Cheaper and faster broadband are only a few of the promises made by the recently privatised Turk Telecom.

Following the privatisation last year of Turk Telekom, the company has announced that it will be living up to its pledges to introduce new developments to customers in its quest to offer a fair and competitive service.

TT Voice Message, TT Family Card and TT SMS, will allow customers to simply add a special box to their existing phones to receive voice messages either from other fixed phones, text messaging or email; the Family Card will allow all members of the family to carry a card for use in public phone boxes, with charges going to the fixed line account; and TT SMS will allow fixed phone lines to send text messages to other fixed lines, mobile phones, email accounts and fax phones.  

A standard Voice Message box will apparently be supplied free if requested and will be able to hold up to 10 messages, but high personal users and businesses can opt for a message service offering greater capacity for a nominal charge.

Over 85% of the national public telephone boxes are expected to be able to accept the new Family Card, which can be used for long or short distance calls as well as calls to mobile phones and overseas. It is expected to be popular, particularly with students away at University and with members of the Armed Forces. The fixed phone to fixed phone text messaging price has been set at 0.049YTL, but prices for texts to mobiles, email accounts, etc., has not yet been announced.
CEO for Turk Telekom, Paul Doany, said ‘It is important for our customers to be able to freely select price and service options’ and he further stated that the company has plans to improve internet service provision, ‘we want to increase the speed of ADSL, to offer connections twice as fast with the same or lower price. We are waiting for the approval from the Telecommunications Board and we may be able to announce tariff changes in the coming weeks.’

A 55% share of Turk Telekom, which has become an important symbol of Turkey’s plans to increase privatisation, was sold last year to the Saudi Arabian Oger Telecom organisation, working in consortium with Telecom Italia and British Telecom.

Turk Telekom has approximately 19 million subscribers and is the 13th largest telecom company in the world. The Turkish government had tried seven times over the last decade to privatise the company, but previous attempts usually failed due to union intervention. However, at the time of the sale last summer, the CEO of Oger Telecom, Muhammad Hariri gave assurances than none of the 56,000 jobs would be cut.