At the 2019 Mobile World Congress (MWC), held recently in Barcelona, ERTICO had the pleasure to share a stand with Turkish mobile operator Turkcell. ERTICO was there to promote the EC funded project 5G MOBIX, in whose consortium Turkcell is a partner. As part of ERTICO’s campaign #womenonthemove2019, we caught up with three very dynamic ladies from the company: Elif Yenihan Kaya, Gulay Yardim and Nazli Guney, all highly qualified engineers, who are pushing boundaries and changing perceptions in the Turkish telecoms industry.

At MWC, Turkcell’s CEO, Kaan Terzioglu, stressed how the country’s late arrival into 4G, gave it a strategic position and experience to be ready for the advent of 5G. He talked very openly about how the company has been taking an active part in research with universities and tests with vendors, in anticipation of the 5G revolution. For the very first time, the company is also investing time and resources into EC projects. And these three ladies Elif Yenihan Kaya, Gulay Yardim and Nazli Guney are all part of Turkcell’s drive towards 5G and the reason for Turkcell’s investment in 5G MOBIX.

Director for Network Technologies and Access Network Capabilities, Elif Yenihan Kaya says:  ‘It is Turkcell’s singular mission and vision to be top of our game and a leader in the telecommunications industry.’ She stressed the importance of projects such as 5G MOBIX as a way to invest in research and as a catalyst for knowledge gain.  5G MOBIX is well placed as it is a project that examines the implications of 5G and its role in the future of autonomous driving particularly focused on cross border use cases.  These women are pioneers for the 5G research team within Turkcell that prioritises 5G and its future development.

Elif noted that she is proud as a woman to have such a role in this area of innovation and in the industry. She admitted that when she was in education there were only 10% of university female students in her subject of telecommunications. Elif stressed though women have the ‘grit’ to be successful in technology. She also noted that ‘Since I joined the company, Turkcell has always been non-discriminatory and as women we have always been encouraged to progress our careers and pursue our goals. In my 21 years in the company, I have always felt employee empowerment regardless of gender.’

Gulay Yardim, Head of Radio Network and 5G research development also added ‘I think the lack of women in telecommunications and this industry is not due to a lack in the framework that exists in education or lack of encouragement, but because in general it is a topic that not so many women are interested in. This alone does not help to promote the presence of women in this industry. I am really hoping that we can inspire other women to make a difference and that women at the beginning of their careers will see us as role models. Perhaps they will then be motivated to consider telecommunications as a career.’

Turkcell appointed Nazli Guney to be an integral part of the 5G R&D team. Equipped with several degrees and a PHD qualification, she says ‘I believe women have so much to offer this industry. As women we are flexible, we are intuitive and we are creative in the way we consider problems. In the future Turkcell will have other research projects: 5G MOBIX is just the start and I am very excited about my career’.

The 5G-MOBIX consortium gathers partners from the telecom, automotive and IT & services industries  and is part of the European Commission’s 5G Public Private Partnership, which is a joint initiative between the European Commission and the European ICT industry.