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Harb unveils telecoms upgrade plans

File - Harb gave citizensone month to notify authorities about the need to replace illegal repeaters.

BEIRUT: Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb vowed Wednesday to expand the mobile network and crack down on jammers and repeaters in a bid to improve the quality of services provided by the two mobile operators touch and Alfa.

“We will launch a strategy with the two mobile operators to replace illegal repeaters installed by citizens with free and legal ones that do not impact the network in a negative way,” he said during a news conference to announce the measures that would be taken by his ministry in coordination with touch and Alfa to improve the quality of mobile services in Lebanon.

“I request all citizens to call 111 within a month and inform us about the need to replace their illegal repeaters and we guarantee that no one will be questioned about the machines they have used in the past,” he said, adding that the ministry would track down owners of these jammers and pursue them after the end of the month.

Harb met Monday and Tuesday with the management of the two mobile operators to discuss the recent deterioration in the quality of calls.

Harb met at the ministry’s office with delegations of both operators that included general managers and telecoms engineers. The delegations submitted proposals to reduce call interruptions and highlighted problems causing the deterioration in the quality of calls.

Among the reasons behind the low quality of services, according to Harb, is the jamming resulting from military movements on Lebanese shores and from devices of emergency forces and the movement of embassy officials.

Harb added that power failure contributed as well to the deterioration of the quality of services. He said power cuts in Beirut had been growing lately and backup generators were not capable of securing electricity for 15 hours per day. “These successive power cuts will require from us the installation of new generators in Beirut to be able to resolve this issue,” he said.

He added that security measures in some areas prevented the ministry from installing new stations to cover some new areas.

“The ministry will work on formulating a new strategy to install 150 stations rapidly,” he said.

In addition to expanding the network and tracking illegal jammers, Harb vowed to reduce the use of the regular network and shift to fiber optics by connecting mobile networks to the ministry’s fiber optic network that does not get affected by natural problems and jamming.

“We also need to conduct an assessment program on a continuous basis in order to specify what is needed to boost the network,” he said.

Harb also said Ogero would be taking some technical measures to support the two mobile operators, adding that this would help improve the quality of mobile services.

The measures will include securing Ogero’s towers in certain areas, securing new microwave dishes for companies to enhance communications and installing generators to make sure mobile networks keep working during power outages.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 28, 2014, on page 5.

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Summary

Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb vowed Wednesday to expand the mobile network and crack down on jammers and repeaters in a bid to improve the quality of services provided by the two mobile operators touch and Alfa.

Harb met Monday and Tuesday with the management of the two mobile operators to discuss the recent deterioration in the quality of calls.

Harb also said Ogero would be taking some technical measures to support the two mobile operators, adding that this would help improve the quality of mobile services.


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