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Egypt's Luxor offers WiMax access to visitors

LUXOR, Egypt (Reuters) - Egypt’s ancient city of Luxor has become the latest spot to offer super high-speed WiMax wireless Internet technology, encouraging visitors to stay connected while they tour the city’s Pharaonic temples.

The service was offered for sale on Saturday, covering Luxor’s main tourist attractions including Luxor Temple, the Nile corniche and the historic Winter Palace hotel.

Foreign visitors and reporters joined the city’s governor at a reception to mark the Wimax launch on Friday night at the Luxor Temple.

Dubbed “While in Egypt Stay Connected” and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the project to install Wimax in Luxor mainly targets the 3.5 million tourists who visit the city every year.

“One of the main aims is to change the perception of Egypt among foreigners as a country of sun, sands and temples only,” said Nihal Soliman, a USAID marketing advisor.

The project was also launched in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

The Egyptian government has granted the project a temporary license to install WiMax, which allows connections over longer distances than the WiFi standard which only works near a transmitter.

WiMax competes with the Internet services provided by 3G mobile phone networks, operated in Egypt by Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates and recently acquired by Mobinil.

WiMax users in Luxor will buy scratch cards from retail distributors, starting at five 5 euros ($6.85) for a one-hour card and 15 euros for the whole day.

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