Home | News | North Africa | WiMAX Makes its Debut in North Africa

WiMAX Makes its Debut in North Africa

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
image WiMax's promising applications: from web access to ubiquitous communication

Libya is North Africa's first market to deploy WiMAX, a technology that makes wireless access to the Internet available at a much wider range (up to 50 kilometers) than what Wi-Fi offers today. Built by three leading telecommunications equipment makers, France’s Alcatel, and China’s ZTE and Huawei, this new WiMAX network is meant to accommodate more than a quarter million users. The service will be managed by Libya Telecom and Technology Corporation (LTT), the country’s primary Internet mobile services company.

Libya is North Africa's first market to deploy WiMAX, a technology that makes wireless access to the Internet available at a much wider range (up to 50 kilometers) than what Wi-Fi offers today. Built by three leading telecommunications equipment makers, France’s Alcatel, and China’s ZTE and Huawei, this new WiMAX network is meant to accommodate more than a quarter million users. The service will be managed by Libya Telecom and Technology Corporation (LTT), the country’s primary Internet mobile services company.

The Libyan government signaled its interest in WiMAX when it hired ZTE Corporation to build the first network. ZTE, which has already supplied similar networks to several markets, including the US, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore, will tried its technology on the African continent for the first time through its Libyan engagement.

Libya is not the first in the region to explore the use of WiMAX. Algeria made the first commercial deployment of WiMAX in the Arab World in 2006, using Smart Link Communication (SLC) technology. SLC, an Algerian startup says its goal has been to build a wireless broadband backbone covering the national territory, to develop the metropolitan broadband networks, and to set up an independent new generation telecom infrastructure.

In neighboring Tunisia, Tunisian operator Divona Telecom hired in early 2008 the Canadian company Redline Communications to use its Forum Certified RedMAX products for a five-city WiMAX network. The $1 million network build out is expected to take place in several phases over the next two years, and will connect the five cities of Tunis, Nabeul, Souse, Monastir and Sfax.

Further west, Morocco has also been working to introduce WiMAX and IT giant Intel, a major advocate of this technology has been seeking to help push for wider adoption. In November 2007, Intel’s chairman Craig Barrett announced projects in collaboration with Morocco’s Department of Telecommunications and Information Technology to provide public Internet access centers, and with the Ministry of Education to train teachers and donate computers to schools. Intel and Morocco’s Ministry of ICT have installed a new WiMAX network at Saad Ibn Abi Al Ouakass School. The technology is viewed as a cost-effective way to deliver high-speed Internet access.

But, despite Intel’s direct involvement, the commercial sector has been pushing with its own initiatives. Two service providers obtained in 2005 a license to operate a WiMAX service. They are long-established Meditel, the operator of the country second GSM license and Maroc Connect, traditionally operating as an ISP and recently expanding in the wireless services.

In an online interview, Maroc Connect says it is “very confident in WiMAX capabilities and particularly regarding the development announced on that technology. One of the main arguments is the CAPEX / user will be low enough to allow us to offer disruptive offers on the market.” For its part, Meditel says “it is the technology of the moment and is particularly suited for operators in our position i.e. mobile GSM network operator becoming a multi-service operator challenging the incumbent no access to wired access infrastructures (no unbundling) ambitious service portfolio centered on broadband wireless access.

Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image:

  • email Email to a friend
  • print Print version
  • Plain text Plain text
Tags
No tags for this article
Rate this article
0
Connect with Us
Connect with Us
Click below if you like