The mobile Internet experience in Qatar is going to be revolutionised with Qtel’s ultrafast 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, expected to be launched commercially by the end of the year or early 2013.
Qtel yesterday launched the service trial phase of its 4G LTE network which makes streaming high definition videos and uploading and downloading big files three-to-six times faster than 3G.
Qtel’s 4G LTE network is slated to offer the best penetration in the GCC region.
With the launch of the test phase, a select group of Qtel customers throughout Doha will try out the 4G LTE network, using the latest generation 4G devices after receiving a free trial pack, comprising a USB modem and an information leaflet.
The selected group will provide feedback to ensure the smoothest possible experience for customers when the service is commercially launched.
A 4G trial website www.4gqatar.qa and e-mail [email protected] as well as trial call centre at 132 have been dedicated to the selected customers throughout the trial phase until the the new package’s official launch.
As part of the build-up phase, Qtel has installed 100 antennas throughout Doha. During the trial period, 4G coverage areas include The Pearl Qatar, Katara, the Corniche, the Airport area, Souq Waqif, Aspire Park, Al Waab Street, the Sealine, Rayyan, parts of the Salwa Road and Madinat Khalifa and Gharaffa.
Qtel has already received 800 Mhz and 2,600 Mhz bandwidth frequencies from the Supreme Council of Information and Commu-
nication Technology (ictQatar).
Once the trial is complete, Qtel will launch its 4G LTE network to all customers, starting in Doha.
Customers will need to upgrade to 4G LTE network-compatible mobile devices.
Speaking at the launch of the latest 4G generation mobile network at the Qtel Tower yesterday, Qtel chief operating officer Waleed al-Sayed stressed that the 4G LTE would provide “a comprehensive coverage for customers within the Gulf region as up to 900 base stations are being planned by 2014”.
He said: “We have issued tenders for the installation of some 300 base stations as we expect the number of antennas throughout Qatar to reach 400 by the middle of 2013. We are also going to issue the tender for the remaining 500 base stations later on in order to reach our goal of providing a comprehensive coverage for Qtel customers by 2014.”
He explained that by the end of the year, Qtel customers using the 4G LTE network in Doha would have fast access to high-bandwidth content such as high-definition (HD) videos and the ability to upload and download big files through the latest generation 4G USB modems and MiFi devices.
“Customers will also be able to stay connected on the go, whether they are in the office or at home as they are able to make smooth video-conference calls or have access to entertainment such as movies from Mozaic TV, news website, enhance e-books as well as educational mobile apps for school, right on their mobile…that is the future of this new generation technology,” he said.
Qtel is confident that the 4G LTE network would integrate smoothly with the existing 3G network.
“The launch of the 4G network will eventually improve the experience for all Qtel mobile customers – even those using 2G and 3G devices – since it will enhance network management across the country,” he explained, adding: “Qtel will work with leading vendors to make sure that 4G mobile devices are available to people living in Qatar at affordable prices.”
He added that the 4G network would serve as a complementary service to its Qtel fibre, providing people in Qatar with ultra-fast on-the-go access to the Internet wherever they were.