Leading the way in 5G

GTB Editor
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In partnership with the global telecoms industry, Türk Telekom is playing a leading role in the development of the 5G technologies that will transform the way we live and do business. Hakan Dursun, Türk Telekom marketing assistant general manager, anticipates an exciting future

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Türk Telekom has said that the development of 5G technologies is a strategic priority for the company. What investments has it been making in 5G?

The goal of the regulatory body in Turkey is to launch 5G at the same time as the whole world. As the company responsible for the communications backbone of the country, we are making all necessary preparations and working non-stop in this direction. 

We are the largest operator in Turkey and the leading integrated operator in the region. We have subsidiaries, that bring the power of innovation to our group, and through them we are actively providing our users with products and services featuring state-of-the-art technology.

The aim is to build a smart future where people are happier and more productive. With 5G, we are opening a door to a new way of living where both devices and people are super-connected to each other. 

We want to help position Turkey as a regional digital centre. We have subsea cables connecting Turkey to many other countries.

Q. Can you please describe Türk Telekom’s 5G Center of Excellence and explain its role?

Our main goal in establishing the 5G Center of Excellence was to make Turkey a technology producer rather than just a consumer. In line with this vision, our centre will also host the development of domestic 5G technologies and the technologies that Turkey will need in its transition to 5G.

A demo centre and laboratory has been created in the centre where R&D work is carried out to develop national technologies. In addition, an environment is provided where these technologies can be demonstrated on real systems. Another important role of the centre is to take part in 5G business partnerships in the international arena. 

Q. When they launch, what impact will 5G services have on the lives of Türk Telekom’s customers? What changes will it mean in their daily lives?

Devices will be more connected to people with 5G. Virtual and augmented reality technologies will take more of a place in our lives. Our customers will be able to use all kinds of data download and online streaming services, at greater speeds than is now possible. New consumer and business experiences will emerge that use a wide range of high-resolution 4K-8K video.

Also, with faster data flow, more device connectivity will emerge and greater energy savings will be possible. Latency will be less than 10ms. This means that applications like smart homes and smart vehicles will become part of everyday life.

Q. What sort of 5G-related projects are you working on?

We are working to develop 5G technology through subsidiary Argela, with its exclusive focus on research and development. We are contributing to the development of 5G technologies worldwide with 28 patent applications that have been submitted by Argela to the US Trademark and Patent Office. 

These patents include work to develop programmable radio access network architecture in the form of ProgRAN, one of the essentials of 5G networking. ProgRAN allows operators to dynamically generate virtual network segments in line with their needs at existing built-in base stations. With the flexible and customisable 5G model offered by ProgRAN, for example, a surgeon from Istanbul will be able to participate in an operation in London, or anywhere in the world. 

We have also developed the MILAT project for the secure connectivity of public institutions. One of the most important threats that has emerged with the development of technology in recent years is cyber security. That’s the field we are focussing on with MILAT.

Clear5G is a project that we are a key part of through Argela. It has received the support of HORIZON 2020, the European Commission’s civilian research and innovation programme. With Clear5G, latency in data transmission at the in-plant automation site will be reduced to less than one millisecond.

Through Argela, we are sharing our projects with various 5G stakeholders around the world. It’s about joint collaboration, not individual success.

Q. What other innovations has Türk Telekom been working on? Has it invested in M2M and IoT?

As Türk Telekom, we have been working on the Internet of Things and M2M for a long time. We have already offered many advanced technology services in these fields. We use M2M and IoT in areas such as smart cities and digital health solutions.

Our most important goal is, through M2M and IoT technologies, to make life easier for users in all areas of life and to provide time and cost savings to businesses. We’re developing next generation cities, vehicle control and safe motorcycle solutions, as well as vehicle tracking and fleet management and electricity disruption detection systems. 

Q. What ‘smart city’ plans exist in Turkey? What has been the company’s role in their development? 

As Turkey’s leading communication and entertainment technologies company, Türk Telekom has the aim of making cities better for people to live in, while also building a future where people and institutions are happier and more productive. We understand the needs of our country, our cities and our people, and can offer integrated solutions exclusively to meet the needs of every region. 

This new generation of cities needs very high network speeds and lots of network capacity. This speed and capacity requirement can be met seamlessly with LTE, which is used at the moment, and 5G technology, which is in the pipeline. For all these technologies, fibre is a must. We have the ability to meet all needs with our fibre infrastructure in Turkey’s 81 provinces. The next generation cities of Turkey will depend on Türk Telekom’s fibre infrastructure.

Q. What benefits will smart cities mean for citizens?

Smart city solutions offer significant benefits in the areas of security, efficiency, economics, environmental awareness and a high standard of living. They will facilitate municipal life with smart stations, car parks and crossroads, as well as lighting, irrigation, waste collection, recycling and health solutions. Türk Telekom is offering a more comfortable life for individuals and also allowing municipalities to make substantial savings in essential costs.

Within the scope of the smart city project, we are facilitating efficient traffic management with informative services for traffic density, intersections and parking lots. Shortening the time spent on transportation also plays an important role in fuel saving. With in-car internet provided in vehicles and public transport, users can enjoy the convenience of high-speed connectivity anywhere.

Nearly 710,000 people have benefited so far from wireless communication technologies implemented by Türk Telekom in Karaman and Antalya. In addition, more than 420,000 GB of data transfer has been realised over wireless communications in these two cities so far. Water and electricity usage has been reduced by nearly 29% in these places as they transform into smarter cities. 

Q. What else lies in Türk Telekom’s vision of the future? 

5G technology will open the doors of an autonomous world, providing for a faster, more high-capacity smart life. Today, nearly four million machines are in communication with each other in Turkey, and by 2020 this will be approximately eight million machines that are able to talk via the internet.

When 5G technology enters to our lives, many innovations that we dream of today such as real-time gaming experiences, unmanned vehicles and the tactile internet will come true. 

The tactile internet will offer a communication tool that can appeal to all five senses. 

With the spread of 5G technology, we’ll see autonomous devices, artificial intelligence and robots that come close to replicating the functioning of the human brain. Instantaneous holographic communications will emerge. Robots will perform data analysis with almost zero delay time. They will be able to make their own decisions based on large data pools, processing data instantly and sharing customised logical responses.

As the telecommunications operator that connects Turkey’s 81 provinces to each other, we will continue to invest in Turkey’s communications backbone so that our people can benefit from the innovative opportunities offered by 5G. In this regard, we not only connect our country, but also the world through the consortiums that we take part in. 

5G standards are still in the process of being established and work continues all over the world. We are working to set global standards for 5G technology. Our work has attracted international attention. Türk Telekom has become Turkey’s most valuable brand for the eigth time.

At Türk Telekom, all our activities are based on developing the most advanced technologies and strengthening the next-generation of technology infrastructure that our country needs. []