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Minister: cellcos to offer incentives to users; emergency meetings continue

22 Mar 2023

Lebanon’s Minister of Telecommunications Johnny Corm said in an interview with Nidaa al-Watan newspaper that he held a meeting on Monday with management of the two state-owned mobile network operators Alfa and Touch to develop an ‘emergency rescue plan’ aimed at ensuring users do not disconnect from cellular services due to unaffordability as the country’s economic crisis grinds on. Mr Corm said that his ministry requested Alfa and Touch begin providing their subscribers 30 free calling minutes with every USD7.5 credit top-up card purchased, beginning Thursday for a limited period.

Corm added: ‘We have given our instructions on the need to provide incentives to subscribers to stay connected to the network. A mobile phone is no longer a luxury as it used to be, but a necessity. It is our duty to ensure continuity, not only of the network but also of communication on the network. To this end, we will have regular meetings to follow up on this issue in all its details.’ He also noted: ‘I want to remind you that the mobile tariff is linked to the exchange rate, and when we linked it to Sayrafa platform [Lebanon’s Central Bank rate for international credit and debit card payments, introduced in 2021 to try to limit the influence of black market exchanges], we reduced the price by a third. Today, we receive a lot of criticism for the high prices, but we have no direct influence on Sayrafa’s price.’

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