Ooredoo launches ultrafast mobile internet, with caveats

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Ooredoo will roll out its super-fast 4G mobile broadband network across Doha tomorrow, the company has announced.

The service, which is three to six times faster than the existing 3G internet, will allow users to stream high-definition videos and access their high-bandwidth content while on the move. But 4G is only guaranteed to work outdoors, won’t come cheap and doesn’t work on smartphones yet.

To get 4G, customers must first subscribe to Ooredoo’s Unlimited Mobile Broadband service for QR400 a month. Then, to access the 4G service an additional subscription to Ooredoo’s 4G Key is required, which costs QR60 monthly. Users will also have to buy either a QR599 USB stick or a 4G QR999 MiFi device that allows up to 10 devices to be connected at once. 

The best places to use 4G are: The Pearl, Katara, West Bay, the Corniche, Souq Waqif, Aspire Park and Sealine Resort. A map of coverage zones can be found here and full coverage of Qatar is expected to be achieved by the end of 2014. 

According to Ooredoo’s FAQs page:

Ooredoo’s 4G coverage is the strongest outdoors, the indoor coverage varies by construction materials, the design of the building, your position inside. Indoor coverage is our best effort but we cannot guarantee the same speeds as for outdoor coverage.

During this afternoon’s press conference, Oooredoo officials stressed that the rollout is in its preliminary stages. Smartphones will not be able to access the 4G network until at least September, and there is no timeline for offering Shahry and Hala packs, though those are also part of the plan.

Over the past seven months, a few hundred residents have been testing out the service. They will be able to use their Ooredoo-provided devices for free for the next weeks and hold on to them, officials said at a press conference this afternoon.

Do you plan to subscribe to this service?

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Credit: Photo courtesy of Shiva Singh on Twitter

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