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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Did InfoConnect Get Cancelled?

Post by Mark

InfoConnect takes place at the end of January every year and its usually the best time to renew your internet subscription since all the internet providers and mobile phone operators have the best deals. InfoConnect was supposed to take place from January 24th to the 30th of this month but a couple of weeks ago a small messaged popped up on their website stating:

INFOCONNECT/INFOBIZ exhibitions have been postponed. New Dates will be advised in due course.

offers

Yesterday I heard from a friend that InfoConnect has now been canceled for this year. Supposedly the internet providers came together and decided they would rather not pay the exhibition fees and instead offer their discounted prices directly to consumers. The three big players, Qualitynet, Fast Telco and KEMS have already started teasing their offers on their instagram accounts. That actually sucks since we don’t have that many interesting expos that take place at the fair grounds, and InfoConnect was one that a lot of people went to. In any case once all the ISP’s have their offers up I’ll post a comparison chart like I do every year.


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Sneak Peek: New Kuwait Government Website

Post by Mark

egov

The Kuwait Government Online website is getting a facelift and you can get a preview of it right now. The redesigned website looks a lot cleaner and up to date than the current version as well as being easier to navigate. The new website is still in beta form so not everything is working yet but you can get a sneak peek at it by clicking [Here]


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Does Nationality Really Matter?

Post by Mark

wifi

Will I get slower WiFi as an expat?

Update: For those arguing that this is “just for research” purposes, replace the nationality question with one asking if you’re Sunni or Shia or if you’re straight, gay or bi or if you’re white, black, colored or whatever… Would that be ok even if it’s “just for statistics”? Obviously not and asking if I’m Kuwaiti or an expat is exactly the same thing. It’s invasive and it’s promoting segregation and all just for free wifi.


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Instagram Blocking Alcohol Accounts in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

Post by Mark

blocked

Not sure if this is new but I just found out about it yesterday and find it very odd. Instagram is blocking alcohol related accounts in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (and maybe other countries as well). If you try accessing accounts like @absolutvodka, @heineken or @jackdaniels_us you’ll be met with a message stating you can’t follow them in your region. I don’t understand the reasoning for this and if it’s Instagram or the brands themselves blocking access. It’s not like we can drink any alcohol by visiting those accounts. Plus the ministry doesn’t even ban alcohol related websites in Kuwait, you can visit Heineken.com now and it’s not blocked. Oddly enough @budweiser, @greygoose and @stoli are accessible on Instagram and so is @playboy. To add to the confusion, if you visit the blocked Instagram accounts from your browser they’re accessible.

via @ahmed


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Instagram Ads Are Here

Post by Mark

lux

It looks like Instagram ads have started popping up in our region. I spotted the ad above in my feed while another user spotted a Kraft ad. As I mentioned in my previous post, they’re soft launching at first with some preset partners, two of which seem to be Kraft Foods and Unilever. If you run into any ads let me know in the comments, I’m trying to figure out who all their partners for this soft launch are. On the other hand according to a blog post by Instagram, they’ve opened Instagram advertising to all businesses in the US market so Kuwait will most likely follow before the end of the year.


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Test the Fastest Internet in Kuwait

Post by Mark

500mb

The local coding school “Coded” is hosting an event tonight with Fasttelco to test an ultra fast internet connection that they claim to be the fastest in Kuwait. The connection will be a 500Mbps fiber connection and everyone is invited to come and try it out. To test that speed you can either bring your own laptop and connect it to one of the available ethernet cables or you could use one of their test laptops. If you’ve got a huge file you’ve been wanting to download or upload then this might be a good way to do it. For more information click [Here]


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Best Internet Provider in Kuwait 2015

Post by Mark

wimd

nima

Winner: WIMD (kinda)
Every summer I would go back to Canada. And in terms of mobile telecommunications, it would be like travelling to the 90s. The few people who had cell phones, had flip-phones. With antennas (remember antennas?). No one had any idea what the hell a SIM card was. The one company that had SIM cards wouldn’t give you one without you signing a plan for at least one year. Meanwhile at Heathrow airport, you could get a temporary SIM card from a vending machine. Total bush league. My point, in case you’re missing out, is that regardless of how ‘first-world’ a country is, it’s not above being completely backwards due to greedy complacent big business interests and/or excessive government bureaucracy.

Which brings me to internet in Kuwait. Over the years, I’ve had Fastelco, Qualitynet, WIMD. The internet in most parts of Kuwait is capped due to the ancient copper cables that connect everyone together. Unless you live in Salwa or South Surra, you’re going to be limited by your internet company. Now this brings us to an interesting point. Back in day, you didn’t need high-speed, since all you would do is pretend to be a girl on mIRC and talk to other men pretending to be girls on mIRC. But now, content providers are trying to go fully cloud-based, and when that’s the case, 4Mb isn’t going to cut it. Based on Mark’s results from WIMD, I decided to give those cats a try, and the results were much better. I get 14 now.

But even WIMD is limited in that all they really do is bypass the copper cables that go point to point nationally. You’re still using Qualitynet or Fastelco or United or whatever. When they go down because a fucking whale in Egypt took a huge shit on the undersea cables, you go down too.

The gripe is that for the amount of money people pay to internet companies is not proportional to the quality of service we get. Still, when it comes down to it, unless something changes dramatically with the technology or the government locally or regionally, WIMD is still the best, despite the technical issues that pop up from time to time. They’ve been kinda enough to reimburse me for my lost days of access. I appreciate that. When it works, it works and it’s the best.

All of this, is specifically for home users. If you’re a ‘corporate user’ you’ll get gouged by the OUTRAGEOUS prices you will be quoted. In the eyes of the internet companies in Kuwait, no matter how small your company is, you NBK to them, fat and rich. It’s criminal.

Runner up: LTE
I was one of the last one of my friends to switch from 3G to LTE. I held onto my shitass iphone 4 for years past the point I probably should have. Near the end of its long life, I was charging it literally constantly. During phone calls the battery life would countdown in real time and I would panic like it was a timebomb in a Bond movie. It would literally burn my ear from how hot it would get. Now that I have a sexy new phone with LTE, I am surprised by how incredibly fast it is sometimes. And with the personal hotspot, I always have a decent backup plan. Also, it’s what most smaller companies use now rather than get abused (please don’t write comments about me belittling abuse until you see the prices they charge and then gfy).

mark

Winner: WIMD
When I first signed up to internet at my apartment, I had DSL and I was getting 1Mbps since that was the fastest my line could handle. Then a couple of years later for some reason my line started handling 2Mbps, it was amazing since it was twice as fast. Out of the blue a couple of years later, something happened and my connection speed dropped, my line could no longer handle 2Mbps and I was back on 1Mbps. It was horrible. Then Mada came along offering 10Mbps and I jumped onboard. It was super fast… until everyone discovered it was super fast and then it became super slow. Luckily I found out about WIMD and I signed up to their 10Mbps plan and I’ve been using them ever since.

It’s been three years now and really the only major issue I had with them is when a residential building got constructed down the street blocking my line of sight with their tower. But that was an easy fix, we just moved my receiver to the far end of the building. They’re really the best solution for people who have shitty phone lines. At KD350 a year for 10Mbps they’re more than double the price of DSL providers but when your alternative is 1Mbps, KD350 is actually an incredible deal.

Runner up: Mobile Internet
Although Nima focused on LTE I am just grateful with have decent mobile internet and at reasonable prices and it doesn’t matter from which telecom provider. LTE or 3G I don’t care, they’re both great since they allow me to stream music in my car. I also love the fact we get such high download limits including unlimited options.

When I went to get a prepaid sim card in LA, they were like how much bandwidth do you want a month, 1GB, 2GB or 4GB? That’s like the norm over there, only T-Mobile had a higher option which was unlimited so I ended up signing with them. If I didn’t have WIMD at home I would have definitely signed up to one of the telecoms for internet. They’re a great alternative to DSL since they’re so much more easier to setup and most of the time faster than DSL.


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