Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), the Sultanate’s incumbent telecoms operator, has announced the commercial launch of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband network, following a series of trials which delivered download speeds of up to 100Mbps. Around 50 cell sites have so far been rolled out across Oman, with LTE services available to ‘tens of thousands of people’ in a number of areas, including Sultan Qaboos University Campus, Mawalleh, Al Khaudh, Al Khuwair, Ruwi, Buraimi and Khasab. In the next phase of expansion, Omantel said it plans to extend coverage to the majority of Muscat and the country’s main cities. ‘We are proud to announce the launch of first commercial 4G LTE network in the Sultanate centered on providing our customers with unprecedented speeds which will revolutionise the way we use the internet,’ commented Dr. Amer Awadh Al Rawas, CEO of Omantel, adding: ‘This is another historical moment for the telecom sector as a whole as we continue to enrich our customers and offer them the most innovative products and services. Our state-of-the-art network will enable us to provide unmatched mobile broadband speeds.’
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, telecoms equipment suppliers Ericsson and Huawei were selected for the rollout of Omantel’s 4G Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) network in May 2012. Omantel, which is 70% state-owned, is the Sultanate’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, with a total of 2.365 million cellular customers – just ahead of sole rival Nawras’ 1.955 million – at the end of March 2012, giving it a market share of 54.7%. Nawras meanwhile is currently working on the rollout of a Long Term Evolution-Frequency Division Duplex (LTE-FDD) mobile broadband network, using 1800MHz spectrum.