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Alfa and Nokia deploy 4.5G Pro technology for ultra-broadband on the evolutionary path to 5G

Press Release

  • Nokia's 5G-ready AirScale radio enables Alfa network to evolve toward 5G
  • Alfa will introduce Gigabit LTE for its subscribers with CAT 16 (category 16)* capable devices
  • Nokia professional services expertise ensures smooth rollout of the new technology

21 Nov 2018

Beirut, Lebanon - Nokia and Alfa, Lebanon's first mobile operator managed by Orascom TMT, will deploy 4.5G Pro technology using the Nokia AirScale 5G-ready radio platform following a recent successful test of the technology. With this, Alfa will be able to introduce Gigabit LTE speeds for its subscribers.

The deployment follows the MOU signed in MWC 2018 and is an important step for Alfa to prepare its network to eventually offer innovative 5G services to its subscribers. This kind of higher-speed broadband will enable them to enjoy data-hungry applications and services such as Ultra High Definition video streaming, e-health and e-education, and can support millions of smart devices connected for Internet of Things (IOT) and smart cities.

Alfa will use Nokia's 5G-ready, commercially available AirScale radio, three-carrier aggregation technique, 4x4 Multiple Input and Multiple Output (MIMO) and 256 QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) to achieve higher throughput, along with Category 16 (Cat 16) capable devices. Such capabilities are critical for operators facing relentless demand for data-driven services and preparing for the advent of 5G networks and services.

Nokia has defined a clear path to 5G through 4.5G Pro and 4.9G. The company already announced 4.5G Pro and 4.9G in September 2016 to enable operators such as Alfa to meet the ever-increasing data demands of their subscribers. 

Marwan Hayek, Chairman and CEO of Alfa, said: "The road to 5G was laid long ago in Lebanon with the launch of the country's first 4.5G network by Alfa. We continue this evolutionary path toward deploying the first 5G network in the country planned in 2019 through this 4.5G Pro deployment with our long-term partner Nokia. This deployment maintains our telecom leadership position and strengthens the foundation for eventual IoT services for smart cities in the country."

Roger Ghorayeb, customer team head for growth in West MEA at Nokia, said: "We are delighted to continue supporting Alfa to quickly move toward 5G technologies and provide pioneering high-quality mobile broadband services. This deployment reiterates our commitment to modernize Alfa's network infrastructure with Nokia's latest technologies."

Solution overview of the deployment:

  • Nokia's 5G-ready, commercially available AirScale Radio Access platform that supports all technologies, allows scalability and agility from Cloud, and is energy efficient, reducing operational expenditure
  • 4X4 MIMO technology using four antennas both on the base stations and mobile devices to improve the network performance
  • Carrier aggregation software to combine an 800 MHz carrier and two 1800 MHz carriers, creating larger, virtual carrier bandwidths and boosting the network capacity
  • 256 QAM higher order modulation to improve the downlink speed
  • Nokia professional services, including Network Planning and Optimization, Project Management, and Network Implementation will be used to ensure smooth implementation of the project


About Alfa
Alfa is Lebanon's first mobile network, managed by Orascom TMT since 2009. It capitalizes on the vast know-how and international expertise of its Management and Leadership to deliver quality and professional solutions to the country's mobile sector. Technology innovation and being the pioneer operator has been a constant focus at Alfa since inception, especially in recent years, introducing the latest global mobile technologies in Lebanon. Alfa achieved several milestones as part of the ongoing technology innovation journey to 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) which it is highly committed to. Among them:
· In 2011, Alfa was the first to launch 3G+ mobile broadband services.
· In 2013, Alfa became the first to commercially roll out 4G-LTE services in the country.
· In 2015, Alfa launched the first live 4G+ site in Lebanon.
· In 2016, Alfa launched the first 4G LTE-A (4G+) network in Lebanon.
Currently, Alfa serves more than 2.1 million subscribers (75% of them data users), through a state-of-the-art network (2G, 3G+, 4G and 4G+/LTE-A) that covers 99% of Lebanon.

About Orascom Telecom Media and Technology
OTMT is a holding company that has investments in companies with operations mainly in Egypt, North Korea, Pakistan, Lebanon and other North African and Middle-Eastern countries. The activities of OTMT are mainly divided into its GSM, media and technology and cable businesses. The GSM activities include mobile telecommunications operations in Egypt, North Korea and Lebanon. The media and technology division consists of OT Ventures/Intouch Communications Service and the OT Ventures Internet portals and other ventures in Egypt, including LINK Development, ARPU+ and LINKonLINE. The cable business focuses on the management of cable networks.

About Nokia
We create the technology to connect the world. Powered by the research and innovation of Nokia Bell Labs, we serve communications service providers, governments, large enterprises and consumers, with the industry's most complete, end-to-end portfolio of products, services and licensing.

We adhere to the highest ethical business standards as we create technology with social purpose, quality and integrity. Nokia is enabling the infrastructure for 5G and the Internet of Things to transform the human experience.

Media Inquiries

Kannan K
Media Relations, Middle East
Phone: +971 529 823 406

Phone: +358 (0) 10 448 4900

Note to editors:
* There are different categories of smart devices supporting different speeds. This is how the phones are categorized as Cat.16 (category 16) can support 1 Gbps.