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Qtel Group will be highlighting its leadership position in the regional communications sector at ITU World 2012, the major event that is hosting key names in global communications in Dubai this week.
The company is working to deliver the most relevant technologies to meet the needs of its customers as it looks to provide the best customer experience and stay ahead of rising demand for mobile Broadband services across the developing world.
“We aim to provide our customers with the most advanced technology for voice and data services, especially delivering improved high-speed 3G services and upgrading to the ultrafast 4G LTE network where appropriate,” said Paul Salmon, Chief Technology Officer of Qtel Group. “Across all of our markets in the MENA region and Southeast Asia, we have plans to upgrade more than 15,000 base stations over the next three-to-five years.”
Qtel Group companies are rolling out 4G LTE networks in Qatar and Oman in staggered launches over the next several months, aiming to provide some of the best 4G penetration in the Middle East and North Africa, on average offering speeds that are three-to-six times faster than 3G.
The 4G LTE customers will be able to take advantage of the ultrafast speeds for both personal and business use. They will be able to watch high-definition video, play interactive games, download and upload large files, videoconference for their businesses, view multimedia-rich news websites, or read enhanced e-books.
“Our 4G services sit on the cutting-edge of our overall network enhancement strategy,” said Salmon. “We’ve carefully tracked customer demand and the availability of 4G devices, and we believe that the time is right for 4G services in Qatar and Oman. We will be sharing some of the lessons of the 4G roll-out across the wider Qtel Group, so that all our companies are ready to offer next generation networks when the time is right for their market.”
At the same time as the 4G rollout, Qtel Group companies in the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia are improving their networks, adding additional network resources for 2G and 3G customers. As customers in these countries upgrade to smartphones, expanding 3G coverage will offer improved mobile Internet access.
The aggressive programme of network upgrades will allow Qtel Group’s operators to provide better and more affordable services to all of their customers, and position the Group for the future. Improving mobile networks could also have significant social and economic benefits for the wider region.
Currently, Nawras is showcasing its 4G LTE network at the Muscat Grand Mall, and plans to launch the network in the Muscat Governate by the end of 2012. Muscat’s coverage will include Ruwi, the Central Business District, WadiKabir, Muttrah, Qurm, Azaiba, Al Khuwair, Ghala, Baushar, Mawaleh and The Wave. Nawras plans to cover all major Omani cities with the 4G LTE network by June 2013.
Nawras has also been “turbo-charging” its current 3G networks to faster 3G+ service, which offer customers faster download speeds and more efficient service. Currently 3G+ is available in Muscat and Sohar. Over the next three years, Nawras will expand its coverage from 53 percent to 97 percent of Oman’s population, adding coverage to Sur, Salalah and Nizwa.
In Qatar, hundreds of select Qtel customers are taking part in one of the region’s largest 4G LTE tests. Qtel has installed 100 base stations throughout Doha to provide 4G LTE coverage, and are planning to install several hundred more base stations to increase coverage. The company expects to commercially launch 4G LTE service in Doha by the end of 2012 or early 2013.
In addition, Indonesian operator Indosat recently received license approval from the government for using 900 MHz band that will be provide flexibility in delivering the most advanced technology to customers as the market evolves. This enables Indosat to upgrade its 2G network across the country to 3G, improving quality for customers upgrading their phones. The license also allows Indosat to prepare the current 3G network to be switched to 4G when the market is ready.
Indosat is now upgrading its cellular networks in-line with government policy to enhance Indonesia’s broadband access and services.
Meanwhile in Tunisia, Tunisiana had prepared its 2G network to upgrade to a 3G network. When Tunisiana received the 3G license earlier in 2012, it covered nearly half of the population with high-speed 3G+ services in only three months. By the end of 2012, Tunisiana expects to cover almost the entire country with the 3G network.
Similarly, Asiacell in Iraq and Nedjma in Algeria are preparing their high-quality 2G networks to be ready for 3G upgrades. Both operators are waiting to receive the 3G licenses from the governments.
ITU Telecom World 2012 will welcome thousands of participants and some 300 global leaders, including heads of state and government, ministers, industry CEOs, regulators, digital thought leaders, technology consultants and academics.