Lebanonís Ministry of Telecommunications announced yesterday that the countryís number of cellular subscribers has jumped by around 30% to three million since the end of 2009, driven by network capacity expansion, reduced rates and the introduction of new packages by the marketís two state-owned cellcos. TeleGeographyís GlobalComms Database says that Lebanon had 2.93 million wireless subscribers at 31 March 2011, with 54% of users served by MTC Touch Lebanon, managed by Zain Group, and the other 46% using Alfa, under the management of Orascom Telecom. The total was up 26% on end-2009ís figure of 2.38 million, while cellular penetration is approaching 75%.

In its announcement, reported by local newspaper The Daily Star, the ministry also stated the intention to further reduce cellular tariffs by between 25% and 50% depending on the existing package, although it did not confirm whether the changes would include both pre- and post-paid tariffs. The last major reduction in prices two years ago led to an upswing in the user take-up rate, largely in the pre-paid segment.