Lebanon’s New 3G, DSL & Phone Prices

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I was invited today to the press conference that’s announcing the new tariffs for Lebanon’s upcoming telecom upgrades.

Pre-Conference Tidbits:

At the Ministry of Telecommunications is now various posters to hint at the upgrades which will be announced in a few. So as a first taste, find the following picture:

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So what we know so far is the following:
– We will have unlimited internet bundles,
– Postpaid lines won’t require a $15 per month connection fee,
– Speeds are to be doubled.

Conference info:

A few minutes post national anthem, an introductory speech is announcing new 3G and DSL plans as well as reduced phone rates will be introduced, followed of course by a lot of compliments toward Minister Harb, calling him a true man of reform. I will exclude political propaganda herein after.

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The info:

– Postpaid customers will get 60 free minutes for the $15 they paid monthly and got no services for.

– For prepaid customers, a minute will become 25 cents, a text will become 5 cents.

– Some of the 3G bundles will have up to 3 times more quota and maintain the same price.

– Getting a fixed line now is free instead of 50,000LL with a monthly subscription of 9,000LL.

– The unlimited internet plan will have a speed of 2Mbps.

– The rates will commence on July 1st, not June 1st as previously announced.

The numbers:

DSL Sector:

– Only 44.5% of people with fixed lines have a DSL subscription, with a clear correlation between the economical status of each Lebanese area.

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– The entry DSL plan will be 2Mbps and 40GB for 24,000LL per month.

– The following are the new DSL plans. Unlimited is, as was leaked last week, for 75,000LL.

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– An extra 1GB is now 2,000 instead of 6,000 as well.
– Bundle #5 has unlimited speed but a quota of 100GB for 100,000.

– Private ISPs (other than Ogero) will benefit from these as well though in different forms. Their plans will be dependent on what they want to offer but from what I gathered, the new plans were given to give Ogero an edge.

– I personally asked the minister if current unlimited night quotas will be preserved and he said yes.

– I asked if the upgraded speeds will affect areas where current maximum is only 1Mbps and Abdul Menhem Youssef said yes.

– New prices to be implemented as of July 1st. The reason for the delay compared to the initial June 1st date is the fact that our government had to convene yesterday to ratify extra laws regarding the matter, thereby delaying the publication in the official gazette.

Mobile Sector:

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– We are at 88% penetration for the mobile sector in Lebanon, which is low compared to neighboring regions such as Bahrain where penetration is at 173%.

– Jordan, whose economy is closer to ours, has a penetrant of 158%. The cause of this is due to the exuberant prices of mobile services here.

– A Lebanese citizen pays 2.5 times the price for a minute on prepaid compared to the region.

– Lebanon has 20% postpaid versus 80% prepaid subscribers.

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– Price reductions are including both postpaid and prepaid customers:

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– Postpaid customers will get minutes now for the $15 they pay every month instead of not getting anything as mentioned previously.

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– A prepaid minute now costs $0.25 instead of $0.36.

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– SMS has also been reduced as illustrated previously.

– These will be enforced starting June 1st, not July 1st which goes for DSL.

Mobile Data:

– The 150MB bundle becomes 500MB.
– The 750MB bundle becomes 1.5GB.
– The 1.5GB bundle becomes 5GB.
– All are for the same price.
– Price of extra MB has also been reduced to 6 cents.
– These will be enforced starting June 1st, not July 1st which goes for DSL.

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Verdict:

I especially liked how Boutros Harb acknowledged the work of both his predecessors in his speech. It shows that unlike what political propaganda wants you to believe, there’s a continuity in the work that previous ministers have put forth.

I did not like how the new DSL plans seem to give Ogero an upper hand. I thought the point was to give the customer better choices. Such choices do not happen when the best option is clear, without decent competition from other ISPs.

The new mobile data plans are great. The 5GB one is a real bargain and highly comparable to bundles in Europe. Our 3G speeds have also been highly reliable lately. I’d like to see such bundles become part of plans and possibly even have an unlimited bundle as well.

The new 60 free minutes for postpaid lines is also a vital addition as the monthly payment was deterring many, myself included, from making the switch as it didn’t make sense to make that monthly payment without any services offered back.

In my opinion, the new upgrades are great and essential to take Lebanon’s telecom sector the much-needed step forward into current age communications that are available elsewhere. I hope, however, that the next upgrades do not happen in 7 years as was the case this time, for that will set us back many years as technology advances at its current pace.

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43 thoughts on “Lebanon’s New 3G, DSL & Phone Prices

  1. For the DSL part:

    The typical db loss for the first km of a decent copper wire is around 13.5 db loss (even though there are better copper wires). I live around 1 km from the CO and my db loss is double that figure meaning that there is significant loss else where (CO, connections, etc…)

    So I’d be very pessimistic about the fact that the majority of people who live more than 2 km away from their CO will get 2 mbps and i really won’t technically understand how that will happen unless ogero performs a country-wide upgrade of the equipment in the CO and fix or replace their lines/connections.

    On a better note, I’m sure everyone is happy about the increase in bandwidth and reduction in price.

    Reply
    • Exactly. I have been suffering from this problem for a long time. My house is located more than 2km away from the CO and I have never been able to achieve DSL speeds beyond 256kbps even though my DSL subscription is the 1mbps plan. My issue has 2 possible solutions: 1-connect my landline to a closer CO which is possible since a closer CO is available but I have no clue why I am connected to a further one and 2- upgrade the extremely old and outdated infrastructure. Even though increasing internet speeds and reducing costs is great, it is sad how the existing DSL issues and the long overdue infrastructure upgrades are not being tackled and resolved before moving on to amending existing plans.

      Reply
    • I agree with u, they were not able to give the 2mbps they claimed to give, so what’s changed to be able to do it now? Nothing! They can’t provide the advertised speeds without upgrading the infrastructure (wires). I hope they proove me wrong

      Reply
  2. Guys, this is all GREAT NEWS… BUT!! if the international capacity of the country is not upgraded with this also then you will have a faster nominal speed, but effectively even less fast than the previous plans!!

    Reply
  3. One very important thing that was not tackled in my opinion is LTE. It has great speeds (I clock some 36mbps average on speedtest) but is of no use in its current form.
    To be useful, it should target residential and business, not mobile phones.
    And for this to happen, a form of unlimited night traffic should be introduced.
    But this would eat a lot of the ISP’s and Ogero’s subscriber base, which might be the reason why both minister did not venture into that.
    The LTE network can handle unlimited night, all thay is needed is a political decision.
    Till then, LTE and all that was invested into it is near to useless.

    Reply
    • LTE is not yet been deployed in all of Lebanon. LTE is only available in Beirut and surrounding areas. Such offer would cost a huge overhead in the claims that the service is not working in other parts of Lebanon. Eventually, you will get such plans when the networks is fully active. I have tested the speed when I was Beirut, it reached the 40 Mbps which is only 40% of LTE. Also, certain areas in the capital faces a problem with the communication towers where the service of 4G is down, ffffff is the CID.

      Reply
      • The currently deployed LTE has a theoretical 100mbps max. Practically, 40mbps is the max u can reach in a non optimal non lab setup.
        Wait till there are more LTE subscribers and it will drop to 15-20mbps.
        And why does the geographical distribution matter? I got LTE in batroun and Batroun would benefit a lot from adequatly priced LTE broadband. Let the plan be available for those who have coverage first. That’s what happened with both DSL and 3G, why should it be different for LTE?

        Reply
  4. Please fix this phrase: Getting a fixed line now costs 12,000LL instead of 50,000LL.. It should be 9,000 L.L as per the new price.

    Is there any information about the recharge for one month? Is it still 22.73$?

    Reply
  5. Well that is weird, assuming the new pricing and taking into consideration that star package is free of charge, we can assume the following: 22.73 / 0.25 = 90 minutes this is for the prepaid, whereas for the postpaid the first 60 minutes are free. The balance to reach the 22.73$ is: 7.73$ / 0.11 = 70 minutes, a total of 130 minutes. Postpaid has an advantage over the prepaid by 40 talking minutes for the same paid price. Hence, lots of people will change to the postpaid taking in mind that the offers for the 3G are the same for both.

    Reply
    • Adding the 60 minutes for postpaid was to push people to switch. Most people shouldn’t be prepaid – it’s a sign the sector isn’t running up to its full potential.

      For instance, how many in France are customers with contracts and whatnot versus prepaid? I’m sure it’s an overwhelming majority for contracts (technically postpaid). It’s the total opposite over here.

      Personally, I think the best thing they could do is introduce plans that build on the current Web&Talk as well as U-chat but are actually decent.

      Reply
    • If you assume the cost of the star service, the total number of talking minutes would be 85 minutes for the postpaid and less by 5 minutes from the prepaid. But as long as the user recharges every 30 days and has to buy extra $s, postpaid will be the ultimate solution for 1$+ extra.

      Reply
  6. So what are your opinion regarding upgrading of the DSL? I am subscribed to OGERO with the second plan (10Gb/1Mb)

    Reply
    • This work was already done by Mr.Sahnaui, With all respect to Botrus Harib i have nothing against him..But he didn’t just came in, said hello how are you guys? Fine? Ok let us make everything cheaper.. It was planned over the last years and the Fiber project was planned too.. You’re ignoring all the work done in years, if you think Botrus just done this in 2 days.

      Reply
  7. Thank you for sharing all this. Just need to draw your attention to the table illustrating the new DSL plans in comparison to the old ones. I have a 4 mbps plan (bundle # three) and I pay 115,000 LBP per month, while the table displays a different figure of 265,000 LBP. I checked Ogero’s website and these are their current prices: ADSL
    (download speed) Download/Upload usage limit / GB* Residential Educational institutions
    1 Mbps 4 24,000 L.L 19,000 L.L
    1 Mbps 10 38,000 L.L 30,000 L.L
    2 Mbps 20 75,000 L.L 60,000 L.L
    4 Mbps 25 115,000 L.L 92,000 L.L
    6 to 8 Mbps 30 172,000 L.L 137,000 L.L
    HDSL
    2 Mbps 40 225,000 L.L 183,000 L.L

    the difference if Tariff’s for different speeds is between Residential households & Educational
    institutions.Here’s the link: https://www.ogero.gov.lb/Published/EN/dslcprices.html

    I hope this was an honest mistake by the MOT.

    Reply
    • Khalil,,,,the 265.000 price is for 4Mbps/50 GB while you are paying 115.000 for 25 GB…if you notice there is 25 GB in addition,so 25 GB * 6000 lbp (cost of 1GB) = 150.000…….adding that number to 115.000 becomes 265.000

      Reply
  8. First of all I would like to thank whoever is concerned for the drop of prices vs additional data but I have a big problem of speed since 3 weeks now. I am a terranet DSL subscriber since many years and I have the 55$ plan which was a very good speed during day time and very slow during night time (2mb/s speed – 20Gb per month) with unlimited data from 11pm till 7:00am. Unfortunately the speed is very bad since 3 weeks now and I called Terranet and they told me that it is not from them but from Ogero which closed the speed. Can someone explains this please? Personally I prefer to pay like before with the limited data that I had instead of having problems of speed.

    Reply
    • Hello Omar, monitor your bandwidth, Terranet will slow your connection when you use 10 gb bandwidth during the unlimited night traffic, i face that too, i always checked it, when i arrive to using 10 gb from the night traffic, they slow my connection.

      Reply
  9. Like others in this thread, I’m quite pessimistic about its implementation. Copper wire is a relatively terrible choice compared to fiber optic cables. He should continue the work of his predecessor in this regard.

    Also, am I right to conclude that these upgrade plans are exclusive to Ogero? I have a subscription from IDM and am wondering if these upgrades apply to me as well.

    Reply
  10. I’m actually worried that these improvements would decrease the revenue of the lebanese telecom sector.. I actually find it hard to actually believe that minister harb is all that kind and worried about the citizens… Its either that he wants to show off, or he wants to privatiloze ogero and thus reduce the revenues that the ministry is currently establishing

    Reply
    • well Mohammed, seems you are from the internet providers companies, because any citizen would like to reduce his monthly bill related to anything that he is paying for it, and also Lebanon DSL prices are too much expensive compared to other countries and lebanon DSL offer not stable connection, so what internet providers giving clients connection that cost maybe $1 in other countries

      Reply
  11. Now I have 10 gb and 1 mbps speed , when the 1st july will come , i’ll have 40 gb 2mbps speed , or 50 gb 4mbps speed or.. ?
    Thanks for answerring.
    I don’t know if i’ve spoken english well , because i speak more french , anyway , sorry for my english 🙂

    Reply
  12. all these decreasing prices are great, but only people who have Blackberry smartphone stay at the old price and capacity of internet plans ….shame … that to lead them to change their BB to other device, or what?

    Reply
  13. we are far million miles from a faster internet ther is fiber with a gegabits speed we are limited to 16mbps as a max speed in Lebanon which is too slow

    Reply

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