Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Libya has Deployed 5G in spite of all the Issues surrounding them

Libya is struggling to rebuild its economy and infrastructure following disruption caused by foreign interventions, civil war and the subsequent political unrest. Much of the telecom infrastructure was destroyed or stolen, including about a quarter of the country’s mobile tower sites. Reconstruction efforts are delayed due to a lack of cooperation between the two opposing administrations, in Tripoli and Tobruk, there is no consensus as to how to rebuild infrastructure on a national scale. Nevertheless, progress is being made in rebuilding infrastructure, and this has resulted in a resurgence in the number of connected fixed-lines as large numbers of the population are again able to access services.

Despite the destruction to telecom infrastructure what is left remains superior to what exists in other African countries. Considerable investment had been made by the former government in a next-generation national fibre optic backbone network. There was considerable expansion of DSL and WiMAX broadband services, and new international fibre connections and upgrades made to existing ones. Libya also had one of Africa’s first Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) deployments. 

With one of the highest market penetration rates in Africa, the mobile voice market is supported by some of the lowest tariffs on the continent and one of the highest per capita GDP levels. Opportunities remain in the broadband sector where market penetration is still relatively low. So far, 4G services have only a limited reach and thus the development of mobile broadband has been slow. Fixed-line penetration has fallen significantly because of the war but is also expected to see a renaissance, including fibre, as the demand for very high-speed broadband increases.

The Libyan Post and Telecommunications Information Technology Company (LPTIC), is the state's telecoms holding company that owns Libya’s two main mobile operators Al-Madar and Libyana.

Al-Madar established in 1995, was the first  operator in North Africa they currently have over 3 million subscribers ranging from government establishments, to businesses and individuals. 


Al-Madar has launched its 5G service to improve telecommunications in the country with speed reaching 1.5 Gbps a second in Tripoli. The operator says 5G service is part of its five-point strategy of 2016-2020. They added that they successfully installed the trial network and thus became the first operator to launch this service in the region. They aim to install this service in main cities by 2020 and they will allow businesses to have access to LOT service.

Libyana the other major operator was the first to launch 4G LTE network in the country. Coverage was initially limited to the cities of Tripoli, Zawiya, Sabha and Misrata, although the company expects to add further locations to its footprint in the near future.

Open Signal recently analysed mobile network experience across the two main mobile network operators in Libya — Al-Madar and Libyana — over a period of 90 days beginning June 1, 2020 to see how they compare.

Al-Madar has achieved that rare feat of winning all of the national awards outright — and in some measures of the mobile experience by an impressive margin. For example, it commanded a 12.8 point (22.8%) lead over Libyana on Voice App Experience, led on Upload Speed Experience by a margin of 27.8% and was seven percentage points ahead of its rival on 4G Availability.

While many of the scores observed by Libyan users are modest by international standards, it should be noted that both Al-Madar and Libyana have been making rapid progress — progress that is all the more remarkable for taking place against the backdrop of a civil war. This was recently illustrated by the news back in August that Al-Madar had succeeded in restoring mobile services to the city of Sirte, which had been without them for three months in the wake of its capture by the rebel Libyan National Army (LNA) and its subsequent clashes with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.


Here is a video that summarises the state of mobile networks in Libya

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