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.…

Better Internet is (Hopefully) Coming

Bahrain, and the rest of the Gulf countries could very soon be experiencing faster and most importantly affordable Internet. A marine cable laid by a company known as Gulf Bridge International (GBI) is finally complete, and is technically live and ready (as of 19th Feb, 2012). It connects the countries in the Gulf region: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar (GBI's HQ), UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Iran and Iraq. Furthermore it then connects to countries outside the Gulf for international connectivity, Italy (Europe, eastern US) and India (Asia, western US).…

Let The 4G Battle Begin!

Only days after Batelco announce a successful trial of their 4G LTE network, Viva comes out with a bang announcing that they will be showing their LTE stuff on the 1st of January, 2012. The difference?

Batelco were secretive about it, testing it in their Hamala HQ. Viva are making it public, at the City Centre mall, where users can experience it.

Batelco announces it as a trial. Viva as a full blown launch.…

Review: Menatelecom MyFi Internet Service

Last but not least (for a while I hope :-P), comes the review of the current Internet service I am using: Menatelecom's MyFi service. Thanks to the device, it is a great way to get online with multiple devices simultaneously, and workaround platform limitations (such as dongles not working with Linux for example) given you have WiFi. The technology is commonly known as MiFi. Powered by WiMAX.

Let me start by saying that Menatelecom is not the first provider in Bahrain to offer such a device to customers, in fact I believe Zain was the first, offering it for quite a while (can't seem to find on their site.…

Review: Viva Prepaid Broadband

It has been around a week since Viva launched their new service, prepaid (mobile) broadband. After seeing the ads in the press and on the streets, I decided to give them a try, after all for BD10 I’ve got nothing to loose. Before getting into the details, let’s compare the offers of prepaid broadband currently available in Bahrain (along with recharge options, screenshots from their respective sites).

Batelco

Starter price: BD6
Credit included: Unknown

Menatelecom

Starter price: BD30 / 33 (depending on which USB device, mykey1, mykey2 respectively)
Credit included: None

Zain

Starter price: BD24
Credit included: Unknown (e-Go device + data line mentioned in starting price, definition of data line?)

Viva

Starter price: BD10
Credit included: BD5

As you can see, Viva seems to be the most affordable at the moment.…

Is Zain Bahrain Leeching Their Customers?

Right now there is a battle of the telcos going on in Bahrain ever since Viva launched their services. Batelco and Zain (formerly MTC Vodafone) are coming up with offers from mobile services to broadband to retain or even gain some more customers in the process.

One of the most important factors people end up going from one to another, or signing up for a new service is price. At the moment they are all very competitive, some even have complicated packages (first minute rate X, second rate Y, between time A and B rate Z).…