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Turkcell to Start Mobile Wallet Trials - Chairman Worried About Shareholding

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Turkey's Turkcell is planning to launch a Mobile Wallet service before the end of next year, said Altu Acar, Turkcell's head of business development.

"We are currently working on a new system that will transfer the functions of credit cards along with an integrated municipal toll and transit application," he told Today's Zaman, noting that the system has passed the tests so far. 

"If a user loses their smart card or if it is stolen, then they will easily be able to cancel their accounts and open a new one via our call centers," he added. As for the new cell phones that will use the Mobile Wallet system, Acar said they have been conducting infrastructure studies to design a new generation of phones.

In related news, Turkcell's Chairman Mehmet Emin Karamehmet has warned that his shareholding in the company has fallen to a "critical level" which could result in a change of ownership control. His Cukurova Group owns about 14 percent of Turkcell after recent sales of shares to fund debt repayments.

TeliaSonera has been in a long legal fight with Cukurova over control of Turkcell. In January 2007, the International Chamber of Commerce issued an award finding that a binding share purchase agreement was concluded between TeliaSonera and Cukurova in 2005, calling for Cukurova to sell all its shares in Turkcell Holding to TeliaSonera. The award results from an arbitration proceeding in Geneva that TeliaSonera commenced in May 2005 against Cukurova, after Cukurova withdrew from the transaction and entered into another transaction with Russia's Alfa.

As at last July, Turkcell's shareholder structure was as follows: 51% held by Turkcell Holding, 4.15% by Cukurova Holding, 13.07% by Sonera Holding, 2.32% by MV Holding and the free float is 29.38%. Cukurova Group controls the company despite holding only 18% of the share capital, due to a complicated shareholding/voting structure.

TeliaSonera owns 47 percent of the shares in Turkcell Holding. TeliaSonera also owns 13 percent of the shares in Turkcell, giving TeliaSonera a direct and indirect ownership of 37 percent in Turkcell.

On the web: Today's Zaman - Hurriyet

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Tags: turkcell  sonera  cukurova  alfa  smart  smart card  cukurova  planning  mobile wallet  international chamber of commerce  geneva