The local Turkcell has awarded a contract to Sweden’s Ericsson for the supply of equipment valued at $60 million for the next stage of the Turkish company’s expansion of its global standard for mobiles (GSM) network. Installation starts in mid-February for completion by mid-May, a Turkcell official says.

The order forms part of Turkcell’s ongoing investment programme in response to the soaring demand for GSM telephones in Turkey, and is being financed through the London Forfaiting Company. Turkcell expects to increase its subscribers to around 500,000 by end-1995 from around 243,000 at present.

A contract for the next stage of the investment will be awarded in May. This will be negotiated first again with Ericsson, but if its prices or other conditions prove unacceptable, Turkcell will invite other offers, the official says.

The size of the next stage will also depend on the course of current negotiations for an operating licence between Turkcell and state Turk Telekomunikasyon (Turk Telecom) with the government’s Privatisation Administration. If the negotiations are successful, the next order will be around the size of the present one. However, it will be smaller if Turkcell has to continue with its present revenue-sharing agreement with Turk Telecom, the official says.