Vodafone Qatar’s Mobile Network has Developed Well and is Now Strong and Ready to be Tested by You!

28 June, 2010:  In just one year, Vodafone Qatar has undergone the huge task of building a mobile telecommunications network from scratch, which now covers 100% of the population and national geography.

"Vodafone is commited  to continue investing in this  network to make sure it  continually enhances  our  customers'  experience and will provide innovative high quality services," said Vodafone Qatar's Chief Technology Officer, Jenny Howe.

In a presentation to the media, Vodafone Qatar CEO, Grahame Maher explained that Vodafone's network deployment has progessed well and the quality is significantly stronger than at Vodafone's launch of commercial services,  back in September 2009.

"All major critical build milestones are expected to to be completed by October this year and I invite all people in Qatar to get a Vodafone SIM and try it," said Grahame Maher.  

To date, Vodafone has 390 outdoor sites.  Most of these  sites are 3G UMTS 900 enabled, giving customers unmatched  3G indoor and remote area coverage for using Mobile Internet and high speed mobile data services.  UMTS 900 is the latest technical development of networks around the world. Vodafone Qatar is the leading operator in the Vodafone organisation to deploy this technology, with a higher percentage of UMTS 900 sites than any other country in the world, and Qatar is one of the leading countries in the Middle East in launching this technology.

In addition to outdoor sites, Vodafone Qatar's In-Building coverage is now 60% complete with 63 In-Building Solutions in key locations across Qatar that provides high quality services. Vodafone is working on increasing the number of indoor solutions to 100 by year-end and is currently enhancing the In-Building coverage in the new towers of the man made island-The Pearl.

"Vodafone introduced to Qatar a new way to build networks and introduced tower and indoor sharing. This innovation has not been utilised in the region previously.  Sharing not only saves money, but is much more environmentally friendly and of course is more aesthetically pleasing to the Qatari landscape," said Grahame Maher.

Vodafone does this all around the world and has successfully encouraged operators including Qtel to share with each operator placing its equipment on the one tower. Qtel's practice has been to share land but this does NOT achieve the benefits of improving costs and appearances.

Vodafone Qatar is pleased to announce that it is successfully sharing Vodafone built towers with Qtel and is expecting that Qtel will soon reciprocate by allowing Vodafone to share its towers as well. Vodafone is also encouraging Qtel to share their indoor coverage solutions in The Pearl and other new sites they have constructed. Vodafone expects that Qtel will now share some of their indoor solutions in the buildings Vodafone has not yet covered.

"This innovation and solutions are another example of the benefits that Vodafone has brought to Qatar and it is how we can continue to reduce the cost of operations that will mean better services and better value for all the people in Qatar," said Grahame Maher

In addition, other innovations have been the steps Vodafone has taken to make its radio base stations blend into the Qatari landscape.

"These camouflage radio base stations help reduce visual pollution by better integrating wireless base stations into the country's skyline. Qtel has done this well in areas like the West Bay but there is scope for more and more of these solutions to be deployed and shared," said Jenny Howe.

One example of these camouflage radio base stations are the solutions designed with the Ministry of Awqaf which mimic the country's towering and graceful minarets, making them virtually undetectable. More so, the overall look of the country is enhanced and the views of its gardens, places of worship and tourist sites are protected, while improving mobile phone coverage in these densely populated areas.

There are more ideas and camouflage solutions to come including innovations in playgrounds and signs that actually support mobile towers. These innovations have been achieved with the support of Qatar's Urban Planning and Development Authority (UPDA), ictQATAR and the Qatari Government.

"As a result of working with the UPDA, Vodafone has made good progress towards replacing most  temporary radio sites with permanent sites by October. By the end of October we will have only  60 out of the original 172 temporary sites left in areas where building work on sites is not yet completed," said Stelios Savvides, Senior Radio Network Designer & Planner, Vodafone Qatar.

As for fixed services, Vodafone Qatar is currently building high speed fiber links to their international landing station and other key locations which when complete will improve the current experiences and value for customers that require high-speed international broadband and business data services.

Vodafone recently announced that it has switched on broadband services in The Pearl with residents and businesses enjoying high speed internet access on a trial basis pending commercial launch that will be in the next 30 days.

Ultimately, Vodafone believes the future for Qatar is in building "the National Broadband Network" which is another innovative sharing model that will provide all people in Qatar true high speed internet at affordable levels.

"This will only be achieved by Vodafone, Qtel and the Qatari Government working in partnership. If we do this well we can deploy the most advanced "Fibre to the home" network in the region and put Qatar on the map globally as one of the most connected societies in the world," said Grahame Maher.

 "ictQATAR have the chance to really define the future of this country and I expect it will be a great success. As Vodafone we want to bring our knowledge, capability and global expertise to the 70% Qatari owned Vodafone Qatar and help Qatar achieve His and Her Highnesses' Vision 2030," continued Grahame Maher.




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