That’s rich: mobile capacity to be increased to bump up auction value

30 Oct 2008

The Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications intends to increase the capacity of Lebanon’s two state-owned cellular networks by 80% to improve quality of service, end congestion and enhance the value of the networks ahead of their planned privatisations, reports local paper the Daily Star quoting a senior official. According to Roger Najar, the head of the cellular supervisory board, work has already commenced on the project. One of the two operators, Alfa, on Tuesday commissioned Ericsson to upgrade and expand its core network, which will ‘greatly improve the switching capacity in the core network,’ according to the company. Najar said that Alfa intends to increase capacity by 300,000 before the end of the year. Telecoms Minister Gebran Bassil has repeatedly said that he plans to increase the capacity of the network and reduce cellular charges. According to the report, Alfa and rival MTC Touch Lebanon generate more than USD800 million each year, compared to around USD450 million generated by the country’s fixed line services.