Review: Menatelecom WiMax

It has been just over a month that I have been using a new ISP (switched from Batelco to Menatelecom). So far the experience has been great, but of course like anything there are pros and cons. I am subscribed to the 2Mbps, 12GB cap package that costs BD30/month plus BD3 for the WiMax device rental.

The device is simply a single port router (Motorola CPEi 750), similar to cable modems in some countries. It has a single Ethernet port and a telephone port in case you subscribe to their telephony services which seems to be a VoIP service. It does not have WiFi but you can get a similar device with just WiFi as an extra feature, I use it with a wireless router instead (I need extra Ethernet ports + wireless for devices at home). At home I get a pretty strong signal at the spot I have had the router sitting for years, at first it was 3/5 bars, but with a little twisting I get 4/5, though between 3 and 4 bars I have seen no type of degradation in service, it still worked perfectly (even at 2 bars!). The most annoying thing is that the device is locked, they do not give you the password, so you are unable to do any port forwarding, change the network's IP, look at stats etc… This is very, very annoying, other ISP's using the same device in other countries give the password to customers. They say its a security issue, I guess you just have to live with it.

The service itself is great! Technically 2Mbps is around 2048Kbps, but I go over it easily (I peaked around 2.8Mbps once), it seems like they allow a bit of bursting here and there. The cap is one of the lowest amongst the ISPs in Bahrain only 12GB compared to 20GB offered by Batelco for example. Once you go over the limit you are supposed to get a quarter of the speed. In my case I should get around 512Kbps, but I never went over 400Kbps and average at 300Kbps. I didn't bother asking them. The upload goes crap after the limit as well, from 256Kbps to a quarter at 64Kbps (of course I never hit 64Kbps, and average at 40ish Kbps). I tried conserving the cap as long as I could but it runs out after a few days due to streaming, Linux ISOs and simply visiting sites that are made for broadband. Luckily I have a router with QoS (WRT54GL + Tomato) so I am still able to download at full speed without affecting other stuff like browsing. Latency is higher, the hop from my device to their network is around 80ms, on DSL I had around 15ms to Batelco's network. They have just launched a gamers addon (Game 4G) for BD3 that claims to reduce the latency (I don't game online much, so I have not subscribed to it).

Menatelecom offer an online portal where you can make bill payments, check your services and your transfer cap. It is pretty straightforward and easy to use, I have successfully paid my first bill online (Visa and Mastercard accepted). Customer service is excellent and ok depending on what method you use. I called their call center during the first few days, sometimes they have no idea what you are talking about, sometimes they give you the wrong information, other times they give enough information to satisfy your knowledge. I took my chances once to try email support due to a traceroute problem I was encountering. Believe it or not THEY FIXED THE PROBLEM AND REPLIED TO MY EMAIL!!! I couldn't believe it!! They are officially #1 on my "Best Email Support in Bahrain" list. Keep up the good work Menatelecom!

To conclude this review, I am satisfied with Menatelecom, even though the cap and speed after limit is a downside. This is compensated by the mostly great customer support and overall service: no wires, better speed, nationwide coverage etc…

One thought on “Review: Menatelecom WiMax”

  1. Hi Kashfi.
    Thanks for urs valuable review here. I searched all this because I took this card 2 days back and believe me I am not at all able to use this service. I am staying in Hoora – Gudabiya area and getting zero signals always. I tried it in University area – Isa Town, got 1 bar only. i am not getting what to do. as per me, its a worst service. I sent them mail and no response I got till now. any suggestion? I tried at each and every place in my home for getting signals.. 🙁

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