Information Internet Kuwait

The story behind the internet download caps

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.

95 replies on “The story behind the internet download caps”

” Ministry of Communication hasn’t upgraded their infrastructure the ISP’s can’t get more lines and bandwidth into Kuwait”

thats there problem NOT mine, I aint gonna pay more

اذا وزارة المواصلات موقاعده تجدد نظامها ولا الشركات تزيد الخطوط…هذي مشكلتهم مو مشكلتي

ماراح ادفع فلس زياده

ولازم تستمر الحمله الموجهه ضدهم

I appreciate that finally someone from the ISP’s, although unofficially, has decided to step up and speak out.

HOWEVER, from what you have written mark, it sounds that they are playing victim here. If anything, they are victim to their own greed.

Instead of overselling bandwidth, they should have united and STOPPED selling all together.

Or atelast, not advertise “extreme” (by Kuwaiti standard) speeds like the 48mb line Qnet has advertised.

If that same person is reading this, I hope that they stop overselling and lower their prices. This will put more pressure on the MOC to upgrade their lines and capabilities.

When the population feels the heat, then a real outcry is going to occur.

Both parties share blame, not just one.

I’m not sure who is telling the truth, and I work in the industry and talk with the companies all the time. It seems like if Viva or Qnet or whoever said to the MOC we need more bandwidth (STM 1,4,12, etc) at the price they have stated on their memos then the MOC would give it to them and if they could not support it at the time they would install a new cable out to the world so they could support the new request, due to the MOC knowing it will recover its cost in no time.

Kuwait has the perfect physical set up for the best internet in the world, compact, flat, new primarily new construction etc. Instead, the internet in Kuwait is worse than many 3rd world countries…probably worse than any 3rd world country not currently undergoing revolution or in the midst of war.

I am wondering if they never made or put caps, would we ever know about all this? to be honest, im surprised why people never made an action against these ISP’s because really, the internet was from the start in Kuwait lackluster compared to all parts of the world and never did we get the advertised speeds but something close to it or 75 – 85% of it.

Anyways, im glad action is being made now, for the good of everyone. What still bothers me is how Viva introduced 42MB while we are capped i mean, are we that stupid or what? On top of all that if there is a problem with MOC they should not put the consumers in the middle of their own problems or using them as a scapegoat.

I really have no sympathy for these ISPs because they should do much better then this, why not make statements and speakout? there are many ways to prove a point rather than steal and backstab the consumer.

If this is the ISPs way of getting the customers to protest on their behalf, then it’s a very cheap tactic. First they hike the prices (increasing their margins) for a reaction, and now – according to this person – they place caps to get the same affect (maintaining their margin nonetheless).

If they managed an illegal cartel meeting, to screw the consumer, surely they should have used their joint ‘power’ more positively. They should put direct pressure on their supplier (MOC) and not pass the buck onto the customer. This would be unacceptable in any business.

I place blame on ISPs as much as on MOC. They are in breach of all the signed contracts they have with us.

حسب كلام النائب السعدون جميع شركات الانترنت الاربعه في الكويت غير مرخصه من الدوله .. ياليت بس مارك توجه هذا السؤال للشخص اللي قابلته عشان نعرف الاجابه وبعهدها لكل حادث حديث


The issue isn’t MOC’s infrastructure .. its the price. They have been charging the same (inflated) prices since 2007. There is no added benefit that the ISP’s are receiving from paying this amount; this is just the fee to connect to a bandwidth provider.

The ISPs still have to pay additional amounts for the actual bandwidth (and links) to the internet. The prices above make up over 60% of the cost to connect to the internet.

E.g. STM4 internet link costs 15,000 KWD, MOC adds another 22,500 KWD tax .. which results in a total cost of 37,500 KWD monthly for 620mbit. That is over 60KWD for 1Mbit per month just for the link and bandwidth.

the problem is they have us by the arm that hurts; coz we cant live without the internet, and there are no other options.

Kuwait has proved a perfect breeding place for monopolies, since the ISPs have formed a cartel and decided to push up their prices to force the governments hand, only for the govt to call their bluff, and in the end, its the end user that feels the brunt of it, coz we end up paying higher prices for slower services.

What will we do? boycott the ISPs? no point, we’ve all paid annually.

all we can do now is hope that the MOC provides more lines. but, unfortunately, prices in the past have proved to be downward inflexible, hence the current high price will be the normal price tomorrow.

عندي تصريح من مسوؤل كبير في احدى الشركات أيضا ما أقدر أقول أسمه يقول أن المشكلة من الوزارة

المشترك صاير مثل كرة القدم
الشركة تضرب فينا من صوب والوزارة من الصوب الثاني

الله كريم

What if the cap does not force the MOC to fix the problem? whats next? How about the ISPs piss at us? that will surely produce a stronger outcry.

Mark, please don’t tell us that you fell for their fairy tale.
“we decided to screw you over to get you on our side” wtf??!

I am just sharing their story. All I care about is the caps to be removed, I don’t care who’s fault it is I want my Internet back

Hi mark,

Cant imagine in this day and age kuwait is so backward as far as Internet connectivity is concerned.
I am based in Bahrain. I have 3G connectivity at my home utilizing a wifi router( the sim goes into the router itself). it costs me BD 30 for a 60gb package plan with download speed reaching from 6MB to 7 Mb atleast 60% of the time.
You guys should push the issue more agressively.


sorry but that’s just plain retarded, we are in 2011
yea i get your point, thank god the internet is cheaper now and etc etc, but also it doesnt cost them (the ISPs) to bring us internet like it costed them in 1996

again, we are in 2011, 1996 is not an excuse cuz it’s retarded retarded (one time isnt enough)

Instead of them protesting and petitioning, they increase OUR prices so that WE make noise. If that is really the case, then that explains why they haven’t done anything to increase supply. They will keep reaping higher margins…as simple as that.

And maybe you can touch on this subject as well….why are local and international calling rates so high in Kuwait? It’s beyond ridiculous when our neighbor Bahrain charges 1 BD (0.900 KWD) for 70 mins to call India while in Kuwait 0.900 fils will give you less than 5 minutes. However the good news is that the price of khubus has remained 0.50 fils for as long as I can remember.

“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.”


Are they playing the role of the leaders of revolution now?! Is anybody really buying this silly argument?


This is common ” I a victim” speech. The guys running these companies are probably the guys in charge of the MOC. Charge more to charge more to make more. They are just not as smart and the Americans in covering up their tracks. Welcome to the world my friends.

Two comments.

1) Infrastructure. I have lived here four years and have been astounded that country with the oil revenue Kuwait has does so little to invest in ANY of their infrastructure – the sewage plant disaster, roads, phones, etc. But, there may be a larger underlying problem for the MOC. Do a tracert to just about any IP/web address and I think you’ll find just about everything travels through Saudi, (e.g., Jeddah, Riyad). Even though Kuwait may have multiple lines it has only one “route” to the outside world. Even if they improved the internal infrastructure to state-of-the-art wireless, they would also have to increase the number of lines to Saudi; and Saudi may not be entertaining that idea due to their own constraints.

2. Network traffic. The type of network traffic has changed dramatically in the past few years. When traffic was mostly text based web or, at worst, static image files, it would be practically impossible to download the current cap levels. The traffic load increased significantly with the introduction of digital media – first “small” audio files, then “larger” video, to today’s “massive” HD/BluRay. Today, the problem worsens more as the world is almost literally replacing their television/satellite systems and demanding real-time streaming HD video. And, lets factor in another big contributing factor. When I came here in 2007, there were very few cellular phones capable of supporting web, much less streaming media (as an example compare the HTC TyTN I bought then to the HTC systems today. This “simple” change more than doubled the number of network “connections” as users were no longer limited to household physical wire connections. It should come as no surprise that all the cellphone data for ZAIN, MTC, Wataniya all go over the same network infrastructure to Saudi as the physical wired connection.

Good luck Kuwait!

So the ISP treat the public as idiots and annoy them then direct their outrage toward the MOC ? Maskhara e7na ?

I thought only Alwatan newspaper treats people like this not the ISP joined ?

I don’t know why I get the feeling that you and marzouq are involved in provoking the people against the MOC in this play. I don’t trust anyone anymore !

” I’ve also been told that both parties are currently in talks and it looks like everything is going to get fixed soon. ”

could someone please elaborate on this point, thanks.

This is just sad that my country with this much wealth (Mashallah) can’t solve this problem fast and we are just being kicked like a soccer ball “as another user stated” as we wait for someone to come out and tell us the truth and Also tell us where all our money is going.

From the beginning of February till now the internet was just shitty till they made the cap (i don’t doubt if they made it waaaay earlier before any of us ever found out)

Its like watching kids in a school yard fighting over who is wrong in this either ISP’s or MOC just unite already and fix all the people’s problems who are having blood pressure from all this problem and hopefully other problems as well.

It not just the INTERNET that is INFLATED. TELECOMMUNICATIONS( Cell phones lines) are ridiculous as well, Cost of food had gone up, Our gasoline in more expensive than Saudi and Qatar, Real estates in outrageous( 1 million dollars for 400 Meter squared, OMG), Car Dealerships are sticker their cars at much higher prices that they should be, remember the Jazira scam for the soccer channels requiring you had to buy a new receiver, EVEN STARBUCKS is ripping us off, which increasing their coffee prices. Retailers DOUBLING the price of Products. We are forced to pay.

Our gas prices are still laughably low and I’d say they should probably be higher since prices this low encourage reckless use (I fill up my car for 4KD, in the states it’s close to 30 and in Europe can reach 50, given this I don’t care if I could save an extra half KD because it’s already so cheap)

If you don’t want to buy a car from here ship it from abroad, people do it all the time. Starbucks increased with every other cafe, coffee prices worldwide are rising. I can’t recall the last time a retailer doubled the price of a major product but in Kuwait higher prices are usually the fault of the consumer now. If people are gonna buy a million iPads at twice the price why cut it?

My parents don’t give me food to eat. I then start to steal from my neighbors. When I get caught, nothing happens to me after my neighbors hear my sad story. All my irate neighbors then deal with my parents.

That makes me innocent. It wasn’t my fault anyway right?

What I know is that it’s not MOC’s fault that the infrastructure is old. In other countries in the west, as well as in UAE (i.e. Etisalat), the telecommunication companies are investing in the submarine cables, not the government. The government is only upgrading the fiber cables in the country. What the government does is use Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)to put different kinds of pressure on the companies to do different things (i.e. fixing prices, agreements & etc.) So in order to get more profit, the telecommunication companies invest in the submarine cables and then lease some bandwidth to other internet companies. I believe in UAE, Etisalat is the one who is investing in their submarine cables. In Saudi Arabia, it’s STC. Correct me if I’m wrong. I wanna know if I am thinking straight 🙂

according to the person i spoke to there are two issues here:

1) MOC charges too high for the passthrough
2) The MOC don’t have any more space for more lines to pass through

so we are hostage
kidnaped by the companies and the MOC have to apply to the company so they can release us ?

and from what i understand the problem not by the using its by the lack of supply so why do they lie to us and saying its because of the bad usage of the internet

even so the other countries aroung the globe they dont have such thing and the prices are extremly low to our prices even in the region

so they are big fat liars and they want to reduce the cost of the internet for them self to gain more money and we have to pay or the MOC have to reduce their rental

if i am in the MOC I wouldnt agree for this extortion and make them apply by the law and reduce their prices by the law

يه بيكحلها عماها

He wanted to put on makeup, but poped her eyes out – Kuwaiti proverb

This unofficial top secret dude couldn’t justify the ISPs actions even after you corrected the article to make it sound better Mark, it still makes ISPs look like shit and that probably is because that’s what they really are.

Down with the ISPs, people don’t fall for their lies an deceptive unofficial dudes. Free the Internet

The post is based on what I was told. There is no intention to make the ISP’s look good or look bad and my correction was to more accurately reflect what I was told.

This post defends the ISPs. I don’t understand why the ISPs defend them selves secretly. This is what you posted at the beginning “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 cap”.

Those who work in broad day light have nothing to fear and nothing to hide. IF ISPs were really suffering from MOC they would have communicated the issue to their customers clearly.. like any company anywhere in the world.

Whats going on here is unfair towards the customers. It is a war launched on customers by the ISPs. There is no ‘fighting’ between ISPs or price wars as mentioned above. Kuwait largest ISPs are owned by relatives and partners in same companies. Price war is none sense, if anything its war against the end user.

What is going on right now?
Being this is Kuwait…
The Ministry is most likely playing on the same side of the ISPs and whatever statement the Ministry declare or whatever threats its making against ISPs TRUST ME it is being done only to support the ISPs on the long run.

Here is what is happening/ going to happen:
1) ISPs increase their prices
2) Consumers complaint
3) Ministry of communication reacts expecting a reaction from the parliament pretty soon.
4) Parliament react, MOC ass is partially covered. MPs sound they’re demanding for consumer protection, really whats going on is asking for support to the ISPs.
5)People support MPs thinking that MPs are going to help the end consumers, the truth is this support is building up to help the ISPs.
6) MOC under pressure for Parliament, ISPs, and consumers.
7) MOC grants ISPs what they want, consumers get very little and shut up.

end of story.

if you think “The Ministry is most likely playing on the same side of the ISPs” then you have got to see how the managers of the ISPs’ act when in a meeting at the MOC…its like “yes sir” , “thank you sir” and “حاضر طال لعمرك” .

The ISP’s has been asking the MOC for the upgrade for almost 2 years, but what was the MOC response ?


an ex MOC big head -in prison now- asked for shares in one of the ISP’s just to ease the pressure on the ISP and make life a bit easier for them.

did anyone ever stop and think that someone could actually be benefiting from the statuts quo? There is always a reason as to why certain things do not advance and one of the main reasons usually is that someone or some people could be benefiting from the current situation.

Not true, its not “relatively correlated” a ticket to the US didn’t going up 4 folds since 2003. It went up just like the price of any product or service tied to a commodity. That’s why we the airline industry downsized and consolidated to survive. They tried to price-fix but got busted…because it monopolized the industry, and that what these thieving ISPs are doing.

What about us, the users? Everyone paid for their hard working money for the internet yet that’s how they treat their customers? I did not pay for the last two months to have my internet capped, they used me and all their customers! Their excuse is worse then their action and I can’t believe you even posting their excuse, Mark! And don’t tell me your being fair here because the issues is clear and their is nothing to be fair about with them.

I disagree with you Maxwell,

I think posting this helps the people understand the story further…And as you can see, the user community in Kuwait is quite enlightened about the various details that surrounds this issue, and isn’t quite convinced with what this person stated to Mark. I think Mark did a great thing by posting this, and as he said, I really hope someone from the MOC will comment.

We are still being served through copper lines. Fiber was suppose to be installed but that’s taking its own sweet time. I would rather say that both the ISP and MOC are making good money at our cost. Do you really think that the ISP’s here can take a decision without the MOC’s approval? I dont think so!

FYI, ” the ISP’s united and decided to increase and unify their prices” in the US is called collusion, and is against the law.

Unfortunately this is not illegal in Kuwait. There are steps being take change that, but at the moment it remains legal.

Are you sure? I’ve come across a few cases where this was raised as a legal issue, only to be told that this practice is unfortunately legal in Kuwait. Again, new legislation is being brought forward to hopefully change this, but it remains legal as of today.

Oh, after doing some research, it seems that I was wrong. It is illegal under the civil code of trade. Please disregard my earlier comments.

Welcome to Kuwait lol. This country’s economy was BUILT ground-up on oligopolistic price-fixing and severe market corruption in all aspects and industries and it’s not going to end any time soon. It’s just not possible short of a complete overthrow of the current players.

Now do people understand why Kuwait won’t open up to foreign investment? It’s bc it creates true competition which they do NOT want. They want the market to remain corrupt to their advantage and to remain under their complete control.

Very well said PFunk.

Thats why Kuwait will never see a independent telecom regulator nor a “genuine” capital market authority

…where else can the business families of Kuwait list their crappy “paper companies”, dump them on shareholder’s and never be held accountable.

That’s sad. I really hope something changes there’s a lot of wasted potential. There’s so much that can be done, and while a lot of people know this, no one is in a position to do anything about it.

They won’t bc they can’t. The main players exploit the country and set the field for everyone else through the govt. so of course they will tip the scales in their favour every time, and they are the MOST powerful in resources and connections, especially when they (the players) work TOGETHER against the consumer. We just don’t stand a chance to ALL of them united.

This sort of complex corruption thrives uncontrollably in developing 3rd world countries with heavy, completely unregulated private and governmental influence and operations. It doesn’t go away overnight if ever, bc this is how the country was set up in the first place. It was set up to be exploited from the core foundation.

This is called taking the customers as hostages. if we accept their story we would be suffering from a stockholm syndrom

Since it comes down to the MOC, or any governmental body, in Kuwait.. la bilalla ma shifna khair. Yomhom 3an sina and the word “planning” and “infrastructure” are not in their dictionary.

The telecom operators are owned by big families in Kuwait, they obviously don’t want an independent body regulating their prices and creating a competitive landscape.

تقرير: الكويت الأعلى سعراً في خدمات الإنترنت المنزلي بين دول التعاون

Just got that tweet from Kuwait news.

I Say We Hack Their Sites ! especially Gulfnet Since they are the one who Done it first And They Have Something Called 3GB Shit Package Where you can download 3GB ~ With no limit for 4.5KD !!!!!!!! WTF

If we succeed bringing their DataBase Down ! then the rest shall fear ! what are we capable off , And Maybe Remove the Cap


I am glad we can actually talk about this and not get beef from it.

But I hate to reiterate this again, but the price fixing here is ridiculous

Sony, the electronic empire, has finally started making profit of the Play Station 3 this year. So imagine, they were enduring losses since that console came out into the market and they finally started profiting from it.

Why did they do that? Simple. They wanted to keep the market going and stir up the competition. Not to mention to repay their loyal fans/customers who were waiting for their next move.

Compare that mentality to our companies here in Kuwait. Or rather, to our ISPs who could not tolerate their annual profits NOT increasing to what they hoped for.

If my mom and dad are having a fight, then why am I getting whipped by both of them? I don’t mind getting whipped when I do something wrong. But what wrong did I do beside hiding under my bed, covering myself with my blanket, and closing my ears?

Logic. Can I has this?

welcome to kuwait
you will get punished and yelled at from parents and friends/work boss even if your not guilty.
the difference between closed minds and open minds

Mercaptoethanol, true specially the profit part its flatting out for them, so they came with the smart(sarcasticly saying) “cap” thing to increase their share of money!

I think i will cut my speed if i renew my sub cause theirs no reason for goin the other direction since its capped ;0)

Im so pissed off.

Such a classic example of how the consumer in Kuwait is at the bottom of the food chain.

SO pissed off at how we’ve been tossed left and right because of a corporate ordeal.


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