Qatar is rolling out 4G technology that supports ultra-fast internet speeds.
Ooredoo, formerly known as Qtel, has launched its long-term evolution (LTE) service also known as 4G in the country, but iPad and iPhone 5 users will not be able to access the super-speed mobile broadband just yet. The company is launching the service on the 800MHz and 2600MHz band on a phased basis, initially in Doha and the Sealine district and will be available only via dongles and its Mi-Fi device.
There are plans to make the service available on smartphones by the third quarter of this year.
"The LTE spectrum bands that Ooredoo is using are different from the ones used by these devices," said Matthew Reed, the principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. "Most other brands that have launched LTE in this region have included the 1,800MHz band, which is compatible with the iPhone 5."
Users of the Apple devices in Qatar will have to wait until the next upgrade from the US manufacturer to use the LTE services. The company has been in talks with Ooredoo to issue new devices compatible with the spectrum bands being used by the Qatari operator.
LTE is three to six times faster than the current third generation (3G) networks, making it quicker and easier to watch video.
"This is an important day for Qatar and for Ooredoo as we launch the fastest-ever mobile internet. We are taking a bold step forward into the 4G era, with mobile devices seamlessly delivering online content," said Waleed Al Sayed,the chief operating officer at Ooredoo. "We will be adding to the total number of towers supporting 4G throughout the year."
Qatar follows the UAE and Saudi Arabia in launching LTE. Ooredoo expects to cover the entire country with LTE by the end of next year.