3G is Finally Here: Your Questions Answered Below

The below is about the telecom provider Alfa, which I have tested and double-checked myself. I do not own an MTCtouch line and thus cannot elaborate on what they’re doing.

It’s finally available for everyone. The fabled and much-talked about 3G is now be purchased by the fine people of Lebanon. Now, before I go on, let me clarify something that seems to be foggy for many people: What is 3G?

What does 3G mean?

3G is any wireless connection to your mobile that is at least 200kbit/s. Simple as that, there are so called 3.5, 3.75 and other variants of 3G connections, which are often used to indicate much faster speeds (in megabits/second, ours is supposed to be up to 21.1mbps)

How does it work?

If you’re in an area with 3G coverage, you’ll be on 3G, if not, you’ll be using the “2.5G” EDGE connection. That’s what most of you are experiencing on your phones when you think Alfa or MTCtouch are giving you 3G by mistake and light up about it. Your bandwidths are still the same though, so don’t expect to steam YouTube videos just yet.

If I’m on EDGE, do I have to switch to 3G?

No you silly BB users. Your connections have already been automatically changed to 3G when the 3G network coverage is available. However, your bandwidths have not changed yet. They will change the next time you pay your bill or recharge your line.

Prices and Packages?

Basically the same for pre and postpaid lines. Difference is the 3GB and 5GB plans are not available for prepaid lines yet, and in prepaid lines, you can subscribe to “pay as you go” which means you pay for every megabyte you use. BUT, 0.5$ a megabyte is way too much so I definitely would not recommend it, especially when extra MBs for the plans are somewhat cheaper than before (except for BB users, I’m not sure about those prices but I believe they will remain unchanged)

How do I subscribe if I don’t already have mobile internet?

If you’re postpaid, call 111 and enable it. If you’re prepaid, dial 1454 (for Alfa at least) and follow the long process of activating it.

What’s a video call? And should I use it?

It’s like skype on your mobile, and no don’t use it. It’s at 0.4$ a minute! You’re better off draining your cheaper megabytes on skype, so I’d recommend you eithe use a VoIP app like Viber and Skype, or if you insist on having both video and voice why not use Skype or Tango?

Wil BBM?

Considering they already reduced the price at the beginning of October, I expect the prices and data bundles to remain the same. Why do BB users pay so much more than other smartphone users? Well, supposedly, it’s the RIM BlackBerry service which includes the email app and the BBM (they make you pay for it). Alfa and MTCtouch of course charge far more than it’s real price, but hey, who’s complaining? So, 27$ for 200MB a month seems to be what BlackBerry service is gonna stay at. I’d call to double-check for you, but it seems Alfa is swamped with calls and are “too busy to answer” (for the last 3 hours).

Can I switch completely from 2/2.5G to 3G?

Yes, you can enable “3G only” instead of “automatic” or “dual” mode in your smartphone’s settings, but I do not recommend that at all. That’s because the 3G coverage sucks if you’re not in Beirut, and even there it’s shaky, so your mobile will keep desperately searching for 3G when it’s in 3G only mode, draining your battery which will last a fraction of what it’s supposed to in dual mode. So, keep it in dual mode and pray you get 3G/3.5G/H on the top of your device’s screen.

Can I use 3G on my laptop? Other mobile?

Yes, if your smartphone can act as a wifi hotspot, you can activate it and allow your laptop to connect to the hotspot, allowing your laptop to utilize the 3G connection of your mobile. This is called tethering. If your phone doesn’t, you can use a USB dongle to use your 3G-enable SIM on your laptop or computer.

Where is 3G coverage supposed to be?

Red is where 3G is already coveredGray is where it’ll be available in the first quarter of 2012 (first 3 months) and Yellow is where 3G will be available in the second quarter of 2012 (second 3 months) 

For MTCtouch Users, it’s practically the same thing as Alfa users, and its now in-effect. Check their website for more



    • says

      You should and could, but it seems my friends on MTCtouch are telling me you can’t subscribe to it yet… That’s the difference, with Alfa you can now.

  1. adnan sardouk says

    So basically if I’m an mtc BB user, I’ll have to pay for both, 3G and my prepaid card each month ? Or khalas just the 3G ? And how do you recharge it? Do you like buy a prepaid 3G card or what ?

    • says

      3G is just an internet connection adnan, you dont pay for a different card, you just recharge it with your dollars like any other service =D

    • says

      you would need a seperate line to put in your ipad.. unless you want to keep your original phone line in there, but I highly doubt that considering you probably want to be able to make and answer calls..

    • says

      Sally, I recommend you get 3G on your mobile and use your iPads wifi to connect to your mobile as a hotspot. That’s what I plan to do with my iPad.

    • Hadi says

      What did you do to get it working? I have MTC Touch as well but no 3G yet…my settings are gprs.mtctouch.com.lb do I need to change those?

      • mark says

        Well mtc started with the bis 3G first gprs 3G will follow but no idea when make sure u have a cell phone that supports 3G networks aand switch on the dual mode from the wireless network setting (2G aand 3G)
        ps the MBites will stay the same for till the eom only speed will change

  2. Mark says

    for sally mirza

    you can upgrade your line and pay monthly for an internet plan or buy a new line called “Data only” witch you can use only for a 3G connection available from alfa only so far

  3. Tarek says

    Hello, so I activated my BIS 2 days ago, does that mean when am in beirut I can use the 3G but outside beirut I will use th 2.5G?? and will it last for the usual 7 days wala the whole month cause well it is 3G and its monthly not weekly thats why its sort of confusing. Thanks alot for your help 😀

    • says

      As I said Tarek, looks like BIS will remain the same, weekly and same quotas. The only difference is speed where 3G is available (look at map)

  4. Boulos says

    Shouldn’t Aley and Chouf (even just the coastal areas) have it since I thought all of Mount Lebanon will have 3G?

  5. nemer Saliba says


    So if we paid our bill last week we don’t get 3G this month?
    I mean its really slow
    I turned off my phone, removed the battery, I get the 3G signal, but still slow

    Let me know

    • says

      It’s slow for all of us nemer! And the thing that changes when your bill cycle is released, which means when they send you the sms of how much you owe, that’s when your megabytes will increase (from 250 to 500 in my case for example)

  6. hani says

    Gino I’d really appreciate if u can help me dude I’ve got a lenovo B560 that supports a sim card and I’m trying to use my 3G connection there but I really cant configure out how to do it the right way. I already inserted my sim card but I don’t know how to connect. Any idea ? Thnx :)

  7. imanitta says

    i want to know if bb data plan going to be cheaper than 27$ in future??? Because i love bb device but its expensive to pay that much!!


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