Internet Pricing in the GCC



Every once in a while I hear someone commenting about the Internet in Bahrain: it is too slow, too expensive, not unlimited etc… They tend to compare it to one of our neighbors usually the UAE and/or Saudi Arabia. I would usually leave it at that since I have no first hand experience about the Internet in any other country of the GCC except Bahrain of course (neither do the complainers!).

From the comfort of my chair I can't really judge the quality of the Internet being provided in the countries around me. However, I can definitely compare the price. Here is a compilation of prices of what I believe are the largest (and sometimes the only) networks in each GCC country. The criteria I chose was to find the subscription price of 1Mbps or cheapest package (such as variable speeds of 3G networks). Question marks on data cap mean that the web site did not provide information on data cap or FUP (Fair Usage Policy). Price monthly unless otherwise specified. Exchange rates at the time of publishing provided by Wolfram Alpha


Bahrain Providers
Provider DL Speed Data Cap Technology Price (Local) Price ($)
Batelco 1Mbps 4GB DSL BHD12 31.84
Zain 1Mbps Unlimited WiMAX BHD10 26.53
Viva Up to 42Mbps 3GB 3G BHD5 13.26
Lightspeed 1Mbps 4GB DSL BHD10 26.53
Saudi Arabia Providers
Provider DL Speed Data Cap Technology Price (Local) Price ($)
STC Up to 1Mbps Unlimited DSL SAR199 53.06
Mobily 1Mbps ? WiMAX SAR169 45.06
GO Telecom Up to 1Mbps Unlimited WiMAX SAR175 46.66
Shabakah 1Mbps Unlimited DSL SAR80 21.33
Qatar Providers
Provider DL Speed Data Cap Technology Price (Local) Price ($)
Qtel 1Mbps Unlimited DSL QAR200 54.95
UAE Providers
Provider DL Speed Data Cap Technology Price (Local) Price ($)
Etisalat 1Mbps Unlimited DSL AED249 67.82
du 1Mbps Shaped? DSL AED249 67.82
Kuwait Providers
Provider DL Speed Data Cap Technology Price (Local) Price ($)
KEMS 1Mbps Unlimited DSL KWD10 36.11
Fasttelco 1Mbps ? DSL KWD81/year 292.5/year
Qualitynet 1Mbps ? DSL KWD26/3 months 93.88/3 months
Oman Providers
Provider DL Speed Data Cap Technology Price (Local) Price ($)
Omantel 2Mbps Unlimited DSL OMR20 51.96
Nawras 1Mbps 6GB WiMAX OMR14 36.38

Conclusion: Bahrain's Internet seems to be the cheapest in the region, unless the numbers are wrong. But, providers in Bahrain usually come with data caps (except Zain). The Internet is "freer" in Bahrain: TONS of sites blocked in Saudi, UAE blocking VoIP, prepayment of months in advance etc… After looking over these prices I am now quite grateful that I can get affordable Internet, but of course the data caps are still an issue :-P! Plus, a new competitor is entering the Bahraini market ;-).


One thought on “Internet Pricing in the GCC”

  1. Bahrain may be more affordable at the lower end connections (plus harsh b/w limits), but that doesn’t mean it’s overall the most affordable.

    STC’s 20 Mbps connections are epicly cheap: 296 SR (~30 BD)! That provides you with a 20 Mbps connection, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited national calls.

    Depending on where you live, that connection will provide you with anywhere from 8-20 Mbps based on the experience of my friends that have tried it. I don’t know anyone who had a solid 20, but I did know someone who lived in a lower class neighborhood and never had any less than 17 Mbps.

    What in Bahrain can provide you anything comparable to that? Sites are blocked? We all have alternative methods to access these sites.

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