LTE network plans: Middle East and Africa

Vizz Africa allows African migrants in the UK to send airtime credit to friends and family back home



Zain Bahrain confirmed in August 2009 plans to deploy LTE, and showcased the region‟s first LTE call in March 2010, with a download speed of 70 Mbps. Regulator TRA is consulting on allocation of 2.6 GHz spectrum for LTE commercial deployments.


Vodafone Egypt is trialing LTE technology and has achieved 100 Mbps D/L and 47 Mbps U/L speeds. Mobinil and Etisalat Misr are also trialling LTE.


Zain Jordan is planning commercial LTE launch in 2011. Regulator TRC has invited comments from incumbents on proposals for 2.6 GHz LTE licenses.


Safaricom is trialling LTE in its existing 3G spectrum. Regulatory policy is unclear; the government is reported to have said that LTE licenses will not be awarded to mobile operators, and will launch a tender for a part state-owned company to build a national LTE network to be shared by the mobile operators.


Al Madar announced plans to deploy a LTE network.


The Final Report on Spectrum Allocation Strategy (25 September 2009) prepared for regulator NCC proposes 800 MHz (digital dividend) and re-farmed 900/1800MHz spectrum be made available for LTE.

Leo (Cell One) has deployed GSM and HSPA networks and has confirmed interest in acquiring sub-1GHz spectrum for LTE.


Globacom provides LTE-connectivity to a third party specialist company now providing wireless backhaul services to corporate users in Lagos and other cities. Globacom plans to launch LTE services for mobile users at a future date as devices become available.


Omantel showcased LTE TDD during the Salalah Tourism Festival in July 2010


Vodafone announced the first live demonstration of LTE in Qatar on December 7, 2010 in 800 MHz spectrum.

Qtel has a nationwide 21 Mbps HSPA+ network which is evolving to DC-HSPA+ and is preparing for LTE including a trial planned in 2011.

Saudi Arabia

STC is trialling LTE. The government only permits trials of LTE since the 2.6 GHz band is not yet cleared for commercial use. Zain began deployment in Q2 2010. Etisalat (Mobily) completed LTE testing in March 2010 and plans commercial launch by Q3 2011 in 33 cities, subject to availability of spectrum.

South Africa

Vodacom is showcasing LTE and reportedly has 1,000 LTE-ready sites, with launch planned “when handsets become available”. MTN South Africa is trialling LTE in 1800 MHz spectrum since 2.6 GHz is not currently available. Cell C is reported to be trialling LTE in existing 900 and in test 850 MHz spectrum.


Tunisiana has selected its infrastructure partner to upgrade its network to 3G and LTE.


Regulator TRA has confirmed its target is to release 790 ‒ 862 MHz by end of 2012, however the assignment method is not yet fixed. TRA has also indicated to operators that 2.6 GHz spectrum – if required for LTE – is available.

Following trials, Etisalat plans to commercially launch LTE service in 2.6 GHz spectrum in 2011. The company showcased LTE at Gitex Technology Week in 2010.

Du is now selecting vendors for LTE roll-out, which is expected to be commercially live in 2011.


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