Category Archives: Technology

Did The Internet In Lebanon Really Slow Down Recently?

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Screenshot_2014-07-14-09-06-03-1 My Alfa 4G speedtest results

I’ve been told by a couple of people that the internet is really bad lately in Lebanon, but personally speaking I couldn’t relate to what they are saying as I haven’t been experiencing any unusual slowness. My Alfa 4G connection is lightening fast and I’ve consumed the whole 5GB last month before my cycle ended. The 4MB Ogero DSL connection I have at work is very fast and the only issues we had lately were with our router and Ogero who were doing some maintenance a couple of weeks back. The 1Mb Ogero DSL connection I have at my parent’s house is still decent but I still can’t upgrade it due to the old phone cables. Added to that, I upgraded my Touch 3.9G dongle to the 4G dongle (which looks very ugly by the way) and I’ve been using it in different areas without any issues.

I don’t know about other providers like IDM, Sodetel or Wise but I haven’t noticed any change lately. Of course there’s no more free night traffic but this should rather improve the connection than slow it down.

Don’t get me wrong as I am not saying the internet situation is ideal in Lebanon, but I haven’t noticed any changes lately which is a good and a bad thing at the same time.

Lebanese Amhaz Electronics Hit By U.S. Sanctions

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As far as I know, Ahmaz people were not really hiding their political allegiance, so they must have seen it coming. For those of you who don’t know Stars Group, they basically mobile phones to the majority of shops in Lebanon and always get the new phones ahead of others somehow.

As the Treasury Department announced today, the United States targeted a key Hizbullah procurement network by designating brothers Kamel Mohamad Amhaz and Issam Mohamad Amhaz; their business, Stars Group Holding, which is based in Beirut and has subsidiaries in China and the UAE; and certain managers and individuals who supported their illicit activities,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Later on Thursday, a Stars Group manager denied the accusations in remarks to LBCI television, saying his firm had not yet received the sanctions decree in an official manner. “Hizbullah relies heavily on front companies such as Stars Group Holding, which continue to procure dual-use material for the organization to enhance its military capabilities,” the State Department said in its statement.

It accused Stars Group Holding of covertly purchasing sophisticated electronics and other technology from suppliers around the world, including “a range of engines, communications, electronics, and navigation equipment.”

No More Free Night Traffic For Ogero DSL Users

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According to this article, free night traffic is no longer be available for Ogero DSL internet users and will be replaced by a 2Mbps unlimited plan for 75,000LL (50$).

Given that the prices were slashed by more than 80% and the quotas were multiplied by 10 times for some packages, I don’t think taking out the free night traffic will affect a lot of users specially that there’s an unlimited option now for just 50$. In fact, it might improve the internet connection between midnight and 7am as the free night traffic was killing it. What remains to be seen is how this unlimited package works and how the fair usage policy will be applied.

Moreover, a lot of areas in Lebanon still can’t get more than a 1Mbps connection, which sucks and makes the new packages useless for them.

Over 3 Million Internet Users In Lebanon By 2017

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According to a study conducted by Madar Research & Development center, 69.2 percent of the Lebanese population will be using the internet by the end of 2017, as opposed to just 45.1 percent in 2012. That means we will reach 3.2 million users in 2017 and will have the 5th highest number of internet users in the Arab World, after Bahrain (87.4 percent), Kuwait (73.7 percent), Morocco (72.4 percent) and the United Arab Emirates (72.2 percent).

Of course what matters most is that we have an internet as quick and abundant as the ones in other Arab countries and it looks like we are on the right path.

via DailyStar

Lebanese Sam Ghobril’s Mingle App for iPhone

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I read that the app reached the top of the productivity apps list on the App Store but that’s for the Lebanese App store of course. Nevertheless, Ghobril’s app “Mingle” has been performing quick well worldwide as you can see in the below screenshot. It reached the #4 rank in the productivity apps list in France and #5 in the UAE.

Moreover, Mingle has got some pretty cool reviews from Tech Crunch and Minimal Mac among others. Sarah Perez from TechCrunch described the app as “a cleaner and less sluggish type of contacts application”. I don’t know if I would make use of such an app but it’s definitely worth a try.

Sam is still in high school by the way which is pretty cool!

You can check out Sam’s [website] and download the app [Here].

Mingle was built from the ground up to make connecting with your contacts faster, easier, and more enjoyable in every way!

Some of Mingle’s greatest features:

Super fast & intuitive interface
Numerous actions to fit your every need, from Phone to Twitter to Fantastical interactions
Custom actions, where the possibilities are endless

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PS: Thanks Mustapha for the Appannie tip.

New 3G/4G Plans Go Into Effect Today

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photo (1) My wife’s 3G plan got upgraded from 750MB to 1.5GB

If you are an Alfa or Touch user and your cycle ended yesterday, then your 3G/4G plans were updated as of today. Otherwise, you will have to wait till your cycle ends and not July 1st to get the new plan. That’s too bad as I’ve exceeded my quota by some 400MB this month and still have to wait till June 8th. As for the DSL rates, they will go into effect on July 1st.

If you haven’t heard about the new DSL & 3G rates introduced a couple of weeks back by the Telecom Ministry, check them out [Here].

New DSL & 3G Rates In Lebanon

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Telecom Minister Boutros Harb announced today the new rates in regards to the DSL and 3G in Lebanon. Unlike what was previously announced, the rates will be effective starting July 1st and not June 1st. Here are the changes introduced:

- There will be an unlimited internet service offered for the 2Mbps DSL speeds.
- Postpaid customers will get 60 min for free for the $15 charge they were paying monthly.
- Getting a fixed line will cost now 12,000LL instead of 50,000LL.
- For Prepaid lines, one minute will cost now 25 cents (instead of 36 cents), and an SMS 5 cents (instead of 9 cents).

The new DSL rates are practically the same as the ones I posted a week ago. You can check them out [Here] and I posted below the summary I wrote previously:

The DSL 1Mbps (4G and 10G), and the 2Mpbs (20GB) plans will be cancelled and replaced with the 2Mpbs (40GB) and priced at 24,000LL per month which was the lowest rate available. A new 2Mbps service (Unlimited) plan will be introduced and priced at 75,000LL monthly. Moreover the 4Mbps (25GB) will be upgraded to 50GB and its price slashed by more than 50% (From 115,000 LL to 50,000 LL per month). The 6 & 8Mbps plans will also get double the quotas at half the original pricing. Moving on to the HDSL, and I really hope this is true, we will get 80GB instead of 40GB at almost half the price (125,000 LL instead of 225,000 LL).

Moving on to the 3G/4G plans, and this is awesome news, 10$ will now get you 500MB instead of 150, 19$ will get you 1.5GB instead of 750 Mb and 29$ will get you 5GB instead of the current 1.5GB plan.

PS: Screenshots taken from WalidKaram.

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Are These The New DSL Internet Rates In Lebanon?

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Note: Telecom Minister Boutros Harb did not confirm the below rates and said he will announce them officially on Friday 23rd of May.

The above table has been circulating around for the past couple of days after the Lebanese government approved a proposal to lower phone call rates and internet costs. This is NOT an official list as the Telecom Minister will be holding a Press Release soon but it seems logical and is much-needed upgrade from what we have right now.

To sum it up:
The DSL 1Mbps (4G and 10G), and the 2Mpbs (20GB) plans will be cancelled and replaced with the 2Mpbs (40GB) and priced at 24,000LL per month which was the lowest rate available. A new 2Mbps service (Unlimited) plan will be introduced and priced at 75,000LL monthly. Moreover the 4Mbps (25GB) will be upgraded to 50GB and its price slashed by more than 50% (From 115,000 LL to 50,000 LL per month). The 6 & 8Mbps plans will also get double the quotas at half the original pricing. Moving on to the HDSL, and I really hope this is true, we will get 80GB instead of 40GB at almost half the price (125,000 LL instead of 225,000 LL). There was no mention of the 3G plans after the last government session, but I heard we might get double the quotas at the same or a reduced price as well so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

While these are great news, there’s still a major problem for a lot of Lebanese outside Beirut as their phone lines don’t allow them to get more than a 1Mbps connection and won’t be able to benefit from these speeds. I still have this issue at my parents’ house in Jounieh and I am not sure if they’re working on fixing it or not.