Joint committee to oversee mobile improvements

Telecoms Minister Boutros Harb, right, meets with a delegation from mobile phones merchants in Beirut, Thursday, May 8, 2014. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)

BEIRUT: A joint committee between the Telecommunications Ministry and cellular operators was formed to oversee the improvement of services, Telecoms Minister Boutros Harb announced Monday.

Harb made a statement after meeting the representatives of Orascom, which operates Alfa, and Zein, which runs touch, at the Telecommunications Ministry.

Last week, Harb threatened to scrap the contracts with both companies Monday if the services were not improved.

Zein’s vice president, Bader Nasser al-Kharafi, told reporters after the meeting that his company provided excellent services to its clients.

But Kharafi argued that Lebanon’s difficult mountain terrain sometimes caused interruptions in communication services.

“We have assigned a new specialized team to make the service improvements,” he added.

Orascom’s representative said the technical problems were due to isolated incidents.

Harb said he had delayed the ultimatum after representatives of both companies requested a meeting with him.

The minister said ministry would call for an international tender to run the cellular networks once the contracts with touch and Alfa expired at the end of this month.

He added that Zein and Orascom could take part in the bidding.

Sources told The Daily Star that Harb may call on the ministry to take over operation of the networks if the bidding companies did not come up with good offers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 13, 2014, on page 5.




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