Libyan rebels set up their own mobile network

“Free Libyana” is said to help rebel commanders on the front lines of the conflict

Tags: Libyana (www.libyana.ly)United Arab Emirates
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Libyan rebels set up their own mobile network Libyan rebels have set up their own mobile network in the country following the disconnection of the telecom network in the rebel-held areas a month ago. (Getty Images)
By  Nithyasree Trivikram Published  April 17, 2011

Rebels in Libya have set up their own mobile network in the country following the disconnection of the telecom network in the rebel-held areas a month ago, according to UK newspaper, The Telegraph.

Called the Free Libyana, the new mobile network is the brainchild of Ousama Abushagur, an Abu Dhabi-based telecoms executive who is a Libyan raised in Alabama, the report said.

The cable and microwave links that connect mobile masts in eastern Libya to the network hubs in Tripoli were cut by the government in early March. 

The new network is said to be helping rebel commanders on the front lines of the conflict as well as providing the authorities in eastern Libya with improvised mobile communication networks to form international links in gaining support for their fight against the Gaddafi government.

The report said that the new network relies on equipment supplied by Tecore, a US-based firm that specialises in network deployments. Abushagur said that Free Libyana is reliant on a data centre in London's Docklands, and the funding for the new network is provided by a Libyan businessman based in the UAE.

Abushagur drew up the new network plan because the Gaddafi government was broadcasting jamming signals to cripple satellite telephones, which were hampering humanitarian convoys organised by Abushagur.

The team of engineers involved in Free Libyana were working alongside workers from Benghazi-based mobile operator Libyana who installed their equipment to create a new network independent of Tripoli. The new network was completed using a copy of the Libyana customer database and a satellite link to other countries, according to The Telegraph.

It is said that Free Libyana's international calling is limited to selected senior figures.

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