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Nokia Signs Its Largest-Ever Deal

[June 12] Nokia Networks has signed what it says is its largest-ever deal, a three-year agreement with Turkish mobile operator Telsim for GSM expansion worth $900 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Nokia will upgrade Telsim's GSM 900 mobile network, adding switching equipment, base stations, radio transmission, and other features to enhance services for another 1.5 million prepaid customers. Telsim already has 3 million subscribers, of which 1.2 million have been added in the last two months as a result of intensive marketing.

Enver Ibek, vice president at Telsim, said his company expected rapid growth in both voice and data services, and was on its way to becoming the leading GSM operator in Turkey.

Pertti Melamies, area vice president, Nokia Networks, estimated that the number of mobile subscribers in Turkey will exceed 15 million by 2001.

"Nokia's infrastructure, services and delivery capabilities combined with unique industry leading solutions can support current and next generation technologies in various combinations," said Melamies.

Nokia is no stranger to the Turkish market, having first penetrated it back in 1963. Its relationship with Telsim dates from 1994, the year the Turkish company was formed.

The latest deal calls for a full range of services, including construction, project management, network implementation, systems integration, and support and training. Nokia will also use its NMS/2000 Network Management System on the project.

Telsim operates its GSM network in more than 79 provinces and 1,000 populated areas in Turkey. It provides several value added services such as voice messaging, fax/data and a short message service.