The local Telsim announced in late October the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the US’ Motorola for the expansion of it’s third generation (3G) mobile phone network. The contract, which is estimated to be worth up to $2,000 million, is for the supply and installation of a universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS) network.

The MoU agreement also named Motorola as the main regional supplier for all 900-MHz global system for mobiles (GSM) equipment over the next three years.

UMTS will enable Telsim to provide multimedia services to the mass market. The new system will initially be brought on line in the Ankara and Istanbul regions. Motorola plans to sign the contract before the end of the year, with work expected to begin in early 2001.

Telsim is the smallest of the country’s three cellular phone network operators.

Turkcell and Turk Telekom are also investing heavily in developing the network. In February, Turkcell awarded an $850 million contract to Sweden’s Ericsson for infrastructure equipment (MEED 18:2:00).

Turk Telekom also plans to award a large GSM network contract in November. The contract is estimated to be worth $500 million, say industry sources. Bidders include Ericsson, Finland’s Nokia, France’s Alcatel, Germany’s Siemens and the local Netas (MEED 29:9:00).