Minister flags upcoming mobile operator tender; 5G tests to be stepped up this year

13 Jun 2019

Lebanese telecoms minister Mohamad Choucair said in an interview with XinhuaNet that Chinese technology giant Huawei is providing his ministry with equipment for ten 5G test base stations, which will be used for 5G networking tests ‘later this year’, adding that the government will ‘decide on the launching of the 5G technology in Lebanon soon after we finish our research about its health aspects, efficiency and profitability’. The minister noted that Huawei has already partnered Lebanese cellco Touch in 5G tests in Q4 2018 (whilst TeleGeography notes that the country’s other mobile provider Alfa has partnered Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia in 5G technology trials).

In the same interview, Mr Choucair said that the telecoms ministry is preparing to launch an open tender for up to two mobile operators to enter the Lebanese market, stating: ‘We [will] invite companies from all over the world, including China, to come and take part in the new tender if they are capable of providing us with good services at competitive prices.’ Both Alfa and Touch are wholly state owned, but currently managed on behalf of the Lebanese government by Kuwait’s Zain Group (Touch) and Egyptian-owned Orascom Telecom Lebanon (Alfa).