Boutros Harb, Minister of Telecommunications of Lebanon explained yesterday in a press conference the cabinet's decisions on lowering the prices on telephone and mobile calls. He also announced Lebanon’s first unlimited broadband plan and the increasing speed on existing DSL services in the country.
These plans and prices will go into effect on 1st July 1 and have been passed in three new decrees by the council of ministers.
Mobile phones rates will be reduced from 36 cents per minute to 25 cents per minute for prepaid lines while the SMS price will drop from 9 cents to 5 cents. Post-paid lines will be offered an additional free hour to make up for the $15 paid at the beginning of every month without benefitting from any additional services.
The minister said that the data limit for the 3G service would increase from 150MB to 500MB for $10, from 750MB to 1,500MB for $19 and from 1,500MB to 5,000MB for $29.
The entry-level DSL plan, still priced at L24,000 ($16), will be upgraded to 2Mbps with a 40GB cap, compared with the previous 1Mbps and 4GB of data. The monthly price of the new 2 megabits per second unlimited download plan would be LL75,000 ($50).
“Around 330,000 subscribers will benefit from the new unlimited plan,” he stated.
The Ministry has also cancelled the installation fee for new landlines and reduced the fixed monthly fee paid on landlines from LL12,000 ($8) to LL9,000 ($6).
The Ministry conducted a study to assess the impact of these changes on its revenue. “The revenues of the Telecommunications Ministry will increase by LL23 billion ($15.2 billion) annually due to the expected increase in subscribers to the landline service by 100,000 as a result of the drop in prices,” he said.
Telecoms are the third largest source of income for the Treasury in Lebanon, with revenues reaching over $1.4 billion a year, according to Samena.