Dubai:  Du has announced it will begin offering a 4G long term evolution (LTE) service from next month, the fastest available in the UAE, according to its chief commercial officer Farid Faraidooni.

The new service will more than quadruple the 24Mbps fastest speed previously offered by the telco operator.

Du will also be offering 100Mpbs broadband facility for home customers in July.
Etisalat currently offers a 30Mbps service, while STC in Saudi Arabia gives customers speeds of up to 200Mbps.

The telcom operator has shared the roadmap for the next two months to Gulf News in an exclusive interview.

“Du is focusing more on the data than the voice,” he said. “We are investing heavily on infrastructure for mobile broadband customers.”

Consumers are no longer “bothered about how many minutes they can call or how many SMS they can send”, he added.

“They are bothered about how fast my broadband is and how easy it is. We have done a survey, and what we got from the feedback is that the customers are always on the move.”
With the growth in uploading data to the likes of Facebook, YouTube and other social networks, speed has become “an important factor”, according to Faraidooni.

“So your traditional upload speed of 512KB is not comfortable. This is the speed you get today,” he said.

“Consumers have become generators of content. We are introducing ‘real home broadband premium’ where you can enhance your upload speed.

“It can go to a maximum upload speed of 6mbps for a 24mpbs download speed. We will be offering six times faster than our competitor at the same price.”

Faraidooni revealed the launch could have come earlier if there were devices on the market to make it worth it.

He said even faster speeds were possible once the technology caught up.

“Our 4G LTE network was ready for deployment in December 2011, but there was no devices available at our spectrum [1800Mmhz] for consumers to really benefit from LTE. We have tested the dongles and tablets in our lab,” he said.

“Our network is ready for 150mbps speed, but the devices out in the market can support a speed of 100mbps.”

Du currently covers 27.8 per cent of the population of the UAE and will offer the new service across its reach. It also covers 35.3 per cent of urban areas.

“Customers can buy a tablet from the market and insert a 4G LTE-enabled SIM card and start using it,” Faraidooni said.

“You don’t need any configuration settings. We are ready for 4G LTE smartphones also, but we don’t have a device that works on 1800Mhz spectrum.”

Testing has shown that Apple’s iPads will not operate in the new spectrum.

Faraidooni said pricing would be reasonable, without giving further details.

Du will also be offering rewards for pre-paid customers this week and daily roaming data packages to customers next month.

“Any customer who recharges their pre-paid line will get a chance to win something. It can be in the form of credit or a customer can win a laptop, TV or lifestyle vouchers. Customers have an option to choose, but one thing is for sure everybody wins,” Faraidooni said.

“Our daily data roaming packages are very simple, every customer can recharge their data bundle on a daily basis. We have one package for GCC and top destinations and the other for rest of the world,” he said.