Alfa launches first LTE-A network in Lebanon

Alfa Lebanon
Telecom network operator Alfa has launched the first 4G LTE-Advanced network in Lebanon.

Telecom network and software major Nokia has supplied carrier aggregation technology, which combines two frequencies in order to significantly improve throughput and spectral efficiency, for the deploying the 4G LTE-A network in Lebanon. Nokia combined 20 MHz on the 1800 MHz frequency band with 15 MHz on the 800 MHz band.

The move is in reference to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 5G to explore possibilities for the Alfa network and pave the way for Alfa to install its first 5G site in Lebanon in 2018. These agreements are part of the National 2020 Digital Telecom Vision of the Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications to upgrade the country’s Internet infrastructure and deploy 4G LTE-A across the Lebanese territory.

Nokia said the network addition will empower Alfa by providing higher download speeds of up to 262.5 Mbits/sec for high-definition video and other data-intensive applications, to its subscribers.

74 percent of the Alfa subscriber base comprises of data users and hence the deployment of Finland based Nokia carrier aggregation technology to it will provide innovative and high-definition services.

Alfa, which is the first Lebanese mobile operator managed by Orascom Telecom, can move ahead in the 5G and IoT technology sectors with this deployment. Lebanon has total revenues generated from the cellular networks and land-line service at about $2 billion a year.

“With the surge in data traffic over the Alfa network to 15,000 terabytes per year, the deployment of 4G LTE-A across Lebanon will not only advance the quality of our 4G network but will also help us quickly move toward next-generation technologies like 5G, which is a top priority for us to maintain our technology innovation leadership,” said Marwan Hayek, chairman and CEO of Alfa.

Alfa had previously entered into a contract with Ericsson and Nokia to install a 4.5G service network throughout the country, investing over $600 million, fully covered by the budget of the Telecommunications Ministry of Lebanon. The project is to be fully deployed by September, this year.

All these contracts are a part of the 2020 plan of the Telecom Minister Boutros Harb, to overhaul and modernize the entire telecom and Internet services across the country.

Nokia recently announced plans to increase its investment in 5G, IoT and emerging technologies, with $350 million fund allocated for investments in IoT companies.