Qatar Telecom (Ooredoo) yesterday (15 April) announced the official launch of its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband network, making commercial 4G data services available for USB modem/mobile hotspot ‘My-Fi’ device users. With 4G coverage initially available in the capital Doha and the Sealine district, Ooredoo is expanding LTE services on a phased basis, and plans to activate batches of additional LTE base stations on a monthly basis throughout the year, it said in a press release. Ooredoo is rolling out the 800MHz/2600MHz network in areas including The Pearl-Qatar, Katara Cultural Village, West Bay, the Corniche, and Sealine Beach Resort, and within 2014 it expects to cover all inhabited areas of Qatar. Having been testing the 4G network with a few hundred customers since last year to optimise services, Ooredoo declared that its paying LTE customers can experience connection speeds that are three-to-six times faster than its existing 3G network, enabling ‘seamless connections when browsing multimedia-rich websites, updating social media, or streaming music and HD video’, with a 600MB music album or HD movie downloadable in ‘a few minutes’. At launch, Ooredoo 4G is available to customers on the Shahry Unlimited Mobile Broadband Plan (QAR400 [USD110] per month), at an additional cost of QAR60 per month to add the ‘4G Key’ option, which will be made available for other mobile data plans in the coming months. The operator also said it will introduce LTE smartphones in due course.