Qtel is embarking on a fourth generation (4G) long term evolution (LTE) network, capable of delivering high definition (HD) video on demand and mobile TV across Qatar, in spite of recent reports it was in no rush to upgrade existing 3G infrastructure.
The telecommunications operator has set aside over QR200 million (US$54.92 million) to realise the project, which will see Qtel deploy 900 base stations to achieve data download speeds of up to 150Mbps.
"Qtel was among the first companies in the region to trial this technology. We completed the test phase for this technology with two potential vendors in July, and it was extremely successful," said Waleed Al Sayed, chief operating officer, Qtel.
"Previously, we have said we would launch this technology when it reached maturity and when a full range of devices were available. We have received assurances that a full range of devices will be launched in Qatar over the next year, and have begun the launch process for this technology," he added.
Two telecommunications providers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – namely Etisalat of the UAE and Saudi's Mobily – have already announced the launch of their LTE mobile networks.
Before now, Qtel has stressed its priority is implementing the on going fibre to the home (FTTH) project across the Gulf state.
Waleed Al Sayed added: "Qtel continues to invest in the Broadband Qatar strategy, which aims to provide one of the fastest, most reliable broadband networks in the world to the people of Qatar.
"Matching the incredible speeds offered to homes and businesses by the deployment of Qtel Fibre, this project will offer high-speed and high quality Internet for mobile devices," he said.
The regulator provided the telco with an additional 800 MHz spectrum to conduct the LTE trial earlier this year, but ictQatar is yet to award Qtel with frequency to support its 4G network roll out.