TELECOMS

Libyan Rebels Build Their Own Mobile Phone Network

Part of the Libyan state-owned mobile phone network has been commandeered by the rebels in the country and isolated to build their own phone network. Set up by a team led by a Libyan-American telecom executive, it has enabled the two million Libyans living in rebel controlled areas to have their first contacts with the outside world after the government cut the telecoms links in rebel held territories.
The Wall Street Journal reported that assistance in hijacking the network included diplomatic support from the UAE and Qatrar governments who also assisted in buying the network equipment needed for the technical takeover of the network infrastructure.

It was also reported that China's Huawei, which was the main supplier of infrastructure to the government owned phone networks refused to assist the rebels in their efforts, so the UAE based Etisalat is reported to have stepped in by providing hardware from its own supplies.

The takeover effort started on March 21st, and was completed by the beginning of April, although customs delays at the Egyptian border cost them a week of delays. The network, now called "Free Libyana" was opened to users on the 2nd April.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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