Alfa launches long-awaited 3G services for mobile phone clients

Alfa chairman and CEO Marwan Hayek launches Alfa’s 3G services.

BEIRUT: Lebanese customers on the Alfa network will now finally gain access to the long-awaited 3G services, called 3G+.

Customers with the mobile phone operator will have access to a series of packages that they can subscribe to, offering them high speed Internet. Options include a $10 offer for a 100 MB cap, $19 for 500 MB cap, $32 for 1GB cap, $79 for 3GB cap and $99 for 5GB cap. Additional MBs will cost $0.1, $0.08, $0.07, $0.07 and $0.06 for each respective package.

Alfa customers will also have the option of using the 3G network without a subscription at a cost of $0.5 per MB download through a pay-as-you-go scheme.

“PAYG [Pay As You Go] users will be charged upon their MB consumption. The service will be initially available to Alfa prepaid and ‘Alfa Waffer’ customers. By mid-November, postpaid users will have the ability to subscribe to it, as well, as per [the] roadmap presented during the event,” Alfa said.

Alfa’s announcement comes a day after MTC touch, Lebanon’s second mobile phone operator, said it would provide 3G services starting November.

Alfa’s regional coverage would be limited at first and span the areas of Greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon in addition to the northern coastal region of Akkar, or some 28 percent of populated areas, Alfa told The Daily Star. However the coverage would increase to 74 percent of populated areas in the first quarter of 2012 and to over 98 percent in the second quarter, it added.

3G, the third generation of mobile phone technology, allows users with 3G-enabled devices like smartphones and access to a network to download information from the Internet at high speeds, opening myriad services previously unavailable to consumers.

One widely sought after service, video calls, will be open to customers using Alfa’s 3G network. Alfa is offering its own video call service and will charge $0.4 per minute. Those wanting to use other video call apps like the popular Skype would be “charged upon their MB consumption,” Alfa said.

MTC touch said Monday that subscribers would by November have access to its five 3G packages, part of its +3.9G HSPA service.

MTC touch chief commercial officer Nadim Khater said packages would include a $10 subscription with a download cap of 100 MB and a 500 MB cap option for the price of $19, without elaborating on the details of the three remaining packages.

Service coverage, MTC touch said, would initially include just Beirut, Sidon and Tripoli, but plans for nationwide coverage are under way, it added.

Khater said that customers would also be able to use video call services over the network.

This article was amended on Wednesday, October 26 2011

Due to an editing error, the original article stated that Alfa would be charging $10 for a 500 MB cap. It will actually be charging $10 for the 100 MB cap. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 26, 2011, on page 4.




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