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Lebanon telcos threatened with ban

Service problems could result in contract termination, warns comms minister

Lebanon telcos threatened with ban
Harb: All subscribers are entitled to uninterrupted calls.

Lebanon's two state-owned mobile operators have until tomorrow to improve the quality of their networks or face termination of their contracts, warned telecommunications minister Boutros Harb on Thursday.

Touch, run by Kuwait's Zain Group, and Alfa, operated by Egypt's Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT), have both been plagued by call dropping and interruptions in service. Both contracts are running under a three-month extension and are due for renewal at the end of June.

Harb said that service quality had deteriorated since February, when he was appointed to his current role, and cited neglectful maintenance as the reason for the downturn.

"All subscribers are entitled to uninterrupted calls without being forced to redial the same number three to four times to finish a conversation, particularly [considering] that the citizen is paying a high bill to both companies that is calculating the duration of the call on a per minute rather than per second basis," he said.

"When I took over the ministry, the situation was better and suddenly it started deteriorating. Both operators have failed to assume their responsibilities, such as informing me and the office supervisory board of network malfunctions when they occur."

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