ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkcell, Turkey’s leading mobile phone operator, said subscriber numbers had risen 3.8 percent in the second quarter year-on-year to 29.83 million, despite a rise in interest rates. Its shares were down 2.9 percent at 6.70 lira in afternoon trading, underperforming Istanbul’s main share index. Turkey’s central bank last month sharply hiked interest rates to rein in higher-than-expected inflation and a plunging lira. Higher rates tend to affect spending patterns. «The (recent) volatility has not had a significant impact on Turkcell’s customers’ usage trends so far. The company will continue to monitor macroeconomic developments and their possible impact on its operations,» Turkcell stated yesterday. Turkcell had 5.57 million post-paid and 24.26 million pre-paid mobile phone subscribers at the end of the quarter. «In the second quarter of 2006, Turkcell’s churn rate remained largely stable at 3.6 percent, compared with 3.5 percent in the first quarter of 2006, in line with our expectations,» Turkcell said. Last month Turkcell Chief Executive Muzaffer Akpinar resigned from his post amid a prolonged discord between the company’s main shareholders over control of the board.