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Turkey’s 4G tender gets bad reception from Erdogan

The Turkish president’s interference in establishing a 4G network in Turkey could harm the country's prospects for future technological developments.
People speak on their mobile phones next to a banner of Istanbul Film Festival at the entrance of Atlas movie theatre in Istanbul April 14, 2015. Nearly two dozen filmmakers and a group of international critics have pulled out of the Istanbul Film Festival after the government prevented the screening of a film about Kurdish militants, in the latest outcry over censorship in Turkey. At least 22 films from the roughly 200 submitted were withdrawn this week and the festival competition cancelled, according to

Turkey currently uses the 3G, or third-generation, mobile communications network, but last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that his country does not need to upgrade to the 4G system. Instead, Erdogan said, Turkey should leap forward to the more advanced 5G network in two years. The problem is, nobody knows exactly what 5G would entail — the technology does not exist.

Turkey is already late to the 4G party. The newest mobile Internet communications system has been spreading around the world since 2008. If all goes according to plan, Turkey’s Information and Communications Technologies Authority will distribute the 4G licenses to the highest bidders on Aug. 26. This date comes after the Transport and Communications Ministry announced May 15 that the 4G tenders would again be delayed by three months to spend more time on preparations. It would take at least another year before a critical mass of 4G mobile towers show up around the country. All told, Turkey would have taken nearly eight years to establish its 4G infrastructure.

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