Category Archives: Technology

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.

Telecom Ministry: Higher And Cheaper Internet Speeds Within A Month

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Picture via MayaZankoul

Lebanon’s Telecom Minister Boutros Harb is promising faster and cheaper internet speeds within a month as well as unlimited plans. He’s also talking to the Wall Street Journal about fiber optics and implementing Law 431, which would allow free competition in the telecom market and stop the duopoly led by Alfa and Touch.

These are very ambitious plans to accomplish within few months, but I can only wish him good luck as these are all positive steps that would help make the internet better in Lebanon. I don’t think the government will allow competition as it will cut down its revenues from the Telecom sector but faster and cheaper internet speeds are great news. The first change introduced by Harb on prepaid cards wasn’t relevant to the majority of mobile users in Lebanon, so let’s wait and see if any of these more suitable demands is implemented.

Samsung Galaxy S5 – Sneak Peek

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I got a sneak peek at the Samsung Galaxy S5 yesterday and I will definitely consider buying it once it’s out or at least after a while. The reason I said after a while is because I’ve always had issues with the early Samsung releases and prices usually drop after 2 or 3 months.

The S5 is basically an enhanced version of the S4, featuring:
- A 5.1” FHD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) Screen
- Quad Core (Snapdragon?) Processor and 2GB of Rams.
- A 16MP (1/2.6”, Phase Detection AF) Front Camera
- A more performant battery (2800mAh)
- 4G LTE-Enabled Network

To be honest, I’ve been very satisfied with the Samsung S4 I’m carrying since last year, and before that the Note2 and I’ve used the Note3 for a while. However, the two things that bothered me the most were the amount of useless features that we get with the Samsung phones, and the processors. I remember being excited at first about trying out the “Air View” and “Smart Pause” and “Smart Stay” when the S4 came out but they are basically useless and annoying features. As for the processors, the Note2 had a problem with its processors (Sudden Death Chips) which made me sell it, and the S4 was lightening fast when I got it (camera was crashing though), but it has become sluggish with time after I loaded it with apps and data.

There are five special features that caught my attention during the presentation yesterday:
1- The S5 is dust and water resistant. It doesn’t mean that you can swim with it, but it won’t let water inside if you spill your drink by mistake on it.
2- There’s an “Ultra Power Saving Mode” that would let you use 10% of your battery for around 24 hours. It basically shuts down all unnecessary features and changes your screen to black and white. It’s a useful feature but I would prefer if Samsung and other smartphone companies spent their money on a battery that lasts longer.
3- The Download Booster which lets use your LTE and WIFI together for an enhanced network experience. I don’t think I will be using it much in Lebanon as our 3G quotas are ridiculously low.
4- What I also loved in the S5 is the camera shortcut on the lock screen (just like the iPhone).
5- The back cover is much better than the Note3 fake leather one but I don’t know if it’s better than the plastic one. It feels weird to be honest.

A full review will follow when I get to try out the phone properly. I am not sure when the phone will be launched officially and the price will be around 800$ (VAT Included).

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50% Reduction On Local and International Phone Calls For Telecarte and Kalam Prepaid Cards

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Telecom Minister Boutros Harb announced that the prices of phone calls made through prepaid cards will be slashed by 50% for land line calls and 30% for cellular phone calls. International calls were also made cheaper by 50%. Prices will be adjusted starting April 1st which is today.

Here are the old and new rates:
- LL50 instead of LL100 per minute of call from a landline.
- LL100 instead of LL200 per minute of call from a mobile line.
- LL300 instead of LL600 between 7am and 10pm for international calls (LL100 instead of LL200 for the rest of the day).

Of course any reduction in prices is always welcome, even though the above are irrelevant to me and many Lebanese, but what we really need are better internet quotas at the moment at lower prices. Moreover, these unbelievably high subscription fees for postpaid lines should be lowered. Anyway, I think it’s too early to judge Minister Harb as he’s been in office for a couple of weeks now, so let’s just hope he fulfills all his promises which include unlimited internet, deployment of fiber optics, better DSL coverage and an enhanced 3G service.

New Telecom Minister Boutros Harb To Lower Mobile Phone Rates

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Telecom Minister Boutros Harb tweeted yesterday that he asked Alfa and Touch to revise the contracts signed with the state in an attempt to improve the quality of services and reduce the cost of cellular calls. I honestly don’t think Harb has enough time to make drastic changes but as Matt stated, he could suggest new rates for mobile phone users and let the cabinet vote on them.

I hope it works out and I wish Minister Harb would consider increasing these ridiculously low data plans without additional cost.