LEBANON - Telecoms & IT
President & General Director, OGERO
Imad Kreidieh had extensive board level experience prior to taking his current position, having acquired specialized expertise in the development and implementation of highly effective strategies for several global mobile operators and institutions.
Looking back at the previous years, my main focus would definitely be to satisfy our customers. The people of Lebanon have been through much frustration when it comes to this sector, I believe it is time to put a plan in place to meet their needs and boost the technological capabilities of our nation.
To be honest, 500,000 new subscribers is an understatement. What we are working on is much more transformational in nature. We called this the IMS Project because we are dismantling and decommissioning all the old technical switches that were put in place back in 1994 with limited capacity and capabilities in comparison to what we have today. This introduces the digital era of IP telephony. What we are doing is not only adding 500,000 landlines; we are completely transforming the infrastructure of the fixed network into a groundbreaking platform that will allow us to welcome as many new subscribers as the market requires. Our short-term objective is to add an additional 500,000 subscribers to the 1 million that we already have, but this is only the first piece of the puzzle. Having an advanced digital environment starts with fixed-network assets, which is the IMS. Other pieces will also fall into place in order to establish the final, or at least the modern, infrastructure that we intend to have in Lebanon. The second phase is the fiber-to-cabinet solution, which will allow us to provide triple play and quad play to the end-user in their homes.
The first phase of the fiber optics plan was deployed before I joined Ogero, it was dedicated to linking all of our 300 switches together through fiber optics. So far we have deployed around 6,000km of fiber in the country. The second phase is to get closer to the subscriber by installing active cabinets. Those active cabinets will get the end user closer to the switch, thus reducing the distance and giving access to high-speed internet. We are about to tender this project; the technical teams are putting together the documents as we speak, as well as planning the deployment of several thousand cabinets across the nation.
In total honesty and with all humility, Ogero is the major infrastructure provider for Lebanon. My team and myself are constantly striving to improve the capabilities of our network so that the private sector can take part in the infrastructure improvement, providing capacity, high-speed internet, and a resilient, stable, secure, fit-for-purpose network. We truly believe that we are a vital transforming force in the Lebanese economy. Many entrepreneurs are moving out of the country due to the lack of proper infrastructure. Connectivity has become essential for every start-up and every business that seeks growth. Our objective is to ensure that such services are available for all stakeholders, to be able to grow within their homeland and benefit the economy.
We have a plan in place that will allow us to catch up with the leading economies in the region in terms of technology and telecommunications. Our main objective is to provide nationwide high-speed Internet. Our fiber-to-cabinet project (FTC) was established to offer a connection with a minimum speed of 50mbps. The next milestone consists of providing heavy internet users (universities, hospitals, specialized schools, public entities, and big enterprises) with fiber connectivity characterized by high capacity and bandwidth. We are also looking into expanding our data center and cloud computing capabilities to create a national cloud for Lebanon. Our proof of concept will take us to a new level of service specifically for the ministries and the public sector. Once this proof of concept is solid and well set, we will move to a private cloud while trying to get the framework to establish a regional cloud. This five-year plan will elevate Lebanon to become a major player in the regional ICT industry. With this plan in mind, we aim to establish a long-lasting strategy that can be sustained through different administrations. We have received the buy-in of all concerned entities, including previous ministers and the current government, to turn this sector into a success story.
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