4000 lucky people are already using the service – of which I am one – but for the rest of Lebanon, the tantalizing dream of faster internet will possibly just stay a dream.
Personally, I found the area of coverage in the test pilot to be sort of absurd. Why is it that only Mount Lebanon and Beirut are the covered areas? Shouldn’t at least Lebanon’s major cities (Batroun, Amioun, Tripoli, Saida, etc…) be covered as well to get a broader picture of how the service acts in those locations?
However, while using it in Beirut, I’ve found the service to be seamless. I burned through 30 MB of data within minutes and without knowing. And no, I wasn’t streaming on YouTube. The only drawback was something I had also experienced while backpacking across Spain and France: battery life is murdered.
I was getting speeds of about 2 Mbps, which is very comparable – and even better – to the speeds I was using on Spain’s Orange and France’s SFR. Coverage, however, even in Beirut, was still quite spotty and I found my iPhone switching back and forth between edge and 3G frequently.
But basically everyone was waiting for October to roll around so we can put the smart in our smartphones and actually have data plans that would hopefully bring the country and us forward. But it looks like it won’t happen.
Just today, Lebanon’s Shawra council, responsible to uphold whatever little law is applied in this country, has ordered the rolling of 3G services to stop. The degree itself says the delay should happen for a month. But we all know how things in happen tend to be delayed. Why? They cited “illegal” actions taken place by the Ministry of Telecommunication at the hand of both former minister Charbel Nahhas and current one Nicolas Sahnaoui.”
Change and reform, indeed.