Schema, which specialises in network optimisation software solutions, announced that it has signed a licence agreement whereby Avea will deploy Schema's GSM Forté. This is an automatic RF optimisation solution intended to optimise the planning of network frequencies in Turkey's major cities in order to increase network capacity and improve quality of service. Once these major Turkey cities have seen the implementation of the solution, there will be an expansion into Turkey's rural areas.
The deal marks the first phase in Schema's relationship with Avea, and reflects the company's further expansion into Europe. Previous customers include Russia's VimpelCom. GSM Forté is described by Schema as a user-friendly RF optimisation product based on mobile measurements, the most accurate and reliable source of information for network modelling on the market. It also, in the company's opinion, enables operators to improve and maintain top network performance while increasing user satisfaction. This is achieved by significantly improving voice and data quality, as well as network coverage and capacity.
These improvements enable operators to utilise existing infrastructure and increase network revenue by avoiding unnecessary and costly investments, while reducing the overhead needed to manage voice and data services on GSM networks.
Developing Telecoms invited Avshalom Ben Zoor, Schema's VP of Marketing, to look ahead. He divided Schema's strategy into two - the emerging markets, including Turkey but dominated by China, India, Russia and Brazil, and the developed markets such as Western Europe. Schema solutions are deployed and benchmarked by wireless operators including Telefonica, Hutch India, VimpelCom, and Claro Brazil.
Turning to Turkey in particular, Mr Ben Zoor was happy with the time-scale for contracts in Turkey - it was natural to take 6-12 months to get underway. For a cellular operator, too, there was the growing percentage of customers who preferred pre-paid to post-paid and who had been made aware of the opportunities within a cellular framework - less churn had materialised.
For Mr Ben Zoor, the challenges had come from a previous failure of Turkish telecoms to exploit existing network quality to its optimum. In comparison with Eastern European countries, the Turkish technological environment was running behind, less ready to accept new technology. Turkey had to make use of more automated tools and products. It also had to utilise its networks better. There was too much manual input - bad for operator and customer alike.
Finally, a note of concern from Mr Ben Zoor regarding 3G - he was not aware at present of any key applications for 3G. Turkey would take time to rollout 3G - for the time being she was a 'follower' although 2.5G was in place.
* Avea is believed to be Turkey's fast growing mobile communications company, with a customer base of approximately 7 million (17% of the total market). Avea TT&TIM Iletisim Hizmetleri AS was officially founded in 2004 with the merger of Turk Telekom's GSM operator Aycell and Is-TIM, joint venture of Is Bank (51%) and TIM (41%).