The Business Year

Search
Close this search box.
Semih İncedayı

TURKEY - Telecoms & IT

Eureka Moments

General Manager, Turkcell Technology

Bio

Semih İncedayı joined Turkcell in December 2006, and joined Turkcell Technology in April 2007. He graduated from Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (METU) with a degree in Computer Engineering, and began his professional career at Koç Group, before moving to Telsim after a decade, and later to Borusan Telekom. He is currently the General Manager at Turkcell Technology.

"When I joined Turkcell at the end of 2006, my aim was to start Turkcell Technology as a branch company focused on R&D."

What is Turkcell Technology’s R&D capability?

When I joined Turkcell at the end of 2006, my aim was to start Turkcell Technology as a branch company focused on R&D. In 2007, we consolidated many different departments involved with R&D, with the vision of developing a single R&D department. We started with approximately 40 employees, but over the past five years we have reached more than 400. Since the beginning, we have invested in specific areas of research. For example, we heavily invest in SIM technology, as the SIM card is a mobile operator’s only asset in the customer’s pocket. We are also developing mobile marketing solutions. We are designing, executing, managing, and monitoring our campaigns with these tools, which saves us the operational and intellectual effort needed to govern a vast amount of customized offerings. Mobile internet usage is growing, and we want to grow our mobile internet business. In this respect, smartphones and related technologies are within our focus area. Our current target is to upgrade every mobile user in Turkey to a smartphone. To achieve this goal, we are introducing Turkcell-branded new smart handsets to the market at price ranges realistic for the Turkish mobile subscriber base. Furthermore, we offer many value-added services, such as rich voice and communication services. Our R&D teams will continue to develop these profitable value-added services in 2012. We are reinvesting the incentives we obtain from R&D back into R&D. Our Applied Research Division has been founded to conduct research in newly developing technologies with the aim of giving Turkcell a competitive edge through the development of products and services that fit Turkcell Group’s needs and business models.

What have been your most successful value-added services?

We have a very simple value-added service that I can give as an example. When somebody calls you while your phone is out of reach, Turkcell will send you a missed call notification in the form of an SMS. When you see the notification, you’ll call the person back—and this is one way in which we have increased the volume of calls. But we have more complex and innovative services as well. For example, if you receive a second call while you are talking on your mobile, you can now spontaneously see who is calling and choose to finish your current call to take the second one. Another huge initiative is the introduction of mobile financial services, which we have recently added to our portfolio. There are 20 million unbanked people in Turkey, and we target those who are obliged to make financial transactions, even if they don’t have a bank account. Moreover, if you want to transfer money at the weekend, all you need is the recipient’s phone number to easily transfer funds.

“When I joined Turkcell at the end of 2006, my aim was to start Turkcell Technology as a branch company focused on R&D.”

How do you keep mobile financial services secure?

We have different levels of security. On our Mobile Financial Services solution, financial and non-financial transactions triggered by the SIM menu in the SIM card and each message transmitted are encrypted with SIM keys that are known only to the mobile network operator. In addition, the client SIM application does not keep any real financial information; no real card number, no card pin, and no password. All transactions are done using the mobile phone number or the aliases defined in the application and the Mobile Payment Gateway by MasterCard. The recipients will only be able to claim the transfer if they know the exact amount transferred and the name of the person who sent the money. The recipient can go to an ATM and enter the telephone number and password. If the recipient is also a mobile financial services user, he can directly withdraw the money with his defined card.

Which banks have you partnered with?

We are currently operating this service in partnership with Garanti Bank and Akbank. Yet, eventually, every large bank will be a part of our system. Although we are targeting the non-banking sector of the market, we need the support of banks, too. In addition, we are partnering with other banks such as Denizbank, Vakıf Bank, İş Bank, and Bank Asya to provide our customers with a wider variety of mobile financial services from contactless payment to payment for highway tolls. It’s like a “mobile wallet” that uses Near Field Technology (NFC). Our customers carry cards that allow them to pay just by touching the card to a POS device. For financial transactions, there is a security algorithm, generally defined by MasterCard or Visa. We have moved these security requirements to the mobile phone, in partnership with MasterCard.

What are Turkcell Technology’s regional expansion plans?

Currently, Turkcell is the third largest operator in Europe in terms of number of subscribers, and we firmly believe that we can be a model for every other operator in the world. We strategically offer our creative services and technology to other companies. We have used our campaign management system throughout the region, and it has been successful in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Kuwait. The first step is to cover the local market, and develop products exclusively for Turkcell. The next steps are to offer our products to our shareholder TeliaSonera, and our customers in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. In 2011, we exported a number of services to Zain Kuwait, one of the leading telecommunications companies in the Middle East.

What role does Turkcell Technology play in encouraging young entrepreneurs?

We are putting a lot of effort into our universities. We offer third-year students internships and part-time work opportunities. During that period, we also encourage them to work on projects that they can apply to their studies. These students develop our projects with their academic knowledge. We also award 50 Master’s degree scholarships to students working with us. We invest in our country’s young people, whether they establish their own companies or work with Turkcell in the future.

© The Business Year – March 2012

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

You may also be interested in...

Uğur Genç

TURKEY - Health & Education

Uğur Genç

Interview

CEO, Memorial Healthcare Group

Zeynep Harezi

TURKEY - Industry

Zeynep Harezi

Interview

Chief Commercial Officer, Karpowership

Erhan Binici

TURKEY - Telecoms & IT

Erhan Binici

Interview

Founder, Ankaref

View All interviews

Countries

Countries

Become a sponsor