Turkey delays 4G tender after Erdogan confusion

Erdogan sowed confusion by saying the country should skip straight to 5G technology

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Turkey has delayed its planned tender for 4G mobile technology licenses, reports said Saturday, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sowed confusion by saying the country should skip straight to 5G technology.

The transport and telecommunications ministry has decided to postpone the tender auction for fourth generation mobile technology licenses by three months, the Hurriyet and Milliyet dailies said.

Instead of the planned date of May 26, the tender will now take place on August 26, the dailies cited the ministry as saying.

The surprise decision comes after Erdogan on April 21 suggested that that Turkey -- whose mobile phone consumers are still only using 3G technology -- could skip 4G entirely and "jump" to 5G.

"If we wait two more years, then 5G is going to come along. Otherwise when Turkey gets 4G it will just get put on the rubbish heap," said Erdogan.

Industry experts have cast doubt on Erdogan's comments, saying that it risked being far more than two years before 5G technology arrived in the country, especially given its delay in embracing 4G.

Former transport and communications minister Lutfi Elvan, still hugely influential in the sector, told state television Saturday that the authorities would in fact offer 4G and 5G licenses in the same auction.

He said rather than 4G, licenses would be offered for a more advanced "4.5G" license which could then be converted to 5G technology.

The authorities led by Erdogan have been sharply criticized by opponents for lagging behind in using 4G technology, which was rolled out in other developed and emerging nations several years ago.

According to Turkish media, 20 frequency segments are to be auctioned in a tender worth a minimum total volume of 2.3 billion euros ($2.6 billion).

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