The Ministry of Telecommunications said that it has launched a major plan to upgrade the mobile phone network in a bid to improve the quality of telecommunications services in the country.
The plan was developed in cooperation with the two mobile network operators, MTC and Alfa.
According to the Minister of Telecommunications Nicolas Sehnaoui, the implementation period of the National Quality of Services’ plan is eight months. However, he said that the improvements would be noticeable within the first three months.
The minister also said that he has signed the investment decisions required for MTC and Alfa to begin the works.
According to Antoine Hayek, representative of mobile phone owners at the Ministry of Telecommunications, the exact cost of the plan would be revealed after MTC and Alfa complete the quotations that will be used for taking bids. He said that the tender paperwork should be completed before the end of the year. “It will be between eight to 12 weeks before the equipment is delivered, so by late February it will be ready (for installation)” he said.
Hayek said that the investment costs will be covered by the public sector and not by the network operators. He said that since the state owns the two mobile networks, any enhancements and new equipment are the property of the public sector.
The cost of the upgrades will be covered by the budgets of the mobile networks Mic 1 and Mic 2. Hayek said that the budget allocations for the plan, from Mic 1 and Mic 2, have been approved by the minister.
According to the plan, the ministry will purchase 400 stations, or 1200 antennas, which will be installed in areas with weak reception. The ministry will also buy 20 mobile stations that will provide backup support, mainly in highly populated areas.
The plan also includes purchasing 120 repeaters to strengthen reception in areas of weak network coverage. These devices are meant to replace illegal appliances installed by some users to improve reception in their areas.
The anticipated plan also involves the establishment of a national roaming service. This service would allow mobile phone subscribers to shift from one network to the other in case of poor reception.
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