4G Live Test reaching peak of 100Mbits/s – Picture taken by @NicolaSehanoui
“Let’s Connect” took place yesterday at the Beirut Digital District where Telecom Ministry Nicolas Sehnaoui talked about the progress done by his ministry between June 2011 and June 2012 and announced plans for the launch of the 4G service next year. You can read the one-year report [Here].
I was unfortunately unable to attend the event but I have to say there’s been a significant improvement in the 3G and DSL services over the past year not just in Beirut but also outside it. In fact, I had major issues with the DSL in the first few months (I live in Jounieh) whereas it would disconnect for no reason or slow down but I haven’t had any noticeable problems for at least the past 3-4 months. As far as the 3G is concerned, the coverage is much better and the service is more reliable but there are still a lot of areas without a decent 3G coverage and I am not talking about villages in the middle of nowhere but major cities like Jounieh and some areas inside Beirut (Achrafieh Sioufi for example).
In July 2012, Touch network already consisted of 5,612 antennas and 15 mobile stations, while Alfa’s had 4,505 antennas and 15 mobile stations.
This being said, no one can deny the improvement in the internet service over the past year but there are still few points I’d like to highlight:
- I’ve had DSL for almost a year now but cannot upgrade from the 1 MBPS I have because that’s the maximum speed my phone line and the “Centrale” in Jounieh can handle.
- There’s a major problem related to the availability of landlines in some areas like in Jbeil where you can’t apply for a new phone number because the network is full.
- There should be a decent alternative to DSL as there isn’t any at the moment. Mobi and Wise are terribly slow and the 3G dongles and routers plans are ridiculous.
- The 3G launch in Lebanon could have been much better had the infrastructure been ready for such a thing. I hope that we won’t be facing the same problem with the 4G launch.
- 3G prices are great but the caps need to be increased.
On a last note, I am glad the Ministry of Telecommunications’ website was taken down and is now under construction. [Website]
I really wasn’t interested in the iPad mini when it was first announced and didn’t think it made sense until I took it out of the box and held it in my hands. Now I’m wondering if there is a purpose for the regular sized iPad. The new iPad mini feels a lot lighter and slimmer than my now huge iPad 3 and I really LOVE the black anodized aluminum finish on the back.
Once I downloaded Zinio and the latest issue of Backpacker Magazine I realized why I’d rather have my iPad 3 over the mini. The problem with most of the magazines on Zinio is that they were originally intended for print in sizes similar to that of the regular iPad. Since the iPad mini is smaller, all the text in the magazines become smaller as well and makes it a lot more difficult to read. The fact the iPad mini doesn’t have a retina display isn’t helping its case either.
But for a first impression, other than the issue I would have reading magazines on it the iPad mini does make sense. I’ve stopped carrying my iPad when I travel and instead have been carrying my 13″ MacBook Air and my Kindle because it didn’t make sense to carry iPad 3 and MacBook Air at the same time. If I had the iPad mini on the other hand I wouldn’t mind taking it along since it wouldn’t be adding that much weight or size.
No idea if anyone in Lebanon has the iPad mini yet, mine was a review unit from Xcite.
Lebanon’s telecommunications minister signed a memorandum of understanding with leading firm Intel to provide low-cost tablet computers to Lebanese public school students. “The project aims to create multifaceted educational solutions and lay the foundation for long-term added value economic projects that will boost growth,” Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui said at the signing ceremony held at recently opened technology center Beirut Digital District. [Link]
Update: I don’t follow the tablets’ market that closely and I thought Intel-powered tablets aren’t that bad. However, after having read Mustapha’s post, I have to agree that while the initiative of getting affordable tablets to Lebanese public school students is good, distributing MANDRIVAs instead of iPads and Android-powered tablets is a bad idea as we are selling them worthless technology. Read BeirutSpring’s full post [Here].
The tablets will have both WiFi and 3G connectivity, along with some educational material and Intel’s business mentorship program. The pilot project will provide around 1,500 tablets to 10th and 11th grade classes in 15 public high schools across the country. According to Education Minister Hassan Diab, every public high school student should have a tablet PC by 2014.
This is a good initiative and should be followed by creating more free WIFI spots around schools and in major cities and public places. Also, Public School Students should be given free 3G subscription plans by Alfa and Touch.
People of Leb is a new iPhone app that offers information about famous Lebanese figures as well as statistics on the Lebanese as a whole. Some of the stats provided consist of the number of voters by religion in Lebanon and the biggest families with their count.
It’s an interesting app to have if it gets updated frequently but I am not very encouraged to buy it when there’s so little information about it. The company behind the app should tell us more about the stats and information they are selling us and more importantly the source of that information to see if it’s worthy buying or not.
If you read closely what is written in the two hearts below the iPhone, you get:
- Think twice before you cheat on her: Buy your husband an iPhone and we will teach you how to monitor him.
- Think twice before you cheat on your husband: Buy your wife an iPhone and we will teach you how to monitor her.
They should have said: Why buy an iPhone 5 when you can buy 3 iPhone 4 at the same price?
I’ve asked 4 mobile stores already and they all gave me prices between 1200$ and 1350$. I also saw a price close to 1300$ on the internet. Added to that, the Nano SIM won’t be an issue as they’ve figured out a way to turn the micro SIM into a Nano SIM.
Is it worth it? Definitely not! It’s almost 500$ more expensive than its original price outside.
I was leaving the house this morning when I got a phone call from Xcite, a local electronics store here in Kuwait letting me know they received the new iPhone 5 and if I was interested in picking it up to check it out. Luckily traffic wasn’t that bad and I was over at their head office 15 minutes later picking up the phone.
The new iPhone 5 looks smaller than my iPhone 4s even though it’s taller. It looks very slick and slim while the iPhone 4s which I didn’t have a problem with an hour ago now looks pretty bulky sitting next to the iPhone 5 on my desk. I have the black iPhone 5 with me which is black all over including the side trimming which is what is also helping the iPhone 5 look smaller than it actually is.
Even though I was expecting the iPhone 5 to be light based on the reviews I read online, I wasn’t expecting it to feel this much lighter than the 4s. It’s really the first thing that grabbed my attention when I picked it up and it kinda feels like the phone is hollow on the inside. The second thing that grabbed my attention was the aluminum back of the phone. To me it doesn’t look or feel like aluminum but more like a plastic. I think it’s because I was expecting the metal to have some sort of texture which is doesn’t.
The iPhone 5 uses a new nano sim card which non of the Lebanese telecom providers have released yet. So right the now the only way to get the iPhone 5 working is by cutting up and sanding down your sim card to the size of the nano card. It’s not that difficult to do and you can watch the video below to see how.
Update: Al Arabiya removed the article, Naharnet posted it without checking the source as well [Link].
Update2: Naharnet removed it as well.
I read this piece of news in Al Arabiya earlier this morning and posted about it, but as I was looking for other links on that story (Guy’s name was too weird), I fell on the Pan-Arabia Enquirer and realized it was a made-up news by the site and quickly removed the post few minutes later.
The funny thing is that Al Arabiya changed the text from the original article to exclude “a noted imbecile” without doubting the authenticity of the story. Until this hour, the story is still on their website. [Link]
Fadi Flat-White, a noted imbecile, is said to have handed over $200,000 – around 200 times the iPhone 5’s estimated price on release – to ensure he is the first in the Middle East to receive the smartphone when it eventually hits shelves later this month. Flat-White made headlines earlier in the year when he ordered the first iPad 3 in the UAE for $500,000
Fadi Flat-White handed over around 200 times the iPhone 5’s estimated price on release to ensure he is the first in the Middle East to receive the smartphone when it eventually hits shelves later this month. The same person made headlines earlier in the year when he ordered the first iPad 3 in the UAE for $500,000.
Now let’s wait and see which Lebanese TVs or news portals will be covering that story today.
PS: You have to check Pan-Arabia Enquirer website, it’s hilarious!
Samir’s story is about a young Lebanese guy living in Lebanon, A story that could not have happened anywhere else! Samir delivers Arguilleh on his trusty scooter, and like every young scooter boy Samir is an amazing driver pulling off stunning in-betweens in mid-day traffic. This is the story of how that changed and how his adventure at the top of a utility pole became an adventure for everybody else….