(AA) – People in Turkey have spent more than 35.5 billion Turkish liras ($13.3 billion) on telecommunications last year, up from 32.2 billion Turkish liras ($12.2 billion) in 2013, a report released by Turkey’s Information and Communications Technologies Authority on Friday showed.
Over 80 percent of the amount spent went to Turkey’s top four telecommunication companies, the report said.
The revenue of the four leading telecommunications companies — landline provider Turk Telekom and mobile networks providers Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea — jumped 8.6 percent on an annual basis, to 28.1 billion Turkish liras ($10.1 billion) from 25.9 billion lira in 2013. Their net sales reached 7.4 billion Turkish liras ($2.9 billion) last year, an increase of 16 percent compared with the previous year.
In the same period, these same companies also invested more than 4.1 billion Turkish lira ($1.6 billion), up by 9 percent compare with 2013.
According to the report, the number of mobile phone subscribers has increased to nearly 72 million in 2014 from 69.6 million in 2013, including more than 57 million 3G subscribers. Overall mobile penetration rate stood at 93.8 percent in 2014.
– Turkey’s local production increases
Turkey’s mobile phone imports slightly decreased by 0.57 percent in 2014, according to the Communication Authority.
Turkey imported 14.6 million mobile devices in 2014, down from 15.8 million mobile devices in 2013. In 2012 the country had imported 13.2 million mobile phones. All the imports are from China, Vietnam, South Korea or Taiwan in 2014.
Local production increased by 208 percent last year to nearly 1.1 million mobile devices from 346,746 in 2013. The country’s local producers want the government to impose emergency import tariffs on mobile phones to boost local production. The country already imposes strict controls on mobile phones imported by individuals, blocking handsets after 20 days in the country from using a local Turkish SIM unless they are registered and a tax paid.
Half of imported phones in Turkey are smartphones. The cost of these imports was estimated to be around 10 billion Turkish liras ($3.8 billion) in 2013.
Experts estimate that the impact of mobile phone imports, boosted by the rising demand for smartphones, had added almost $5 billion to Turkey’s current account deficit in 2013.
Turkish and foreign visitors have brought 612,913 mobile phones to Turkey in last year, down from 1.08 million in 2013. Visitors (including Turkish citizens who visit other countries) are entitled to bring one mobile phone into Turkey within two calendar years.