By Mohammad Ghazal – Sep 07,2015 – Last updated at Sep 07,2015
AMMAN — Umniah, a subsidiary of Batelco Bahrain, said Monday it will invest $500 million to introduce Fourth Generation (4G) services in the Kingdom and upgrade its network.
The company said the investment, which includes $100 million as licence fees to provide 4G services, will be spent between 2015 and 2017.
More than 1,600 towers will be installed across the Kingdom to start providing the service by early 2016, said Ihab Hinnawi, the company’s CEO.
“At launch time, the service will cover 90 per cent of the populated areas in Jordan,” Hinnawi told reporters, adding that it will provide high data transfer speeds of up to 150 megabits per second.
It will also meet demand on data consumption, which is expected to increase between 10 per cent and 15 per cent in the next few years, he said.
Zain Jordan and Orange Jordan also offer 4G services in the Kingdom.
ICT Minister Majd Shweikeh said the launch of the service will play an important role in realising Jordan’s aspirations in becoming a regional ICT hub.
4G services are a step towards the Internet of Things, where everything is connected and is likely to increase usage of e-services, said the minister, noting that some 70 per cent of the mobile devices in use are smartphones.
Ghazi Jbour, chief commissioner of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, said providing 4G services and increasing coverage across the Kingdom play an important role in realising a knowledge-based economy and boosting e-education and e-health services.
According to figures by the commission, the number of Internet users in Jordan reached almost 6 million by the end of the first quarter of this year with Internet penetration at 76 per cent.
Mobile penetration reached 147 per cent at the end of March with 11.5 million active mobile subscriptions.
Although global figures and studies show that 4G is still a nascent technology, recent research by the Arab Advisors Group shows that nine Arab countries already provide 4G services, while 17 provide 3G services.