?
Once 5G is up and running, it will create a global platform encompassing the next generation and digital society. As the operator with the most extensive fiber infrastructure—i.e. 80% of the entire fiber network in Turkey—we will continue to be by the side of our customers and country every step of the 5G transition. One key area of focus for us will be providing a better customer experience and creating a sustainable subscriber gain across all our service channels, especially mobile. We already offer innovative, attractive packages and tariffs, especially on the mobile side in order to meet our customers' rapidly changing communication and technology needs. We are on the right path and became the fastest operator to increase its mobile subscriber market share in the past 12 years, from 15% to 28%. We are Turkey's number-one porting champion, with a net subscriber port of 7.4 million since 2008. This proves consumers appreciate the quality of service we provide. Going forward, we will continue to grow our digital products and services with our three main subsidiaries Innova, Argela, and Sebit and provide the highest quality of network and infrastructure.

How does Türk Telekom work with its subsidiary Argela to develop 5G capabilities?
At our Türk Telekom Innovation Centre and Argela 5G Centre of Excellence, we develop local products and technologies that create added value for the national economy and accelerate national development. This helps Turkey reach a position where it not only produces but also exports new technologies. With our network slicing smart software ProgRAN, developed by Argela and its Silicon Valley affiliate Netsia, we have raised our productivity to the highest level through our use of AI in the optimization of fixed and mobile networks. Most importantly, we have reached a position where we now deploy patented 5G products for leading global operators such as Telefonica, Verizon, and Orange, furthering our contribution toward the national economy. Adding onto the success of ProgRAN, Argela continues its work on 5G with products such as Virtualized Radio Access Network (VRAN) and Software Enabled Broadband Access (SEBA). VRAN provides a network-virtualizing feature, a highly important step on the journey to 5G, while SEBA provides the opportunity for configuration between different networks as well as compatibility between various devices. Moving forward, we will continue to develop flexible systems and next generation mobile communication technologies.

What investments has Türk Telekom made in cybersecurity?
We have built Turkey's largest cybersecurity center, successfully increasing the diversity of traditional and innovative cybersecurity services we provide. As a result, we have become Turkey's largest cybersecurity operator. Ensuring that Turkey's data remains in Turkey and is secure in the best possible way is one of the most valued responsibilities we have taken upon ourselves. In addition to providing cybersecurity to 500 of Turkey's largest companies as well as many private and public institutions, we are systematically preparing them for the switch to Industry 4.0.

What are Türk Telekom's most exciting plans and primary objectives over the next 12 months?
Digitalization and the proliferation of internet usage are key for Turkey to actualize the development leap it is aiming for. In order to realize this, we will continue to focus on extending the fiber infrastructure. We will strive to be the operator that carries out the most investments, provides the most advanced customer service, leads the digital transformation process, provides the highest-quality network and infrastructure, and develops the most innovative digital products and services. Türk Telekom will continue to work in line with Turkey's 2023 vision and be the driving force for its economy, so that Turkey can become self-sufficient in the ICT area.