Turkey delays 4G auctions after President suggests skipping to 5G

Turkey has pushed back its 4G auctions following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggesting that the country should leapfrog straight from 3G to 5G.

The Ministry of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications has pushed the auctions back to August 26th, three months behind the date originally scheduled by the Information and Communication Technologies Agency.

With commercial 4G services unavailable in Turkey, President Erdogan opined that “it is not necessary to waste time with 4G technologies”, adding that the country would be treated as a “garbage dump” for 4G equipment.

Erdogan went on to claim that Turkey could be launching 5G services in around two years’ time, despite the fact that 5G standards have not yet been defined. The industry broadly agrees that any commercial 5G services will not be feasible until around 2020.

The delay may therefore be in deference to the President’s remarks. However there is no indication yet that the auctions, which cover 800MHz frequencies, will indeed be cancelled. Turkish operators have expressed support for both 4G and 5G services, suggesting that they would not be keen to see the auctions shelved.

Customs and Trade Minister Nurettin Canikli said: “The president’s remarks were meant to be instructions. He is the semi-executive president, and the head of the executive branch. We should pay attention to what he says.”

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