Alfa to upgrade Lebanon network to 4.5G with Nokia and Ericsson

14 March 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

Ericsson and Nokia have won contracts to upgrade Lebanese operator Alfa to 4.5G technology and to work towards 5G.

The vendors, along with operator and Lebanon’s minister of telecommunications, signed an agreement in Beirut that will commit them to an upgrade programme as part of a plan to improve the country’s infrastructure by 2020.

Marwan Hayek, chairman and CEO of Alfa, said the project will increase the company’s data consumption by five to six times to 80,000 terabytes a year by 2020. He said: “80% of this consumption will be on the 4.5G LTE network.”

The vendors will re-equip 1,300 base stations to deliver data at rates of up to 300 megabits a second, said Hayek.

Alfa is a state-owned operator – officially called Mobile Interim Company 1 – but is managed by Orascom Telecom. Lebanon’s other operator, MTC Touch, is managed by Zain.

Ericsson’s head of Middle East and Africa, Rafiah Ibrahim, said: “Today's extended partnership with Alfa will introduce 4G/LTE to cover all the Lebanese land and enable the consumers to benefit from this technology in all aspects of their lives from business, education, health and many others.”

Nokia’s Middle East head, Bernard Najm, added: “We will closely cooperate with Alfa on the development of 5G in the country and our network technologies will evolve its network toward next generation 5G broadband services and internet of things, laying a solid foundation for smart cities in Lebanon.”