The Gulf Times writes that Qatari citizens are likely to see the arrival of ultra-high speed 4G mobile services within the next few months, with Qatar Telecom (Qtel) and Vodafone Qatar both reportedly reaching ‘a crucial phase’ of their respective Long-Term Evolution (LTE) rollouts. The former is understood to be in the final test phase of its fledgling 4G network, with commercial launch likely in Doha in the next few months, while Vodafone expects to trial LTE in the ‘very near future’ ahead of a full-blown service launch in the first half of 2014. The paper quotes Qtel director of public relations, Fatima Sultan al-Kuwari, as saying: ‘We are in the final testing stage of the 4G LTE mobile broadband network, and are expecting to begin commercial launch in Doha in the coming months. Our aim is to deliver the best possible customer experience of 4G LTE, so we are investing all our efforts into the testing phase – when we are satisfied that our service will be the best in the region, we will formally announce a launch date.’
Earlier, Qtel went on record as saying that it expects its LTE programme – worth around QAR200 million (USD54.9 million) in the launch phase – will deliver peak download speeds of 150Mbps. Under the plan, the cellco is deploying around 900 base stations across the country, al-Kuwari said.
In January this year Qtel announced that it will focus on boosting mobile network performance and coverage throughout 2013, and is in the process of establishing dozens of new cell sites across Qatar to further enhance call quality and network support. The cellco is also investing in mobile technology upgrades to improve indoor and outdoor coverage, including a dual-carrier (DC-HSPA+) deployment to enhance 3G network capacity and an in-building solution to improve coverage in high-rise buildings.