Mada WiMAX – 3 months later

Posted by Mark

When Mada launched 3 months ago I reviewed it and gave it top marks. It was incredibly fast when compared to my 2MB DSL connection at home since Mada was 10MB while my phone line can’t handle more than just 2MB. Originally I was told that Mada would be unlimited bandwidth for the first 3 months and after that everyone would be capped with a 20GB monthly limit. Turns out that plan has changed since Mada will no longer be applying a download cap and they will continue to be unlimited. That’s why I decided to renew my Mada connection for another 3 months since it’s now become my primary internet connection at home. I love it!


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Internet in Kuwait is now cheaper

Posted by Mark

After my previous post comparing internet in Kuwait to Lebanon I was made aware that local internet providers just slashed their prices by 45% a couple of days back. A 2Mbps connection now costs around KD120-130 a year depending on your provider which is pretty cool. You can check out the new prices below:

Fasttelco Prices
Gulfnet Prices
KEMS Prices
Qualitynet Prices

Update: I was checking my account history and found the prices I was previously paying for my internet subscription with Qualitynet and I realize now they were super expensive compared to the new ones. Check them out:

July 2007
1Mbps (2Mbps free for first 3 months)
KD506 a year

July 2008
1Mbps (2Mbps free for 12 months)
KD380 a year

July 2009
1Mbps (2Mbps free for 12 months)
KD361 a year


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Internet in Kuwait vs Lebanon

Posted by Mark

If you want to appreciate your internet connection in Kuwait all you need to do is spend a few days in Lebanon. Most internet connections there are 256Kbps or 512Kbps and it’s just really really horrible. But there is some good news and that’s starting next month everyone’s connection in Lebanon is going to get a huge boost. Check the old and new speed/prices above to get an idea on how it compares with Kuwait.

You’ll notice with the new speed and prices, internet in Lebanon is actually going to be cheaper than Kuwait but what I want to highlight here is the download caps. Those caps listed above are the monthly download caps NOT daily ones. Imagine having a 2Mbps internet connection with just a 20GB monthly cap! I got pissed when my 2Mbps connection here in Kuwait got capped at 85GB a month but it’s like 4 times as bad in Lebanon. It really sucks.


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No more download limits!

Posted by Mark

Earlier today I tweeted that one of my sources told me that they were canceling the download caps and it looks like it’s true. Taken from the KUNA website:

In a move that would please all internet users in Kuwait, Minister Information and Minister of Communications Salem Al-Uthayna announced Thursday that his ministry issued new regulations obliging internet providers to cut the cost of internet subscription and remove the download limits on users.

The Minister said that the ministry officials have held intensive meetings with internet providers to review the cost and quality of the services provided to internet users in Kuwait. “The internet has become a cornerstone in development, economy and everyday life in Kuwait,” Al-Uthayna said.

Following this meeting, the ministry obliged internet providers to upgrade the quality of their services and to cut prices as of next month. The minister vowed to start new stage of close monitoring and accountability for internet providers to make sure to protect the rights of subscribers. [source]

Finally some great news although I do hope that means everyone in Kuwait will get fiber optics or else I’m still stuck with my phone lines max speed which is just 2Mbps…


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MP BuRamiah warns Communication Minister on internet prices

Posted by Mark

Someone get me some popcorn:

Member of Parliament (MP) Dr. Daifallah BuRamiah expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the Ministry of Communication, adding that giving the internet companies the chance to manipulate prices is unaffordable. BuRamiah said, “The ministry has become a playground for some influential traders and those who rob public funds.” He added claiming that the ministry turned a blind eye to the improper practices of some companies in order to gain political loyalty at the expense of public funds.

MP BuRamiah said that the ministry’s insistence on keeping internet services monopolized by a small number of companies indicates that the ministry is supporting some companies against the subscribers in order to satisfy some greedy traders and influential people. BuRamiah noted that he would direct parliamentary questions to the Minister of Communication to inquire about the number of internet companies, their owners, the fees, and also about the reasons behind not allowing foreign companies to enter the local market. He also warned the minister of neglecting his questions, which will in turn reveal the facts about those who rob public funds.

[Source]


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Freedom of internet access

Posted by Mark

Looks like the ISP’s vs MOC situation is going to get a bit more interesting in the coming few days.

MP Al-Barrak announced that he will reveal soon a contract between an individual and a company that proves the current violations committed by internet service providers that aim to erode freedom of internet access. The MP stressed that the formation of a governmental committee to probe this issue was rather an attempt to hide it.

[Source]


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The story behind the internet download caps

Posted by Mark

I had a meeting earlier today with a person that wants to remain anonymous. The person I met is connected to one of the local ISP’s and wanted to meet me so he can set some things straight regarding the internet caps.

First just a brief intro on how ISP’s get their internet. They have two ways generally, one is via satellite and the other by cable. Satellite is too costly and has limited bandwidth so most ISP’s go with cable. Now all communication coming in or out of Kuwait needs to go through the Ministry of Communications. They act like border immigration and this rule applies to both internet providers as well as telecommunication companies. The MOC charges the ISP’s for the various kind of lines that passes through them. You can check the documents at the end of post for details on this. Since 2007 the Ministry hasn’t decreased their prices and they also haven’t been investing in their infrastructure.

Now ISP’s have cables from their main headquarters to the MOC, and then from there they head to different countries. An example of a route might be ISP-HQ to MOC to Dubai to UK. Now the problem from what I understood is that because the Ministry of Communication hasn’t upgraded their infrastructure the ISP’s can’t get more lines and bandwidth into Kuwait. At the same time the amount of internet users in Kuwait is increasing. So if back in 2007 there were lets say a thousand people using 1 cable, the same cable today is providing to 1500. This is just an example and the numbers I mentioned are not accurate but just to help you visualize the problem.

So high demand and limited supply and add to that the price war that was taking place between the ISP’s and they all got to the point where they had a lot more subscribers than they and the MOC could supply bandwidth. The situation became critical and so for the first time ever, the ISP’s united and decided to increase and unify their prices during the last expo since the demand was was more than the supply. The ISP’s were hoping the increase in prices might also spark an outcry from the consumers which would in return put pressure on the MOC but that didn’t happen.

Since nothing changed after the expo and the ISP’s were still lacking bandwidth, they didn’t have a choice other than to set limits. The ISP’s came together for a second time and decided to place download caps on all their users and here we are today. The good news is that the caps resulted in an outcry that triggered the MOC to take action. I’ve also been told that both parties are currently in talks and it looks like everything is going to get fixed soon.

I’ve attached a few documents below related to everything I spoke about above. If anyone has any questions you can post them below and I’ll try to either to get you an answer. Here are the [Files]

If there is anyone from the MOC reading this, please contact me so I could get your side of the story.


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Hitler getting upset over internet cap in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

One of the forum users put the video above together. Super funny. [YouTube]

Thanks بو _ جاسم


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Lita’s has a website

Posted by Mark

Lita’s, the small Mexican restaurant I posted about last week now has a website with their full menu (but with no prices) posted online. I haven’t passed by the place yet since I just got back from Lebanon, but based on the feedback tons of people have been leaving behind in the previous post I can’t wait to pass by and try it. Here is the [Link]


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The ISPs and Ministry of Communication

Posted by Mark

Marzouq over at Z District has just posted a full account on the current internet situation in Kuwait. It’s a pretty long post but a very informative one. You can read it [Here]


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