Vodafone Qatar yesterday launched its commercial LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network under the ‘4G+’ banner, less than a year after its 4G LTE launch in June 2014. In a statement the UK-Qatari company said that ‘70% of our 4G network sites in Qatar are now 4G+ capable giving us the widest 4G+ coverage in Qatar with speeds of up to 150Mbps and an average 30Mbps.’
Vodafone 4G+ is now available inside and outside of the capital Doha covering the following locations:
Inside Doha – Corniche, Gharaffa, Duhail, Madinat Khalifa, Old Airport Area, Al Sadd, Najma, Muntazah, Al Nasr and Abu Hamour;
Outside Doha- Wukhair, Al Khor, Shahaniyah, Saylia and Umm Slal.
Vodafone’s range of LTE-A capable devices include: Huawei Mate 7, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, HTC One M9 and Motorola Nexus 6. Vodafone’s 4G/4G+ network is currently supporting customer data usage of one petabyte per month.
Vodafone Qatar also highlighted its 3G/4G network investment programme which cost more than QAR500 million (USD137 million) in the last five months. In January this year, Vodafone began phase one of a network evolution project by upgrading every network site in Doha – resulting in 65% of its network being replaced with brand new equipment. In addition the company installed 134 new outdoor sites, 42 indoor sites, 290 4G outdoor sites and 25 4G indoor sites, increasing both 3G and 4G coverage, doubling 3G capacity, tripling 4G capacity and tripling data capacity. The areas to benefit from the upgrade included all of greater Doha, as well as Wakra, Wukhair and Al Shahaniya. Vodafone will now commence ‘phase 2’ of the network project to complete the LTE-A upgrade on its remaining cell sites across Qatar. In addition Vodafone will continue to increase the number of indoor and outdoor 4G/4G+ sites across the country.
In a rival statement, the market’s largest operator Ooredoo Qatar stated that its 4G LTE network now offers ‘unmatched’ 96% (outdoor) coverage of the population, without giving a coverage figure for LTE-A. Ooredoo also noted in its release that its LTE-A service – similarly billed as ‘4G+’ – has a top speed of ‘up to 225Mbps, nearly double the average speed in areas of Doha’. Ooredoo’s LTE-A network was commercially launched in December 2014 in sections of Doha with the aim of reaching national coverage in 2015. Furthermore, Ooredoo announced this week it has reached more than three million customers using mobile services (having reported 2.94 million at the end of March 2015), compared to Vodafone Qatar’s 1.4 million.