Ref: IMD-7-2025

Case study

Reference: IMD-7-2025

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Turkcell (B): From a telecom network operator to a customer experience provider

Tawfik Jelassi

By Professor Tawfik JelassiTawfik Jelassi and Pallivathukkal Cherian Abraham

Kaan Terzioglu, Turkcell’s CEO, and his top team had spent Capital Markets Day with global investment analysts celebrating the firm’s achievements.

Over the last three years, the company had transformed itself from a network operator selling undifferentiated data and voice services in Turkey into an experience provider that offered messaging, music, TV, search and other services to its customers.

This had culminated in the launch of its Lifecell digital brand in Turkey in September 2017. This had turbocharged its revenue growth, which reached 23% in 2017. While there was room for Turkcell to grow its core consumer business in Turkey, it would also rely on opportunities in digital services, the corporate market and in new business areas including energy, finance, healthcare and automotive to sustain future growth. Turkcell had rationalized its international portfolio, taken steps to make its subsidiaries in Ukraine, Belarus and Northern Cyprus financially stable and was moving forward with the same digital operator strategy as in Turkey.

The company planned to grow internationally by franchising the digital operator model it had pioneered in Turkey to telecom operators worldwide. Kaan Terzioglu felt this would increase the company’s valuation given the valuation of global over-the-top (OTT) companies.

Turkcell’s growth plan raised questions. Did the firm have the management bandwidth to move into so many new business areas in Turkey? Would it be able to grow internationally using the franchise model? The answers were not clear. 

Learning Objective

Learning objectives for case (B):

  • How corporate executives can determine what the digital future of their business is
  • How companies can embark on a digital business transformation to achieve the digital future of their business
SettingsMiddle East, Turkey
2015 to 2018
TypeField Research
Related materialTeaching note
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Reference: IMD-7-2025

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Reference: IMD-7-2025

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