Turkcell and Huawei Complete the World’s Leading 800G Trial on the Live Carrier Network

[Istanbul, Turkey, March 2, 2020] Turkcell announced that it has completed the World’s leading 800G WDM trial with Huawei out of China on a live Mobile Carrier network. This gives Turkcell a competitive edge in high speed transmission while also driving the evolution of this technology in 5G era.

Turkcell is Turkey’s integrated telecom operator, providing high-quality fixed and mobile communication services for more than 35.7 million subscribers in Turkey. Turkcell’s network traffic has been increasing by 35% year on year, and with the emergence of 5G, cloud computing, and Big Data, service traffic will triple in the next five years. In order to be ready for 5G, the construction of fiber infrastructures and evolution of equipment and technology must make strides to cope with the challenges of digital floods.

Turkcell has cooperated with Huawei to innovate ultra-high-speed transmission technologies and as a result successfully implemented 800G high-speed transmission between two data centers in Istanbul. This trial leverages Huawei’s latest ultra-high-speed service processing boards which supports the programmable and flexible adjustment of multiple modulation formats ranging from 200G to 800G. By using the industry’s unique second-generational channel-matched shaping (CMS) technology, the latest Faster than Nyquist (FTN) algorithm system and AI neuron function module, the system can monitor complex link environments on live networks in real time to quickly and automatically learn and optimize network transmission performance. This ensures optimal spectral efficiency and transmission performance while achieving the single-fiber capacity of 48 Tbit/s. The trial also confirmed the 400G ultra-long-haul transmission capacity of the live network, which can implement 1040 km of unregenerated transmission from Istanbul to Ankara.

Mr. Gediz Sezgin, CTO of Turkcell, said that, “We continue our infrastructure investments to strengthen our existing technology and prepare our networks for 5G for superior user experience. In 5G-era, virtual reality applications, autonomous driving, and smart cities will be mainstays in the digital area. These technologies will pave the way for generating large revenues and transform our lives at large. High-speed data-needs will be at their highest, and next- generation technologies such as remote surgery and robots will offer solutions to a wide variety of problems. We have been able to respond easily to rapidly increasing capacity needs through the 800G and 400G long-haul channels that we have deployed in our network. Turkcell will continue to lead the industry on new technologies in the future”.

Simon Lu, President of Huawei’s Transmission Network Domain, said: “We are happy to work with Turkcell and complete the 800G WDM trial on the live network, which cements Huawei’s leadership in the ultra-high-speed optical transmission field. Huawei will continue to maintain its strategic investment and innovation in high-speed optical transmission and provide high-quality, reliable, and evolvable solutions for customers around the globe.”


About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services – we are committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.

Huawei’s end-to-end portfolio of products, solutions and services are both competitive and secure. Through open collaboration with ecosystem partners, we create lasting value for our customers, working to empower people, enrich home life, and inspire innovation in organizations of all shapes and sizes.

At Huawei, innovation focuses on customer needs. We invest heavily in basic research, concentrating on technological breakthroughs that drive the world forward. We have more than 188,000 employees by the end of 2018, and we operate in more than 170 countries and regions. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.

For more information, please visit Huawei online at www.huawei.com or follow us on:






OpenRAN enthusiasm spreads to Turkey

Mavenir has announced Turkcell as its latest customer, with the pair planning to deploy OpenRAN vRAN technologies in the telcos domestic market.

As part of the agreement, Mavenir’s Virtual RAN solution will be deployed on Turkcell Telco Cloud and it will be first workload that will be going live on Turkcell Edge Cloud. Mavenir claims this vRAN architecture and platform can support 4G as well as both the NSA and SA implementations of 5G NR.

“At Turkcell, we have reached more than 60% virtualization in our mobile core network. We already take great advantage of what virtualization has to offer and are willing to extend the benefits of virtualization coupled with OpenRAN for the next step in Turkcell’s Radio Access Network evolution,” said Gediz Sezgin, Turkcell CTO.

“With its broad experience and expertise in RAN technologies and Network Virtualization, Turkcell will make great contribution for innovation on open vRAN towards 5G era. We are excited to take on and lead this journey.”

Turkcell becomes the latest in a string of companies seeking to drive forward with the OpenRAN technologies, though it is not entirely clear how scaled the deployment will be. There are of course interesting promises being made by the OpenRAN community, though few telcos would be prepared to invest comprehensively during these embryonic stages of development.

To understand where OpenRAN might gain the most traction it would probably be best to look at the regions with the lowest ARPU. Turkey is an interesting market, as according to data from Cable.co.uk, the average price of GB on mobile tariffs is as low as $2.25. This is certainly not as low as some other markets, though it starts to get tricky to drive ROI when data tariffs are below global averages.

The promise of OpenRAN is to commoditise the hardware components of the radio access network, which will allow hardware and software to be decoupled. This should, in theory, reduce the cost of radio deployment and remove any vendor lock-in threats which may still persist. This is an attractive idea for companies who need to rebalance the expenditure/profitability equation.

For the moment it is difficult to see what the long-term position of OpenRAN in the vendor mix will actually be. It is not resilient enough a technology just yet for scaled deployments, though some have suggested enthusiasm for trials is a stick to beat traditional vendors down on price.

In the markets where ROI is disastrously difficult to realise, OpenRAN will certainly play a role in the future, as it will probably in rural regions. Though it does remain to be seen how much of a dent OpenRAN will put into the fortunes of the traditional RAN vendors.

Red Hat gives thanks for Turkcell virtualization win

Turkish operator Turkcell has launched a virtualization platform called Unified Telco Cloud that’s based on Red Hat’s OpenStack Platform.

As the name implies this new platform is all about centralising all its services onto a single virtualized infrastructure. This NFVi then allows east selection and implementation of virtual network functions, or so the story goes. Examples of operators going all-in on this stuff are still sufficiently rare for this to be noteworthy.

As a consequence this deal win is also a big deal for Red Hat, which has invested heavily in attacking the telco virtualization market from an open source direction, as is its wont. Red Hat OpenStack Platform is its carrier-grade distribution of the open source hybrid cloud platform. Turkcell is also using Red Hat Ceph Storage, a software-defined storage technology designed for this sort of thing.

“Our goal is to remake Turkcell as a digital services provider, and our business ambitions are global,” said Gediz Sezgin, CTO of Turkcell. “While planning for upcoming 5G and edge computing evolution in our network, we need to increase vendor independence and horizontal scalability to help maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of our CAPEX investment.

“With the Unified Telco Cloud, we want to lower the barrier to entry of our own network to make it a breeding ground for innovation and competition. In parallel, we want to unify infrastructure and decrease operational costs. Red Hat seemed a natural choice of partner given its leadership in the OpenStack community, its interoperability and collaboration with the vendor ecosystem and its business transformation work with other operators.”

Another key partner for Turkcell in this was Affirmed Networks, which specialises in virtualized mobile networks. “We initially selected Affirmed Networks based on their innovation in the area of network transformation and virtualization and their work with some of the world’s largest operators,” said Sezgin.

It’s good to see some of the endlessly hyped promise of NFV actually being put into effect and it will be interesting to see what kind of ROI Turkcell claims to have got from its Unified Telco Cloud. With organisations such as the O-RAN Alliance apparently gathering momentum, open source could be a major theme of this year’s MWC too.

Operators must harness the value of data to profit from 5G

Q&A with Mustafa Aykut, Principal Advisor to BoD and CEO at Turkcell.

Where do you see 5G providing the greatest opportunities for operators?

5G is not just a communication technology. It should be considered the basis of digitalization of automotive, education, logistics, agriculture and health industries as well as Industry 4.0 transformation. Therefore, it is important that actors from all industries participate in 5G development efforts. Through long-term collaborations, we think that early adoption of 5G services will trigger a boost not only in technology but also in national economies.

In this new era, the most important power is “data”; it resembles the petroleum of 100 years ago. Just as extracted crude oil is worth 50-60 dollars and after processing it gains millions of dollars’ in value, data is measured in terms of GBs in its crude form. However, when we take this data and process it, we turn it into digital services such as music, TV, magazine, and messaging services. With Industry 4.0, processed data has become more valuable and digital services developed using this data consume even more space in our lives. We are now connected to the digital world 1440 minutes of the day. As the infrastructure and the principal component of this transformation, 5G stands as one of the main pillars of Industry 4.0.

5G will bring more speed and more data. Things and places will be getting smarter. As the speed will generate more data, people and things will interact more with each other and there will be vast opportunities for the operators to analyse data. AI based services and products will need major computing power to process big data volumes generated.

Enormous increases in the volume of data will force mobile providers to move faster than ever toward 5G, to be able to transmit data at very high speed and very low latency. The level of hyper-connectivity expected by users today leaves little option other than to move forward on the 5G path. If telecom companies think of themselves as service providers, they act in one way, but if they think of themselves as experience providers, designers or creators, they will think differently. We can create all these digital experiences, because we are licensed operators.

When it comes to analysing data, there will be vast opportunities for operators to analyse data and enhance the experience of consumers and businesses. Operators will be in the best position to add value and capture that value if they want to transform their business into an experience provider instead of simply being that service provider. They should be aware of their responsibility to accelerate transformation to the entire economy in this digital era.

Where is Turkcell on the road to 5G?

As Turkcell, all of the infrastructure investments we have made over the last 3 years are on carrier combining technologies, which are the backbone of 5G. When 5G standards are set, we will be able to use 5G quickly, along with the introduction of new frequencies, software and antenna updates in Turkey. We have also been involved in determining standards of 5G in the world from day one. Turkcell serves for standardization studies at various significant global institutions and organizations, for example ITU, 3GPP, GSMA, 5GPPP, NGMN, etc. We are coordinating and managing the 5G tests conducted worldwide under the NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks) framework. This has been a very encouraging process for us.

Turkcell’s strategy to lead the establishment of 5G standards which was realized over the past three years, combined with its strategic geographical location as a hub connecting Europe and Asia, is designed to place the carrier as a global leader at the center of 5G developments and the “Industry 4.0” era. Turkcell has forged strategic collaborations with leading national and international companies and universities to develop 5G technologies. It was the first operator to test the “Massive MIMO” technique, one of the major solutions to evolve 4.5G towards 5G, in Europe and Central Asia on a real network.

With 5G, we will offer 10 times the current speed. We will also ensure low levels of communication delays. The delays will be minimum 20 times lower than today. Operations which require instant decision-making in case of emergencies will be possible. Devices connected to the network will be used efficiently. 5G network will allow connection of 1 million devices per square kilometer. 5G will change all industries from education and urbanism to health and transport. Ways of doing business will change. What does Turkcell, world’s first digital operator, do? We did the first and fastest 5G tests in Turkey. Last year, we performed the first and fastest 5G tests. We achieved record speeds with approximately 71 Gbps. As of today, we are using 5G. We reach the best speed supported by today’s devices. During the tests we did in Mardin on April, we achieved 1.05 Gbps at our live network. The speed will increase as terminals which support better speeds are available. We are now waiting for better terminals to be launched.

How do LTE and LTE Advanced it into your current strategies?

On April 1st, we celebrated the second anniversary of 4.5G services in Turkey with a speed test over 1 Gbps through LTE-Advanced using three carriers aggregation technology. We achieved this speed for the first time on a live network, confirming required steps taken towards our readiness for 5G. Our efforts towards an ultra-high-speed broadband experience enhances our ongoing work to develop 5G use-cases with a wide range of ecosystem players, including universities and international institutions.

Turkcell’s strategy in building the 4.5G network included the facilitation of transition to 5G. Our current 4.5G network allows the use of basic 5G features increasing capacity, speed and machine communication. Turkcell’s current network is a high-end network offering the best speed and quality of mobile services. This creates many opportunities for all. There are 7 operators in the world which can offer a speed exceeding 1Gbps and Turkcell is one and pioneer of them.

What are your industry predictions for the rest of 2018?

Digital transformation becomes a must. 2018 will help many companies realize, digital transformation is not a hype. Disruption will continue to be a common occurrence and the companies unable or unprepared for these changes will quickly fail to the bottom of the pack.

5G. One of the most anticipated mobile technology platforms, 5G will be the connective tissue for the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, robotics and mobile media in telecom sector. As the increase in the volume of data produced by IoT forces data to be on the cloud and edge, it will also force mobile providers to move faster than ever – toward 5G. The level of hyper-connectivity expected by users today leaves little room not to move forward on the 5G path.

So much power remains in AI. In everything from customer service to marketing, from robotic to analytics, AI is in everywhere and soon to be an old news. Companies will continue to use AI to surprise, connect, and communicate with their customers in ways they may not even appreciate or realize.

What is your key message at 5G World this year?

At Turkcell, we’ve been transforming the way we do our business in these last years, and it all started with a change in mind-set. The mind-set is transforming the way we approach the business from being a technology-focused telecommunications service provider to service-focused experience provider. At the end of the day, customers do experience things at home, in the office, on the street, on the go, in the cab, etc. It is all about operators creating those experiences, enabling and enhances those experiences and making them more memorable and richer experiences.

The telecom industry has been failing to recognize the fact that it is all about the experience. If telecom companies think of themselves as a service provider they act in one way, but if they think of themselves as an experience provider, designer/creator provider, they do so in a different way. We can create these digital experiences; because we’re licensed operators. Increasing demand for more data and increasing demand for consuming data are big opportunities, as opposed to something that we should be complaining about. We should focus on the experiences, creating the experiences, using and employing all the digital technologies that we have available to us today over mobility; but use them in such a way that over-the-top service providers can’t match because we differentiate them in a way only licensed operators can.

We have the infrastructure and spectrum, and we can do credit scoring and monitoring – we can do much more than over-the-top players can do. Therefore; with the power of 5G, we can easily transform the way we do our businesses.


Mustafa AykutDr. Mustafa Aykut joined Turkcell in January 2016 as the Principal Advisor to the Board of Directors and CEO. He contributes to the technological, regulatory and strategic works at the company. Prior to this, he was the International Affairs and Policy Co-ordinator at Turk Telekom Group from 2008 till 2015.

Join Mustafa Aykut at 5G World 2018, where he will deliver a presentation on How Turkcell has transformed to become “A digital operator” as well as taking part in a panel on Demystifying 4G in a 5G World.