Under the auspices and in presence of the Minister of Telecommunications Boutros Harb - Alfa signs 4.5G LTE deployment contracts with Nokia and Ericsson in all of Lebanon and two MoUs on 5G

Under the auspices and in presence of the Minister of Telecommunications Boutros Harb -  Alfa signs 4.5G LTE deployment contracts with Nokia and Ericsson in all of Lebanon and two MoUs on 5G
EYB_1033.jpg Under the auspices and in presence of H.E. the Minister of Telecommunications Boutros Harb, Alfa, managed by Orascom Telecom, signed 4.5G LTE Advanced network deployment contracts with Ericsson and Nokia within the 2020 plan launched by the Ministry of Telecommunications. Under the contracts, a full 4.5G LTE Advanced coverage will be gradually deployed by Alfa on the entire Lebanese territory offering a record speed reaching 300 mbit/sec, in a new accomplishment for Alfa and the Ministry of Telecommunications in Lebanon. During the “The Road to 5G starts today with 4.5G” celebration that took place at the Four Seasons Hotel, Alfa also signed two Memoranda of Understanding with the two companies to start working on exchanging information and expertise to ensure that the Alfa network is ready for the 5G technology with the purpose of introducing it in Lebanon by mid-2018. The 4.5G LTE Advanced deployment contracts and 5G Memoranda of Understanding were signed, in presence of Minister Harb, by Alfa CEO and Chairman Mr. Marwan Hayek, Head of Ericsson Region Middle East and Africa Mrs. Rafiah Ibrahim on behalf of Ericsson, and Vice-President and Head of the Middle East Market Unit Mr. Bernard Najm on behalf of Nokia. The event was attended by General Director of Investment and Maintenance at the Ministry of Telecommunications and Chairman and Director General of the Board of Ogero Dr. Abdel Monem Youssef, General Manager of Equipment and Construction at the Ministry engineer Naji Andraos, the Owner Supervisory Board represented by Mr. Gilbert Najjar, Mr. Naji Abboud, and lawyer Moussa Khoury in addition to the Minister’s team. From Ericsson: Head of Ericsson North Middle East region Mr. Mohammad Dergham, Ericsson Country Manager in Lebanon Mr. Tony Abboud and Ericsson Vice President & Head of Marketing & Communications- Region Middle East, Mrs. Fida Kibbi. From Nokia: Customer Team Head – Growth, West Middle East, Mr. Roger Ghorayeb and Customer Team Head, Mr. Vatche Beujekian. Alfa’s administrative board was also present in addition to the Alfa staff and media personalities.    Harb The ceremony opened with the Lebanese National Anthem, followed by the speech of H.E Minister Harb who declared that this meeting today is the first practical step for a project that was announced at the beginning of July last year, and which aims at bringing Lebanon into the new world of the fourth generation of mobile technology. He also pointed out that when this project was launched in July 2015, everybody questioned its importance and wondered what preoccupied the minister (…) Minister Harb affirmed that he accepted the challenge despite political difficulties and despite the obstacles that are facing the stability of the state. He declared: “We as a state of law that respects citizens and their rights, have an obligation to offer the best services and the best living conditions for citizens.” He also added: “Despite the current difficult circumstances in the country, we as a Ministry of Telecommunications decided not to give up and planned to achieve more and bring Lebanon forward to transform it into a Lebanon we dream of, like it was back in 1994, a leader in the whole region.” He continued: “When I handled my responsibilities in the ministry, Lebanon was in lowest ranks in telecommunications. However, due to the efforts we deployed, myself and the large team that assisted me in the Ministry of Telecommunications, in the institutions and companies that collaborate with us, we were able to make a new serious and important step. We improved Lebanon’s rank to the seventh place in the Arab World only preceded by the oil producing countries due to their financial capacities. We also developed a serious strategy for the future of Lebanon with a vision for the year 2020”. Harb also mentioned: “Lebanon enters today the era of 4.5G LTE in the whole country. There will not be any area left without this coverage. According to directions, and following the meeting with Ericsson today and after the meeting I held with Nokia in Barcelona, the two companies are now committed and instead of extending the project finalization for the end of 2016, I would like to announce that we will be finishing the implementation of 4.5G LTE in all Lebanon by the end of September 2016.” Harb added: “We hope we can all achieve what we aim for, to be able to tell Lebanese citizens that despite everything, we are always moving towards a light that will bring Lebanon forward and not backwards. Despite trying to destroy it, Lebanese have good intentions and deserve a better life, a better fate and a better future.” He continued: “As being the Minister of Telecommunications, I witness today the signature of the final agreement resulting from transparent tenders that I insisted on keeping transparent and away from critics. Transparency and integrity are the answer to the insignificant claims and accusations held against us, as if it was forbidden to do something with high ethics, sincerity, in respect for the law and whilst preserving a competitive spirit in Lebanon in front of everybody. As if there should always be emerging news about a scandal or an infraction. I would like to confirm to everybody, that at the Ministry of Telecommunications, we are nothing like this and we do not belong to this circle.” He ended: “Because we work in accordance with our conscience, the projects of the ministry are ongoing and we are moving forward. I would like to congratulate Alfa, Ericsson and Nokia on the agreement that was signed today.”   Hayek Following that, Mr. Hayek gave a speech. In the beginning he affirmed: “Today, we as Alfa, Ericsson and Nokia, commit to all contracts and to submit projects within the deadlines.” He also mentioned: “The 2020 plan launched by Minister Harb in July 2015 initiated several projects in the telecommunications sector, mainly and in addition to fiber optics, the project of developing mobile services and deploying 4.5G LTE technology in all of Lebanon. Alfa was the first to initiate this project in August 2015. So we launched a tender, followed by hard and exhaustive negotiations with our partners at Nokia and Ericsson to reach this achievement that we realized all together. In accordance with this achievement, we will equip and supply 1300 stations covering all Lebanese territories with 4.5G LTE technology. We mean all of Lebanon, so there will not be any excluded village from this coverage which will extend at the end of the project to 99.7% of the Lebanese territory.” He also declared: “This project is based on the carrier aggregation technology. A technology we already used when we launched the first 4.5G LTE station in Lebanon in August 2015 in Ashrafieh. It consists of gathering more than one carrier working on more than one band. We will use a 35 Mhz of spectrum bandwidth on the 1800 and 800 Mhz bands, to reach a maximum of 300mbit/sec speed.” He added: “This project aims at providing large possibilities to Alfa subscribers to release their imagination on everything related to applications and new services. In addition, it will increase data consumption by 5 to 6 times from 15 thousand terabyte per year currently, to more than 80 thousand terabyte in 2020; 80% of this consumption will be on the 4.5G LTE network.” Hayek added: “High internet speeds will allow us to introduce new applications like HD voice and HD video streaming. We will be also exploring new domains like mhealth and everything related to education, instruction and health services whereas related applications will multiply and grow in Lebanon to reach the internet of things (IoT).” He pointed out: “More than 30 companies will be involved in the execution of this project, and 5500 people will be directly working on it which means that we will be contributing to creating new jobs and work opportunities.” He mentioned: “We, at Alfa, were pioneers in launching 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations of mobile technologies. We were the first to introduce 4.5G LTE in Lebanon in August 2015, which means that what we are launching today is not a new technology. However, what is new is extending this technology to all Lebanese territory with maximum speed.” Hayek continued: “In this occasion, and since 4.5G LTE is the step towards 5G, I am honored to announce the signature of two Memoranda of Understanding with Ericsson and Nokia in all aspects related to 5G and expertise exchange to pave the way to install 5G in Lebanon in two years from now whereby our network will be ready by mid-2018 to receive the first 5G site in Lebanon.” Hayek praised “the efforts made by all people working in the telecommunications field in Lebanon, especially the initiatives launched by Minister Harb that allows Lebanon to reach a pioneering position in the Arab world and internationally and will allow all people working in this field to grow again locally and regionally.”   Ibrahim Ms. Rafiah Ibrahim Head of Ericsson Region Middle East and Africa said: “The Lebanese consumer was and is still eager to have the latest and fastest technologies available.  Today’s extended partnership with Alfa will introduce 4G/LTE to cover all the Lebanese land and enable the consumers to benefit from this technology in all aspects of their lives from business, education, health and many others.  LTE technology will empower Alfa and help them exceed their customer’s expectations by providing them with new high speed, data rich services and speed up the transformation towards the Networked Society in Lebanon.” Najm  Mr. Bernard Najm, Vice President and Head of the Middle East Market Unit, Nokia, said: “Nokia is proud to be part of the government’s grand 2020 telecom vision, and is committed to helping our long-term partner, Alfa, to build a superior LTE broadband network across the country. Our Single RAN Advanced radio platform and related professional services will help the operator to launch ultra-fast mobile broadband services with a world-class customer experience.      In addition, we will closely cooperate with Alfa on the development of 5G in the country and our network technologies will evolve its network toward next generation 5G broadband services and Internet of Things (IoT), laying a solid foundation for Smart Cities in Lebanon.”