Turkish wireless operator Turkcell says it has succeeded in transforming its value proposition -- from a voice provider to a digital services operator -- and now it's looking to share its digital success with other operators across the globe.
Speaking to Reuters from Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, Turkcell CEO Kaan Terzioglu said that the carrier was able to hit its digital transformation performance targets a year early with a suite of over-the-top subscription services launched by its digital division Lifecell. The platform consists of nine apps, including a social messaging app BiP that is similar to WhatsApp, fizy for music and TV+ for video streaming. Terzioglu says they have been downloaded more than 80 million times by over half of Turkcell's customers. He tells Reuters that fizy is three times as popular as Spotify in Turkey.
Terzioglu attributes the company's digital success to its investments in LTE for high-speed services and bundling its fizy app for free into Turkcell subscriber packages. For subscribers, there's no charge for data use, while for non-subscribers, the app is free but a subscription is charged after the first month of use.
Buoyed by its success at home, Turkcell is looking to partner with operators from across the globe to market its Lifecell apps to their customers as well.
“We can only compete with OTTs that have reached billions of users in the world by combining the capabilities of telecom operators and OTT," Terzioglu said in a release on the news. "With the transformation we initiated in 2015, we have not only combined our mobile and fixed infrastructures but also added our services developed by bringing together telecom and OTT capabilities."
Those services include BiP, fizy, Dergilik, Lifebox, My Account, Paycell, Upcall and RTM. Terzioglu says they boost ARPU and customer loyalty, noting, "Currently, we are adding an extra 63 minutes of communication with TV+, 46 minutes with BiP, 24 minutes with fizy, and 27 minutes with our publishing platform Dergilik to the 31-minute call time of our customers. Additionally, our customers conduct millions of transactions every day on our services, such as My Account and Paycell."
— Sarah Thomas, Contributing Editor, Telco Transformation