Qatari incumbent Ooredoo has launched what it claims is the first 3G network in Algeria, where it is the smallest of the country’s three mobile network operators.
In a statement, Ooredoo (Doha, Qatar) – formerly known as Qtel – said it had switched on its network in the country’s ten biggest cities just hours after getting the final regulatory sign-off.
Although it promises its 3G services will be available “at no additional cost”, the operator requires customers to procure a second 3G-enabled number (which it will supply) and add this to their SIM cards.
The strategy of pricing services at the same level as 2G ones is designed to make 3G accessible to as many Algerians as possible, says Ooredoo, and mimics the approach being taken on 4G by operators in various European markets.
“We’re proud to say that our 3G network went live within 10 days of finalizing the licensing process and within 12 hours of receiving final approval from the regulator,” said Joseph Ged, Ooredoo Algeria’s chief executive.
The company says it will unveil more special internet packages in the months ahead and insists it is “working hard” on expanding its network across the country.
Ooredoo also claims to have switched on 3G services in Tunisia this year, and says it has activated its 4G network in Qatar, Quwait, Oman and the Maldives.
The operator trails Djezzy (Algiers, Algeria) and Mobilis (Algiers, Algeria) in Algeria’s mobile market with about a quarter of all subscribers, or 9.3 million customers.
Claiming to cover about 99% of the population with its mobile network, it generated revenues of $700.2 million over the first nine months of the year.