Qatar telecom operator cuts mobile broadband rates by 90 percent

September 25th, 2008 - 12:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Sep 25 (IANS) Qatar’s leading telecom provider Qtel has announced reduction by 90 percent on additional data download charges for its mobile broadband service.Under the new rates, all out-of-bundle charges for mobile broadband services will be reduced by 90 percent, with prices being set at 0.1 Qatari riyal ($0.02) for every additional megabyte (MB) downloaded over the data allowance.

“Qtel will continue to offer Lite, Plus and Max packages, offering different levels of data allowance, but users will now pay significantly less if they exceed their allotted download level,” the telecom operator said in a statement.

The new service was launched this summer and has proved very popular among users.

“By reducing the out-of-bundle charges so significantly, Qtel will remove customers’ concerns about surfing beyond their data allowance, and so emancipate them to fully engage with the internet,” said Adel Al Mutawa, Qtel’s executive director for group communications.

Qtel has invested significantly in building an advanced 3G and 3.5G networks in the region.

Through the mobile broadband service and special data-only SIM cards, users can access the internet via a USB modem or any data device in areas across Qatar at similar speeds to those enjoyed by customers on an ADSL broadband connection in the home, the company said.

Though the mobile broadband service is available to customers on international roaming, Qtel said that roaming charges were typically set by the operator in the host country.

It cautioned that these charges do not get reflected in the monthly data allowance and can add significantly to the overall cost.

Qtel’s move comes even as it lost its monopoly status in Qatar’s telecom market.

A consortium comprising Vodafone and Qatar Foundation was granted Qatar’s second telecom licence for both fixed line and mobile services and the new operator is expected to start services by the first quarter of next year.

Earlier this month, Qtel had reported record profits of 655 million Qatari riyals ($180 million) in the second quarter of 2008 ending June 30, an increase of 59 percent from the same period last year.

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