Carrying the World in A Cell

Thanks to cell phone technology, a property owner can show a house to prospect renters. Using current technology, one can download images or the music of a favorite artist. One can learn the business profile and the location of the stand of a company he wishes to visit while attending an exhibition.
Ilhan Bagoren,

Cell phones are involved in every aspect of our lives. During the finals of “American Idol,” 65 million viewers used their cell phones to vote for their favorite contestant. In the 2000 presidential elections, the number of voters was 105 million.

The way to earn more money from cell phone users is through value added applications. The average monthly cell phone bill per user is US$ 49, and increasing this amount is possible by providing value added services. Telenity, established by four Turks, is providing professional software solutions and globally selling them to telecom operators.

Telenity is located in Monroe, Connecticut, but the real production comes from brains in the Istanbul Free Trade Zone. The company has 172 employees, 20 of these in the US. They have offices in India, Singapore and London, and their headquarters in Monroe is a working environment more like a villa than a business office.

Behind Telenity’s history is the story of four old friends. The story of three of the owners starts back in 1988. After Alcatel’s decision to close the research center in Shelton, Connecticut with the acquisition of ITT, Bekir Serbetcioglu, Ilhan Bagoren and Esref Ozulkulu became unemployed.
Bekir Serbetcioglu, CEO at Telenity

These three friends, who worked for a while as engineers and managers in different companies, founded EBS in 1998 and brought the SS7 signalization system, which was considered the basic component of digital communications in the telephone switchboards, to standard computers. The company changed its name to NewNet and was sold to ADC Telecommunications in 1997. After a 3 year standstill, they founded Telenity to continue their journey in the telecommunication sector. Along with Hakan Dincerler, these three names are in the forefront of the company.

When we ask if they would sell this company, Bekir Serbestcioglu, CEO at Telenity, says “We would never establish a company we couldn’t sell”.

Mr. Serbetcioglu has 20 years of experience in the telecommunication sector and worked as a business developer, engineer, manager and in operations at leading companies in the sector such as Ameritech, Nortel and Alcatel. He also holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering.

Nortel, HP, IBM, and SUN Microsystems are among Telenity’s business partners. Besides Turkcell, the largest Turkish operator, Avea; Turkish Telecom; Telia Sonera; the Turkcell affiliates Azercell and Geocell; Wataniya Telecom, serving two million subscribers in Kuwait, Tunisia and Iraq; Egyptian Mobinil; Moroccan Madacom; Ukrainian Life; and Moldcell, the largest cell phone network in Moldavia, are some of the mobile operators Telenity is providing services to.

The founders of Telenity were awarded with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award for 2003, the Hewlett Packard Software Partner of the Year Award for 2004, and repeated this success in 2004 by being awarded the Software Channel Excellence prize. When explaining the reasons why they preferred to open a research and development office in Turkey instead of India, Mr. Esref Ozulkulu stated that Turkey has better patent and software protection laws in the software sector than India.
Esref Ozulku.

Mr. Ozulkulu says, “The average cell phone use per person is very high in Turkey. 50 % of the population owns a cell phone, this figure is 4 % in India. This is one of the reasons why Telenity focuses more on Indian and Asian markets.” Mr. Ozulkulu started his career as a research assistant at Istanbul Technical University and worked at leading companies of the sector. He holds a master’s degree in computers.

One of Telenity’s targets is to make cell phone telenology as simple to use as the internet. “In telecommunication, things are very complex, and only people with special education can develop it. But on the internet things are simpler and people familiar with computer technology easily learn programming. Telenity’s aim is to develop systems that connect internet and telecommunication, and to provide, especially to mobile users, with the ability to design multiple service and contents by graphic processes in a short time through next generation technology,” says Mr. Ilhan Bagoren. He explains that their technology, called Canvas, is compatible with all technologies, and that they want to allow cell phones to facilitate some of the tasks in life much like the PC has.  

Worldwide, the average monthly bill per cell phone user is US$50. To increase this amount by US$10, the operators have to try out 500 new services. Telenity’s CEO Mr. Serbetcioglu estimates that about 10% of these 500 will be successful.

Cell phone use is very widespread in Turkey; there are 40 million cell phone users and only 5 million internet users in Turkey. In the US market internet usage is predominant; internet access is around 95%. This is the reason why cell phone technology lags behind in the US.

Mr. Ilhan Bagoren states that the US cell phone technology is 2 years behind, and that the value added service market is only a 5% market. “It is estimated that in four years this ratio will increase to 30% from 5%. Then there could be a competition.”

“Our difference from our competitors is that they provide their technology in segments. We provide an easy, complete and integrated portfolio,” says Mr. Ilhan Bagoren and adds that they don’t have any competition that could compete with them in all fields.

Telenity has also carefully chosen a name for the technology it developed. The name was chosen because it represented an environment, similar to a canvas, a cloth made of hemp, flax, or cotton for use in painting. This name is used as a way of pointing out that this product enables the use of any technology and the desired service could be implemented quickly and easily. “Dream and paint” expresses the motto of Telenity. In other words, Telenity’s vision is to provide a suite of service-enabling products that create value added services by treating them like lego blocks in fast growing mobiles and networks.

The partners have set a target of US$25 million in sales for the year 2005. “We have to achieve 100% growth to be able to reach a certain target,” says CEO Bekir Serbetcioglu.

Telenity America’s Regional Sales Manager Dan Zuchhi states that they tried out their latest technology at the Nortel Networks’ laboratory in Dallas and Nortel confirms that it is compliant with GSM and GPRS systems. Zucchi says, “Canvas is ready to provide services to all technologies in existence in the US  market.”

Ernst & Young Best Entrepreneurial Company of the Year finalist
2005 HP Software Channel Excellence Award
2004 HP Software Partner of the Year Award
2004 HP Software Channel Excellence Award
2003 Interpro Best Telecom Software Company
2003 ISBI Highest Software Export Volume Award
2003 Most Successful Service and Platform Award

According to the latest data, approximately 60% of Americans are cell phone users. The leader of the market is Cingular, with 50.4 million subscribers after the acquisition of AT&T Wireless for US$41 million. According to April 2005 data, Verizon Wireless has 43.8 million subscribers, Sprint has 26 million and T-Mobile 17.3 million. According to  research conducted by Merrill Lynch, 8 % of cell phone subscribers use prepaid phones. This number was 5.5% in 2002.

Subscriber Numbers
Company               Subscribers (Million)    Prepaid subscribers (Million)
Cingular                 50.4                                     3.5            
Verizon Wireless  43.8                                     1.7
Sprint                      26                                        2.7
T-Mobile                 17.3                                    1.8

According to research conducted by the Telecommunication Institution, the current number of 40.2 million cell phone users in Turkey will increase to 54.6 million in 2011. As of March 31st 2005, the market leader is Turkcell with 24.3 million subscribers. Telsim, which after the legal difficulties of the Uzan Group is now controlled by the government, has 7.2 million subscribers, followed by Avea, established after the merger of Italian Telecom’s Aria and Turkish Telecom’s Aycell, with 5 million subscribers.

Canvas SDP, Service Delivery Platform
Canvas iCON, Intelligent Content Management Platform
Canvas Messaging Applications (Multimedia Messaging Service Center, Short Message Service Center, Fixed-Line Short Message Service Center)
Canvas UMS, Unified Messaging System
Canvas LES, Location Enabling Server
Canvas RTMS, Resource Tracking and Management System
Canvas PFS, People Finder Service
Canvas Emergency Services
Canvas Infotainment Services
Canvas Intelligent Call Services
Canvas CoolRings, Ringback Tone Service

(July 2005, 17th Issue Cover)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07