4G LTE in Lebanon: The Technical Aspect

Plus961 has written about Lebanon starting initial testing for LTE in about two weeks. The article that Rami quoted, which was published in Annahar (click here), sets a timeframe for initial pilot testing starting November 16th while commercial rollout will start in select areas across the country on April 23rd.

The area that will first be covered is Beirut city, from Geitawi onwards. LTE theoretical speeds according to Alfa testing have reached 100Mbps. Actual speeds will be quite less, however, around 40-50 Mbps in best case scenarios. The average speeds that my American friends on Verizon get are approximately 30Mbps.

A source in Alfa has told me that the frequency bands Lebanon will be rolling out will be band 3 (1800 MHz), initially, with other frequencies added later on, which makes the Lebanese LTE network compatible with most international 4G handsets, apart from the ones that are made proper for AT&T, Canada’s Bell, Rogers and Telus and a few Mexican carriers who have opted to use the frequencies that are employed by the aforementioned carriers: band 4 (AWS) and 17 (700b MHz). I assume it’ll be the same for MTC.

This means that prospective iPhone 5 buyers need to buy their phones from European countries or Australia. The American Verizon iPhone works as well.

The plans, however, haven’t been set yet although I don’t expect them to be up to par with the potential demand. LTE is very fast internet and any plan that doesn’t go into several GBs in quota is doomed to be quite useless. Theoretically, you can burn through the 500MB plan (the most popular one among 3G subscriptions) in less than a minute.

On the other hand, and even though LTE is needed to move the country forward in the ever growing digital age, should we be moving towards it when there are a lot of areas in the country without proper basic coverage, let alone 3G? For instance, my hometown in the Batroun caza barely gets any reception. 3G is unheard of over there.

Moreover, moving towards LTE will also get our ADSL speeds to considerably lag behind with the optimal state households get being 1Mbps.

But either way, since many believe I criticize too much, I’ll leave at that and hope LTE rolling out in Lebanon turns out better than the way 3G was unveiled.


17 thoughts on “4G LTE in Lebanon: The Technical Aspect

  1. Pingback: Telecom, Mobile TV and LTE 4G in Lebanon « A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

  2. Pingback: Buying the iPhone 5 in Lebanon: Ask About the Country Source Before You Buy « A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

  3. I love how every time some new technology finally gets introduced to Lebanon, the media make such a big fuss out of it, like we are actually getting an upgrade, when all we’re getting is another shot in the foot and a new way to spend more money for a less than satisfactory service. The irony lies in the fact that they rarely ever manage to follow-through with their reporting to get the general population’s feedback.

    When EDGE was the best we could get, I was paying $15 a month for 100MB. Once 3G was introduced, I started paying $19 a month for 500MB. If we continue growing at this rate, I’m expecting operators to roll out their offers at $25-$30 a month for 1GB. This seems to be very likely since our operators don’t know how to carry out a proper pilot test to save their lives.

    I would personally much rather remaining on the 3G network with an unlimited quota, or at least something in the range of 5GB-10GB a month, for a SLIGHTLY higher premium.



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