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Tuesday, February 21, 2006 

Lebanon accuses Syria of hijacking their mobile network

That most precious of Lebanon's natural resources is being attacked by Syria, according to Telecoms Minister Marwan Hamedeh.

Lebanon has the highest mobile usage in the world - more minutes per person than in any other country.

And now Lebanon says Syria wants to get a bite of that apple.

Hamadeh says Syria has pointed its mobile phone masts towards Lebanon, and is selling pre-pay phone cards in shops in Tripoli. Users then log on to a Syrian network with a Syrian SIM card and pay the much cheaper Syrian prices.

Hamadeh says that any shop found selling Syrian pre-pay cards will be immediately shut down.

But I have never found it possible to connect to a Syrian network in Tripoli. On the contrary, along long stretches of the Damascus-Aleppo highway, my mobile switches to the Lebanese networks, costing me more money.

Lebanese phone experts say that Lebanon introduced mobile phone networks long before Syria (one reason was because after the civil war, much of the landline phone infrastructure had been uprooted). So Lebanon pointed its mobile masts towards Syria and boosted the signal, to get Syrian subscribers.

It's a modern version of Lebanese banks welcoming Syrian customers who cross the border to do their banking.

One fact Hamedeh may have overlooked (if he goes to Tripoli to raid one of these evil shops run by Bashar's infilitrators, he'll find that he gets no Syrian mobile signal) is that the shops selling Syrian pre-pay cards may be for Lebanese and Syrian businessmen and travellers who cross the border, just half an hour away.

Hamadeh says that the "act of agression" is costing Lebanon dearly. The two mobile networks are Lebanon's second biggest industry. Hariri Inc. (otherwise known as the Lebanese Government) gets $4 million every month from the two private companies which run the network. He admits he doesn't know how much money Lebanon is losing.

If Syria doesn't comply with Hamadeh's demand, he has threatened to go to the Arab League.

It is really sad and disgusting at the same time the amount of hate some lebanese politicians show towards everthing Syrian on every occasion. This hate goes into every single and even insignificant detail of the Syrain-Lebanese ralationship. As if Syria has turned to be the enemy now. I wonder where was all that before Hariri assasination?!. It all goes to show that it was and has been and still a game of interests where there is no loyalty. It makes me feel absolutely sick. Pity

Syria's network cannot be used in Tripoli, only in some parts of the Bekaa.

The financial losses are limited ; if you want to use the Syrian network to call Lebanon, it will cost you a fortune since you'll be paying the full international fare.

Nevertheless, this poses a grave problems since you can call Syria without being monitored by the security services (I am not talking about normal citizens, I am talking about the Mukhabarat, militias like the PFLP CG etc...).

Stealing airtime minutes from Lebanon? Wow! I have to say, that is really good!
Perhaps the lebanese minister would like to get at&t or MCI from the U.S on the issue? That will get them - The Syrians.

Ammar

If Lebanon has a real free economy it would have been better for the Lebanese to use the lowest cost company,but apparently the Lebanese govorment would rather have the Lebanese pay higher prices than offer that service to a real bid so the Lebanese can get the best price.that is how Arab goverment keep Arab countries devided while ueropian countries which have nothing in common except wars are moving toward on market.

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