Ooredoo, Qatar’s leading telecom company has launched the country’s first 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, an ultra-fast mobile broadband enabling connection speeds three-to-six times faster than 3G.
The service is being launched on a phased basis, with 4G speeds initially available in Doha and the Sealine district, and plans are in place to add to the total number of towers every month, a company statement said.
This enables seamless connections when browsing multimedia-rich websites, updating social media, or streaming music and HD video with 4G USB modems and My-Fi devices. For example, customers can download a 600 MB album or HD movie in only a few minutes, and upload very big files in the blink of an eye, according to the statement.
Since 2012, hundreds of customers have been testing the 4G LTE network, and Ooredoo has used their feedback to optimize the user experience. The move is another major step towards making Qatar one of the best-connected countries in the world, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.
Waleed Al Sayed, chief operating officer, Ooredoo Qatar, said: “This is an important day for Qatar and for Ooredoo, as we launch the fastest-ever mobile Internet.”
“We are taking a bold step forward into the 4G era, with mobile devices seamlessly delivering online content at the fastest-ever speeds. We are focused upon offering mobile Internet ‘at the speed of life’ with Ooredoo 4G, and we will be adding to the total number of towers supporting 4G throughout the year to deliver this.”
Customers will need to use mobile devices that are compatible with 800 MHz and 2,600 MHz frequencies to enjoy the benefits of 4G, which include less latency and faster speeds.
At the press conference, Ooredoo announced the launch of a new 4G My-Fi device and a new 4G-enabled dongle, which provide customers access to 4G. Ooredoo is also working with vendors to ensure that there is a wide selection of 4G LTE-compatible devices available at affordable prices in Qatar, and strong demand is expected from customers across the country.
With the launch, Ooredoo 4G will be initially provided to customers on the Shahry Unlimited Mobile Broadband Plan. Customers can unlock the service using the 4G Key, which will be made available for other mobile data plans in the coming months, according to the statement.
Ooredoo is rolling-out the 4G LTE network in areas including The Pearl-Qatar, Katara Cultural Village, West Bay, the Corniche, and Sealine Beach Resort. Plans are in-place to increase coverage on a monthly basis.
Customers who are outside of the 4G LTE network coverage areas will move seamlessly from 4G to the existing 3G network with no disruption of service.
By the end of 2014, all inhabited areas of Qatar will be covered by Ooredoo’s 4G LTE network. Ooredoo is even making sure that highways and major road connections are on the network, so customers can experience 4G speeds while on the move.
Ooredoo, formerly known as Qtel, is also working on plans to make 4G available on smartphones in Qatar, the statement said.