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Growth at Alfa signals rate reduction will boost economy

Minister Boutros Harb shakes hands with Sama representative Hassan el-Zein during a press conference in Beirut, Monday, June 16, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Alfa said Tuesday it had seen a 30 percent increase in data consumption in June after reducing prices and increasing data caps. “Mobile users have responded positively to the price decrease,” Hayek said, pointing out that the success of the price reductions would in turn stimulate the economy and promote growth.

Telecoms Minister Boutros Harb issued a decree last month to lower the price of mobile and fixed lines as well as Internet and DSL services. While the decree goes into effect July 1, Alfa began implementing the new prices at the beginning of June.

Alfa has already achieved a 30 percent increase in data consumption after only two weeks, company Director General Marwan Hayek said.

According to the decree, cellular rates for prepaid lines will be reduced from 36 cents per minute to 25 cents per minute, while SMS prices will drop from 9 cents to 5 cents for each message.

The data limit for 3G services will increase from 150 megabytes to 500 MB for $10, from 750 MB to 1.5 GB for $19 and from 1 GB to 5 GB for $29.

Telecoms Ministry official Gilbert Najjar said at a news conference last month that the price reductions were expected to drive a substantial increase in the number of mobile phone users in a year’s time.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 18, 2014, on page 5.

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