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Ooredoo launches LTE in Qatar

Full coverage of all inhabited areas due by the end of 2014

Customers can access the LTE network with a dongle or My-Fi device.
Customers can access the LTE network with a dongle or My-Fi device.

Ooredoo, Qatar's incumbent operator, has launched the first LTE network in the country.

Ooredoo is deploying the network in phases, with the service initially available in parts of Doha and the Sealine district, with plans to add more cell towers each month.

Ooredoo is currently deploying the network in areas including The Pearl-Qatar, Katara Cultural Village, West Bay, the Corniche, and Sealine Beach Resort. Full coverage of the country's inhabited areas is expected by the end of 2014.

The service will give customers mobile broadband connection speeds that are three to six times faster than the existing 3G network. Customers will need to use mobile devices that are compatible with 800 MHz and 2,600 MHz frequencies to access the LTE network.

At the press conference, Ooredoo launched a new 4G My-Fi device and dongle, which will provide customers access to the network. Ooredoo is also working with vendors to ensure that there is a wide selection of LTE-compatible devices available in Qatar.

Since 2012, hundreds of customers have been testing the LTE network, and Ooredoo has used their feedback to optimise the user experience.

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."

The LTE service will initially be provided to customers on the Shahry Unlimited Mobile Broadband plan. Customers can unlock the service using the 4G Key, which costs QR 60 per month and which will be made available for other mobile data plans in the coming months.

Customers who are outside of the LTE network coverage areas will move seamlessly from 4G to the existing 3G network with no disruption of service.

Ooredoo is even making sure that highways and major road connections are on the network, so customers can experience 4G speeds even while on the move. Ooredoo is also working on plans to make 4G available on smartphones in Qatar.