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French Version

Ogero counts its successes in 2004 (Daily Star)

Its landline network now covers 95 percent of Lebanon

The Ministry of Telecommunications - with Ogero, the government owned telecom operator in Lebanon - said Tuesday it had a "successful" 2004, despite increasing complaints about high prices from consumers. In an official statement the company said 2004 was a year in which it had upgraded its telecommunications infrastructure and expanded its landline network to cover 95 percent of Lebanon.

Mohammed Fouad Hamdan, chairman and CEO of Ogero, said "Ogero's achievements over the last few years are a result of the committed efforts of our in-house team to develop innovative services that will best serve our customers.

It is part of our strategy to implement the most modern information and communication technology so as to cater to every need of our growing customer base. Ogero's success has also helped us play a key role in a scenario where ICT is a pillar of Lebanon's national economy." Telecommunications Minister Jean-Louis Qordahi announced that the telecom sector will be privatized in the future.

The Telecommunications Ministry expects to transfer more than $850 million to the Finance Ministry at the end of 2004. Part of these revenues comes from landlines, with the rest from mobile companies.

The Cabinet approved a plan in November 2004 to create LibanTelecom and a regulatory body to modernize the telecom sector and pave the way for its privatization.

It is estimated that there are more 750,000 landlines in Lebanon and officials expect the number of subscribers to rise in the future.

The minister also plans to introduce new fast speed Internet services at affordable prices in 2005, after reducing the rates of the dial-up services in 2004.

Qordahi hopes that the value of the telecom sector in Lebanon will reach more than $3 billion once this sector has been fully modernized and regulated.

But some critics say that the government needs to reduce telephone rates if Lebanon wants to attract investments into the country.

A range of telecom services called Star Services were launched by Ogero. These include call-forwarding, caller identification facilities (CLIP), three-way calling and call waiting services. Ogero also introduced prepaid services in the form of two prepaid cards: Kalam and Telecarte. While Kalam can be used in any landline connection to make local and international calls, the Telecarte is for the public telephone booths. Ogero set up 40 customer centers and 2,713 public telephone booths. As part of its enhanced digital services, Ogero launched its Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), which provides new functions and services on a telephone line. ISDN allows integrated telecommunication services like voice, facsimile, telephony, Internet access and data transfer on a single line telephone network, with up to eight terminals being supported on one ISDN line. Ogero has also introduced a leased line that circuits between two or more points providing the services' subscribers with dedicated private networks.

Beirut 10-01-2005
The Daily Star

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