Soon – Free Internet Around Kuwait with Sama

Post by Mark

For the past five years, WiMD has been my home internet provider. Before they came about, the fastest connection I could get at my place was 2Mbps so I’m a huge WiMD fan and feel I owe my sanity to them. When I first met them five years ago I was told they were working on setting up a WiFI network all around Kuwait, and now that project is finally launching.

WiMD is launching a new product next month called “Sama” which will cover various areas around Kuwait providing free internet to the public over WiFi. Currently Sama is covering Souk Mubarakiya, Al Shaheed Park and around 8km of ocean front. In the future Sama will cover Al Shaheed Park phase 2, around 40km of ocean front and other various projects around Kuwait.

Sama will officially launch next month but they’re currently testing out the Souk Mubarakiya location and have given me a code to share on the blog so my readers could access the network and try it out. Here is the information required to connect to Sama in Souk Mubarakiya:

Network Name: Sama Mubarakiya
Access Code: 7550682976

This code can be accessed by multiple users at the same time and the login screen will look similar to the screenshot above, depending on the time of day you’ll see a different sky. If you do try it out please share some feedback.

Also a little bit of information. Last year WiMD bought Gulfnet and this Thursday they’re actually launching the new brand for both companies at a private press conference at the Gulfnet head quarters. So I’m looking forward to that as well.


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Mada to Focus Only on Corporate Sector

Post by Mark

Mada has decided to stop providing internet directly to consumers and instead focus all their effort on the corporate sector. All their retail customers will be shifted to Zain who acquired them back in 2011.

When I reviewed Mada five years ago they were great, like the best thing ever because until they came along, I was on a slow 2Mbps connection. But for just KD20 a month, they were giving me a 10Mbps connect and it was a legit 10Mbps connection at that time. But, in my original review I highlighted a potential issue with Mada becoming popular and the connection slowing down. That prediction turned out accurate since Mada grew too quickly and their connection speed became slower and less reliable. Things got so bad that I ended up moving back to DSL until WiMD came a long.


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Internet Will Be Slow Until November 6th

Post by Mark

Minister of Communications said Tuesday GBI company would be carrying out maintenance to the underwater internet cable in the Arabian Sea on November 2-6, which would affect internet service in Kuwait and GCC countries.

The ministry, in a brief statement, urged local internet providers in Kuwait to seek alternative international cables during the maintenance period to prevent slow service. [Source]

Just an FYI in case your internet provider starts blaming sharks again.


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Kuwait Blogs List 2016

Post by Mark

kuwaitblogs

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a list of active local blogs so figured it was about time I do so. Below is a list of all the active blogs I”m aware of:

18 Seven (Arabic)
AboFlan (Arabic)
According to Mimi
Adventures of a Jersey Girl
British Girl Lost in Kuwait
Confashions from Kuwait
Danderma
Desert Girl
Diario de un Sidecar (Spanish)
Frankom
Jleeb (Arabic)
Kuwait Birding
Kuwait Chronicles
Kuwait Moms Guide
Kuwaitiful
Kuweight 64
Ladies Who Do Lunch in Kuwait
Lady B
Life in Kuwait
LuLu Loves Makeup
LSF: Kuwait City Styl
New Q8 Bride
Pink Girl Q8
Q8 Path
The Hybrids
The Urban Analyst
Wainmaaro7

I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch so if there is a local blog that is active and should be on this list, let me know about it.


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Internet Latency in Kuwait

Post by Mark

There is an interesting discussion in the 248AM Community regarding internet latency in Kuwait. Internet latency is how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one point to another so for example, from your computer to the website you’re trying to access. When browsing the web though, latency isn’t that important, but when playing video games, latency can make a world of a the difference in gameplay. A FASTtelco employee left some information regarding local internet latency in the discussion which I thought would be interesting to share, so I’ve copied and pasted it below with some minor changes:

—————————————————

In order the get the best latency, first we have to understand the dependencies and the major elements which might effect your latency:

First, the ISP’s are contracted with international providers either by dry routes (land) or through the wet routes (sea). Sometimes it’s a direct IPLC to Europe, and sometime through other destinations. The major difference might result in higher latency, but at the present time, most of the international routes are optimized to provide the best routes, resulting in closer latency ms. So let’s put this factor on the side.

LTE:
Unfortunately, the mobile is a non guaranteed service. It always depends on the load within the closest cell tower and this changes with your geographic location. You will always be getting different ms (ping) depending on how many people are using the same cell tower and the time of day.

Fiber GPON:
This is the most guaranteed service in Kuwait. Usually the latency between the ONT box located in the house to the main point of the ISP is 10-15ms and that’s consider to be the least across all the other internet services. Another factor, we have CAT6 cables connecting between the ONT box and the main router which isn’t the situation in DSL areas (with few exceptions to DSL clients having upgraded their copper cables to CAT6 cabling from the MOC external point to inside the house). The GPON provides stability and FASTtelco does offer the gaming package on the GPON due to the reduction of error factors.

DSL:
The various ISP’s differ in local ms (ping) latency depending on the equipments they use, the different routes and the types of services they have with the MOC. The best way to compare is to test the local ms (between you and your ISP). This will indicate the exact latency which will assist you when conducting the comparison between the different local ISP’s.

When an ISP conducts a test on the clients house, they check the external point, and that’s what’s guaranteed. Meanwhile, the local building cable (copper) is out of the scope. Therefore, a proper cable needs to be in place. Today most of the DSL areas are over 30 years old and so we heavily recommend to replace those old copper cables with CAT6 cables in order to have a much more stable service.

The router also plays a major part with the service and is the last factor that can effect your internet latency.


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This is Why Your Internet is Currently Slow

Post by Mark

If you’re wondering why your internet has been slow the past two days its because one of the main fiber cables providing internet to Kuwait was cut. No sharks were involved this time around since it was a terrestrial cable that was cut and not a marine one.

The cable was supposed to be repaired by the next day but MOC must have run into issues since it’s now been 2 days now and the issue still hasn’t been sorted. A redditor who works at one of the local internet providers has been posting updates over the past couple of days keeping us posted on the current status:

[23/5/2016 11:00am] So far its not resolved. MOC contractor is working on restoring the links. Hopefully within next 1-2 hours it should be restored. I will update you guys.

[23/5/2016 12:45pm] Links are up now. Cheers!!

[23/5/2016 2:00pm] Links came up for some time and went down again. Seems like they are still doing quality testing on the link. More update to follow.

[23/5/2016 6:55pm] As per latest update, MOC contractor has stopped working. All links are still down. They will continue working tomorrow. Seriously don’t know why its taking soo much time. Normally terrestrial fiber cut are restored in few hours. :(

[24/5/2016 9:25am] Seems like the cut is in no man’s land between Saudi and Kuwait. As per fresh update, team is on site and have started the work. More update to follow.

[24/5/2016 12:30pm] Looks like the cables are severely damaged. Contractors are considering replacing the whole segment between the two manholes.. More to follow.

To stay posted on the latest status of the internet situation in Kuwait, keep checking the original reddit thread [Here]

Also here is an interesting tidbit he shared which might explain why my mobile phone connection is faster then my home one at the moment:

Whenever there is any cable cut in the region, these ISP will limit bandwidth for residential users in order to provide additional bandwidth to mobile companies since they pay more per MB bandwidth than residential users.


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Order groceries from your local Co-op using an app

Post by Mark

instasalla

InstaSalla is a new app that allows you to order groceries from your local co-op and have it delivered within 90 minutes. Based on my short experience with the app it seems they have ALL their products available online to purchase which means this might be more comprehensive than the likes of Taw9eel or the LuLu web store.

The app is mainly in Arabic although there is an English option (swipe left to reveal the sidebar). Sadly not everything was translated to English, if you try to order anything or even register an account you’ll be met with Arabic menus even if you had chosen English as the app’s language. Still, not bad for the first release.

InstaSalla is available on both [iOS] and [Android]

Thanks umterchia


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Ooredoo Buying Fasttelco

Post by Mark

ooredoofasttelco

I just received an internal Fasstelco memo (which I can’t share) announcing that Ooredoo will be purchasing 100% of their shares. The memo doesn’t go into much detail on what will become of Fasttelco, if they will continue to be run as a separate entity and keep their brand or if they’ll be merged under Ooredoo which is what I think will most likely happen.

Ooredoo customers are probably going to benefit the most out of this since to my understanding all the telecom operators get their internet from the internet providers. By becoming an internet provider themselves, they can reduce their costs or offer more speed and bandwidth for the same price. Ooredoo just became a lot more interesting.


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Fiber Optics Rolling Out in 34 More Areas

Post by Mark

The Ministry of Communications has announced that its starting phase 2 of its nationwide fiber optics rollout with 34 new areas including Mangaf, Mahboula, Egaila, Messila and Khiran. They’ve got a short presentation that lists all 34 areas which I’ve shared above but the video is in Arabic. [YouTube]

optics

Thanks Osama


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Internet Prices in Kuwait – 2016

Post by Mark

Even though InfoConnect got canceled this year, the local internet providers still decided to introduce special offers and discounted prices. I took the liberty to list all the internet prices in a table to make it easy to compare. Most of the internet providers are providing additional benefits like scratch and win cards or gifts, so make sure you visit their website for more details. The list above is based on the yearly prices and taken from the internet providers websites. This year I’ve also decided to add mobile internet prices to the list due to the fact that their connection speeds and prices have become extremely competitive with the regular internet providers. Check out the list below:

internet2016


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