Qtel today announced the launch of a major new Long-Term Evolution (LTE) programme, which will deliver the fastest and largest 4G network in Qatar, to support the national plan to boost the knowledge-based economy.
The project will deploy nearly 900 Base Stations across the country, delivering the best penetration for 4G coverage in the GCC region. Implementation will begin immediately, adding to the strength and speed of Qtel’s Broadband network, which is already one of the best in the region.
The programme will provide ongoing improvements to mobile Broadband Internet services for customers in 4G coverage areas, and offer potential download speeds of as much as 150 Mbps on mobile phones and devices.
Announcing the project, Waleed Al Sayed, Chief Operating Officer, Qtel said: “Qtel continues to invest in the Broadband Qatar strategy, which aims to provide one of the fastest, most reliable Broadband networks in the world to the people of Qatar. Following a comprehensive study of LTE technology, we are now positioned to build the largest 4G network in Qatar, offering the fastest speeds and most comprehensive coverage.”
“Matching the incredible speeds offered to homes and businesses by the deployment of Qtel Fibre, this project will offer high-speed and high quality Internet for mobile devices.”
“Qtel was among the first companies in the region to trial this technology. We completed the test phase for this technology with two potential vendors in July, and it was extremely successful. Previously, we have said we would launch this technology when it reached maturity and when a full range of devices were available. We have received assurances that a full range of devices will be launched in Qatar over the next year, and have begun the launch process for this technology,” he added.
LTE is a wireless broadband technology that supports roaming Internet access via cell phones and mobile devices, and which seamlessly interworks with 2G and 3G networks. Because of the significant improvements in download speeds and quality, it has been called a “fourth generation” (4G) technology.
In Qatar, the service will provide customers with universal connectivity at incredible downlink speeds of up to 150 Mbps for a broad range of services, including high-definition (HD) video on demand, interactive gaming, Mozaic TV and high-bandwidth content.
One of the major aims of the Broadband Qatar Strategy is to offer ultrafast speeds for both fixed line and mobile Broadband customers throughout Qatar.
Qtel successfully completed a nationwide trial of LTE technology over the summer, and is in discussion with some of the world’s leading companies in this area to support the technology roll-out.
Qtel has already completed a number of significant network upgrades in recent years to offer mobile Internet at higher speeds and significantly more value for customers. Qtel’s 3G network is currently one of the most advanced 3G networks in the world.
During the roll-out, 4G coverage will be provided as an option in a growing number of areas in Qatar, starting with highly populated urban areas such as Doha and expanding across the country. Qtel will work with a number of leading vendors to ensure that devices capable of using 4G technology are available for the people of Qatar at affordable prices.
To support the service, Qtel will offer Wi-Fi offloading, so that customers using wireless Internet will be able to switch seamlessly to Wi-Fi hotspots during periods of peak demand.
In addition, the company is already working with businesses and educational institutions to ensure that all sectors of the community are able to benefit from the enhanced speed and reliability of LTE technology, as part of the Broadband Qatar strategy. Studies show that Broadband roll-outs can make a direct impact to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and to exam results for school children and students.
According to the results of the trial study, offering speeds of 150 Mbps will be practically possible in Qatar using 20 MHz bandwidth. To provide this comprehensive national service, Qtel will require new frequency and is discussing this issue with ictQATAR.
Qtel today also thanked ictQATAR for allocating the required 800 MHz spectrum to conduct the LTE trial, which has enabled the company to take this bold step forward for customers across the country.
The launch of a comprehensive national strategy for LTE marks another important step forward in the close relationship between Qtel and the regulator, as all parties work together to drive the growth of the knowledge-based economy.