Viva Bahrain Review: SIM Pickup

Today morning I had decided to go and collect my Viva SIM card from the closest outlet to home, Al Jazira supermarket, Zinj. The Viva website mentioned that their branch there is open 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm, perfect.

I left home just under 10 minutes to 9am, its really close, and especially today being a Friday (weekend here), I was practically the only person on the road! I got there at 9am sharp. I wasn't expecting to be the first person in line, so I prepared mentally for the hugest queue in the world!

As I walked in I read the A4 paper signs, they were "Gold and Silver Regestration Only" (yes with the spelling mistake) and "Ladies Only" (I think with correct spelling). The "Gold and Silver" had around 5 people in queue, no ladies, and the 3rd queue was signless and long, so I guessed I had to stand on this one (probability that most people opted to book a free number, so more people in line = free numbers line).

Unfortunately it seemed liked they were still not open yet, I heard that sometimes they open on time, some times a while late, other times a full hour late etc… I stood on the same spot until around 10am, when finally it seemed like people were starting to move (since the area is small, the queue went around a wall, so I never had a clear view of the counter, and I wasn't ready to lose my place!!!). But I think people decided to get a drink or something (since it's inside the supermarket) and the queue appeared shorter…

A while later I could definitely notice that the queue was starting to move and people were getting their SIMs since I had seen some people pass by with the little Viva "wallet" and of course a smile in their faces like so :-D!

The supermarket's security started asking us in queue if we had reserved a book prior since the queue was different. I was one of those that had booked online during their pre-launch promo. My queue was "Gold and Silver Regestration"… Couldn't they had made it clearer…? Anyways I didn't complain, that queue was much much shorter than the one I was in! Deceivingly…

To cut the story short, the people who hadn't reserved numbers were moving quick, the guy in front of me had picked his SIM way before me. It seems like the flaw is in their registration system, it is simply toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww… Yes I had to add all those letters to let you know how slow it is…

As a person who has already booked, here are the steps taken:

  1. Give them your CPR number. Some typing, I noticed my name being typed along with my CPR digits.
  2. Give them your details, I was asked for address, phone and job (I shouldv'e said something like quality control manager at STC (the parent company) or something!!).
  3. Steps 1 and 2 if successful takes around 5 minutes.
  4. The system will try and search your booked number for approximately 5 minutes or more. I assumed it was this, since no typing, data input or questions occurred from the time my details were last entered until I was told what my booked number was. Let's say 5 minutes best for this.
  5. Finally, a receipt is printed out, your Viva "wallet" is scanned, you pay BD2 (free number, theoretically it is free since you get BD2 in credit), sign a form and you think it is all over when…
  6. Your CPR needs to be scanned! Ok, in the mean time the next customer comes and the system is accessing his data (at least they are trying to speed up the process in whatever possible way they can!). This scan took around 3 minutes!
  7. You are technically done! You get out of the outlet, smiling, with your new Viva number and of course the "wallet"!

Was it worth it getting it a week only after launch? Well I had nothing else to do and was bored, standing in line reminded me of my school days and trips to airports such as Heathrow (where queues are long, but at least it moves!).

I will get another review up with the initial setup after getting your SIM (don't worry its much easier than SIM pickup day :-P).

Your Viva "wallet"  contains(it is not really called a wallet, its the first thing that came to my mind when I saw it flipping open…):

  • SIM card embedded in a credit card like card. You need to break it off.
  • The main card has your PINs and PUKs so, DO NOT THROW IT AWAY!
  • A little guide to your Viva prepaid service, small booklet.

I might add a picture of it later so you guys see what I mean ;-).

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