Lebanon Businessnews News

4G coming in April
Five times faster Internet for smart phones
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4G mobile Internet services will be available for users by April 2013, the Minister of Telecommunications Nicolas Sehnaoui said. “The 4G technology will be commercially launched on April 23 in selected areas,” he said. Trials for the new network will start on November 16 at the recently-launched ICT hub, Beirut Digital District.

With the 4G network, download speeds could reach 100 Mbps, five times faster than the current average. The global average speed is around 45 Mbps.

The transition from 3G to 4G is expected to run smoothly. “We have already fulfilled over 95 percent of the difficult work through the infrastructure upgrades carried out to set up the 3G network,” said Sehnaoui. The 4G technology will further enhance the transmission of data only, after the 3G had boosted the transmission of both voice and data.

Mobile operator Alfa has already completed a successful 4G lab test. The second operator, Touch, will be completing its 4G tests by the end of November. Alfa’s 4G pilot phase will include 20 antennas covering Beirut’s Downtown, Jeitawi, and Karantina areas. Touch’s pilot stage will involve 40 antennas covering the Downtown, Jeitawi, Bir Hassan, and Tallet El Khayat areas.

After the launching of the 3G network in October last year, the number of mobile Internet subscribers jumped from 280,000 to 722,000. Touch has a network of 5,600 antennas, while Alfa’s network includes 4,500 antennas.

The tariffs for the 4G service are not yet finalized. Sehnaoui said: “Feasibility studies are still in progress in order to figure out the appropriate price. But it will be more expensive than the 3G subscription.”

Reported by Rana Freifer
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Date Posted: Nov 02, 2012