Some smartphone owners in central Doha recently received a major speed boost last month after Ooredoo Qatar activated the latest generation of mobile data technology for its customers.
So-called 4G+, or long-term evolution (LTE) advanced networks, offer speeds twice as fast as 4G, which was rolled out in Qatar in 2013 and 2014.
According to Qatar’s largest telecom provider, the networks offer a theoretical top speed of 225 megabits per second (mbps) – which would allow users to almost instantly download a two-minute, 20-megabyte video clip, for example.
However, Ooredoo added that customers would realistically see speeds of between 40 and 50 mbps – which would be fast enough to download the same video clip in four seconds, according to rough calculations.
That’s up from 15 to 20 mbps on Ooredoo’s standard 4G network and 2-3mbps on 3G.
To put it in different terms, an Ooredoo spokesperson said in practice, 4G+ users should be able to download a one-gigabyte file in less than 30 seconds and stream HD films with no buffering or waiting time.
Additionally, video calls could be made in high resolution at the same quality as over fiber, the spokesperson said.
But for now, the caveat is that new, higher speeds are currently only accessible on four devices, meaning only a fraction of Ooredoo customers will notice a difference.
According to Ooredoo’s website, those with the Huawei E5786, Samsung Galaxy Alpha, Huawei Ascend Mate7 and Samsung Galaxy Note Edge can use the 4G+ network.
It is not clear yet, then, how many users in Qatar have access to the new technology.
The new network covers the area around the Corniche, West Bay Lagoon, Katara, Souq Waqif, Al Rayyan, Al Shahaniya and Sealine, Ooredoo said.
Like 4G services, customers do not have to pay an additional fee to access 4G+ speeds on Ooredoo’s network, a spokesperson said.
Some have previously argued that higher speeds encourage mobile data consumers to spend more money with their provider because they are able to burn through their data plans faster and consume more content in a set period of time.
Rival telecom firm Vodafone Qatar is also planning to introduce a 4G+ network for its customers, but a spokesperson was not immediately available to say when it would come online.
Talks of 5G
Meanwhile, Ooredoo is also eying even greater speeds.
Its chief new business officer, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad bin Nasser Al Thani, recently told the Qatar Tribune that he wants his company to be the first telecom provider in the world to offer a 5G network to its customers.
According to a BBC report, some researchers believe it will be possible to reach speeds of 800 gigabites per second – fast enough to download 33 high-definition films in a single second.
However, 5G networks are not expected to make a commercial debut before 2020.
Good job. Now more importantly, when will you be able to brag about bringing affordability into the pricing of your products Ooredoo?
Also, how about sorting out the ridiculous roaming fees for data around the GCC?
I love this tech stuff in Qatar. One of the things it gets right.
If only the network of cheap Chinese switch gear could handle capacity at peak times and/or handoff a call properly.
Country with such a high GDP, still trying to cut costs with cheap equipment! Top notch, half baked!
I have never experienced a country with so many cell handoff faults. I’m not sure you can blame Huawei as almost everyone uses their stuff these days, and don’t have these issues.
It generally is a host of interconnected issues. Huawei has come a long way from being a knockoff CISCO to a sort of knockoff CISCO, but performance wise, they are still a long way off in what is currently installed and running across Doha. More likely it is interference issues in poorly managed spectrum and/or bad configurations of the neighbor cells, but there are more intelligent technical architectures that handle both of this issues better within other competitor’s equipment. In the end, the issue really boils down to cutting corners at every possible turn to drive up net return. Really, why concern yourself with quality service when you have a monopoly on the service itself (whether direct or indirect use of the same network by different providers).
La! I need 6G!
7G is better.
“However, Ooredoo added that customers would realistically see speeds of between 40 and 50 mbps – which would be fast enough to download the same video clip in four seconds”
This is a joke. I have the 150mbps myfi and I never got more than 2mbps. This one I assume will be slightly better, but definitely not in the crazy numbers they mention. If you want real high speeds go for fibre.
Unfortunately the marketing people got a bit out of hand. Our MiFi can
get anywhere between 1.5 and 22Mbps depending on location. The 3-8Mbps
range seems to be the most common.
LTE/4G is very dependent on signal strength so things like distance from the tower and how many walls between your device and mast, drastically interfere with the speed. The radio cells also need to be smaller to increase coverage and reduce contention.
I tested it once in the Dafna area and found 18mbps, though I cannot say if it is the common speed there or just a once-in-a-while thing. I lived in the Old Ghanim, AlSadd and now the Old Aiprort, and in the 3 areas I did not get more than 2mbps. In AlSadd actually it was so slow I almost gave up using it.
Talking about the marketing guys, I remember in the UK few years ago there was a discussion about introducing a law forcing ISPs to mention the real speed and not the theoretical one. I am not sure if they went ahead with it, but it says a lot about how misleading those theoretical numbers are.
Be it 3G or 5G, the more the merrier..!
Woo, now you can hit your data cap in 1 hour instead of 2!
Reliability beats speed any day.
Any timeframe for VoLTE?
Any timeframe for IPv6?
I’m ok with 3g even!! just make the internet cheaper!!