Boycott Batelco!

9 May, '06

What has Batelco done?
Batelco has eliminated the UNLIMITED usage ADSL packages from their offering, and are forcing everyone to migrate to the new packages and risk paying additional fees. Batelco are also lying about this and claiming it is better for users, while it is much worse.

Why did Batelco change the prices?
To fight the usage of shared networks which will be extremely expensive without unlimited bandwidth.

Batelco claim these packages are enough/fair.
We demonstrate below that these packages are NOT reasonable and that we should have a right to a reasonably priced UNLIMITED usage package like the rest of the world.

What can I do about this?
It’s hard to find an alternative to Batelco, but we can at least raise awareness to the problem and alert as many people as possible to what Batelco is doing. Continue reading to understand the issue and find ways in which you can help.

You owe yourself a favour, Boycott Batelco!

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Comments (31)

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  1. %50 says:

    old news, not enough and fast reaction ===> no chang
    goddamn batelco, goddamn ART

  2. MoClippa says:

    Hope you guys get this sorted out back home… Thats absolutly bollocks!

    Anyone know if this is all really soley to blame on the downturn in profits or is there more to the story? Can Bahrains International line as it currently support the load requirements on bandwith, or is it getting too bloated…

    Still even in that case I don’t see why all the consumers have to pay, its like freakin Lebanon, how can you talk about a mobilized, educated, modern society (which all go hand in hand with technology, Informatization) when you charge ridiculous rates for users to log on??

  3. Chanad says:

    thanks mahmood.

    someone posted this link on bahrainonline a few days ago:
    http://nobatelco.bhrnt.net/

    the site owners should to link to each other for the people who can only read one language

  4. MooDy says:

    oh my god this is Stupid !!
    how can they =|
    What can we do Mahmood ? they are our only isp ( for now though ) …
    cant wait for a new isp …

  5. Anonymous says:

    It’s about time this website went up!! I’m not surprised Batelco released such crap packages, its not their first time you know.. considering working for them in the past, I know what the author means about employees believing passionately with their own lies being fed by close-minded management.

    Anyway, competition is just around the corner! I hear DSL competitors (atleast 2 new) will enter the market as early as this July! speeds like 1MB and 2MB will be the norm and diffinetely UNLIMITED 🙂

  6. mahmood says:

    anon, from your mouth to Heaven’s ears!

  7. mahmood says:

    Moody, we can move to Vodafone, their packages are supposed to be better and as their internet network is GSM based, then you’re really not limited at all in where you want to access the net. The problem is for offices with networks etc, but I’m sure there are ways around it. Businesses have to evaluation convenience (Batelco) to the upheaval required to move to another network topology for such a lifeline as the internet.

  8. mahmood says:

    thank Chan’ad

  9. Waffles says:

    I was waiting for you to write about that. Good site. Bad Batelco, very very bad.

    Hopefuly by the time i return bahrain (June), there will be other options for me. Im a heavy user, i easily download 1G a day. I will miss my internet connection here, 10MB 15BD… sigh.. 🙁

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wowww… I thought the threshold thing was a small problem but look what is happening! this boycotting Batelco thing is popping up EVERYWHERE.. SMS’s websites in English and Arabic..Emails

    didnt know it was this bad! where was everybody before!??! Talk about the power of the internet and blogging!! 🙂

  11. naddooi says:

    I REALLY hope the comment about the two ISPs is true, otherwise, we have NO choices in Bahrain, for all the good deregulating the telecom industry is doing!

    Only other ISP we have here is SatNet from Orbit, and even THAT is limited to 500MB a day, after which your connection is degraded to 64kbps (although you will NOT be charged extra). And the service is apparently not much better than batelco’s is!

    I completely agree with the site, they should be monitoring those connections with the highest throughput, and checking them out for “illegal” usage, why should the rest of us suffer?! i mean 15 gigs!!! I SERIOUSLY cannot live with that!

    And where is the TRA when all of this is going on?! Making more of their “mobile menace” ads?! I seriously think a legal consultation is in order!

  12. Alfanan says:

    The reason behind Batelco’s new (stupid) move is more for political gain that it is for financial. We all know that Batelco and the government work hand in hand to screw, oops, I mean improve the telecommunications system in this god forsaken place. When you limit people to use the Internet, and when you take down the “shared” networks in the tens of neighborhoods and villages in Bahrain, many things will happen:

    1) Back in the 90’s, when all the crazy riots were happening (more so than today), how do you think people were able to communicate with the mass of people to arrange and organize for these gatherings? You guessed it, forum advertising. People were posing ads on forums for political gatherings online, resulting in thousands of people showing up. The people behind these forums, like Bahrainonline, are now facing a difficult time, and a rather expensive future, if they wish to continue their forum.

    2) Since the FTA with the US, Bahrain got a hair up their butt in wanting to “stop” movie and software piracy. When you have an unlimited bandwidth, you can use a bit torrent program to download anything, and I mean ANYthing. Soon, that will be stopped, thanks to the new plans.

    3) When you eliminate all the shared networks in the villages and neighborhoods, you can easily then pin point who is going where on the net with their own unique ip addresses, keeping an additional eye on YOU.

    4) Separating the class of people who use the net. Meaning, if you can’t afford to get an internet line, then you’re $hit out of luck. Thus, raising the number of users who are pro government, who will potentially build/maintain/own a website that’s pro government.

    5) If you think that other companies are going to offer a different deal than Batelco’s, think again. The TRA rules prohibit other competitors to provide a service that’s in direct competition with Batelco’s. If Batelco doesn’t offer unlimited plans, then you, the new company, can’t offer them. Sure, new companies can offer plans with lower rates, but not with unlimited usage.

    6) When the new rules are implemented, websites that offer live broadcast, like QuranNet, will be forced to shut down, or take their live broadcast service offline. Resulting in the number of followers of live events to diminish, causing less people to deliver the message to.

    7) Political societies in this country depend on the net as an essential medium to reach out to their followers. Limit the internet, and you limit the distance that these political societies to go far.

    I hope I was able to shed the light on another corner of Batelco’s dark conspiracy. I agree with you Mahmood, we should boycott Batelco. But, what other options do we have? I remember when I was in California recently, connections there were like 2 MB Unlimited for $35. Now THAT’S a deal I’d like to signup for 

  13. mahmood says:

    We keep going on about Batelco and the TRA and in reality nothing will change. We currently have no alternative and quite a number of people will just commit suicide if they don’t get their internet – me included!

    What pisses me off is that we all fully realise the immediacy and importance of the internet, and Batelco knows it too, only too bloody well, and if they increase prices or limit bandwidth or whatever else they wish to do, no one, in reality, can do anything about it…. unless some real and viable competition comes into the island, and for a market as small as this with its telecommunications infrastructure owned by the largest incumbent competitor, there is no one in their right mind would want to come and compete in such an unlevel playing field.

    London was at one point like this, with only BT operating there, now thanks to competition my brother tells me that he pays UKP14 for an EIGHT MEGABIT line.

    Let’s all suck on this for a while until Batelco deems it necessary to provide us with that kind of speed at quadruple the price which I shall be only too happy to pay.

  14. Anon says:

    The TRA has sadly not taken the steps it could/should have taken given its powers and obligations under the telecom law. The TRA has not insured proper ACCESS to competitors; sadly the Bahrain Internet Exchange is operational and some ISPs are buying bandwidth from it, and selling it within the building till the TRA forces Batelco to offer reasonable and fair access prices. Batelco has done this because they are now going to set high wholesale prices to ISPs and they want to make sure they bundle the internet with it. This is clearly illegal ISPs should have the ability to buy from BIX and other sources. Currently you can check out http://www.bix.bh and find out how cheap raw bandwidth is from the exchange. ISPs would be able re-sell internet at a small proportion of the current prices and leased line prices would drop sharply. I don’t think we need to be subjected to Batelco’s unfair and illegal treatment, and we shouldn’t remain quiet. You especially as bloggers, and internet users should have the obligation to read your own rights and force the TRA to act up. These matters can be technical in nature and we need to get the message out. Tariq you should write about this issue, Batelco needs to provide bit stream DSL prices to operators, and the TRA should issue an Access order to allow the multiple licensed ISPS to connect to Batelco and reach business and residential customers!!!! Bit Stream DSL is the link beween operators and people!!! I gurantee you that prices will drop termendously and service levels will increase. Today any company at the Al-Moayed Tower can get 10MB DSL … and you can too…

  15. alfanan says:

    8mb line?!?!

    I think I just woke myself up from a dream.

    When this speed comes to Bahrain, I can only imagine how much it’ll cost.

    What’s also really interesting is that Batelco haven’t yet announce the plans for their business customers. How much will those packages cost, I wonder?

  16. Anonymous says:

    On the contrary Mahmood, I think we have a chance of ‘the powers that be’ pulling in Batelcos reins on this one! Even if we do not win this and are forced to take their crap, we won’t have taken it lying down or just gave up before the fight even started, the meek will NOT inherit a fair and decent internet service here.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Alfanan, about your point:

    ‘The TRA rules prohibit other competitors to provide a service that’s in direct competition with Batelco’s. If Batelco doesn’t offer unlimited plans, then you, the new company, can’t offer them… ‘

    You’re plain wrong! Read the Law again, it states that companies that are ‘dominant’ like Batelco or have what they call a ‘significant market power’ like Batelco, then ALL packages need to approved by the TRA.. new operators who come in as long as they are licensed from the TRA can provide WHATEVER variation of a service or new telecom service they like to provide! so if they wanted like 2MB unlimited for 20BD they can go ahead and do so!

    … What we ALL need is a public debate knowing the Telecoms Law and knowing our rights as consumers and rights and obligations of operators. I just cant wait for these DSL operators to enter in the market where I will once again download my movies and music without the worry of big charges coming in the end of the month!

    Batelco should’ve simply used what is called a ‘Fair Access User Policy’ on its customers … thats it.. no need for Threshhold crap. The policy would state that users who are totally excessive in downloads (i.e. top 1 or 2% or less of the population) need to be reminded of going to a ‘business’ level package so as to not disrupt the quality of internet for others who are using it.. if they disobey.. then they would be disconnected…SIMPLE. Fair Access User Policies are everywhere so why doesnt Batelco do it?!?!

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is an example of a ‘Fair Use Policy’ from UK Online (which by the way provide DSL 1MB for 9.99 pounds!!)

    #

    UK Online is committed to ensuring our broadband services are quick and reliable for all of our customers. UK Online Broadband has been designed for consumer/residential use only, and is not intended for business or commercial use.

    In order to make our broadband services affordable to consumers, UK Online Broadband is, as with all other consumer ISPs, ‘contended’. This means that the available bandwidth is shared by all customers active at a particular point in time. The contention rates differ depending on whether we deliver your service using our own network or BT’s as we are able to offer lower contention over our own network (33:1 rather than 50:1 over BT’s residential network).

    Contention normally has little or no effect on the average user. However, when a customer’s use of the service is excessive this can result in reduction of bandwidth for other users.

    As stated above UK Online Broadband is suitable for residential use only, and we rely on our users being fair and considerate of others in their broadband usage. If one person takes up much or all the bandwidth this results in a loss of service quality and speed for other users, and in some cases where one customer’s usage is excessive to an extreme, this can have a long-lasting detrimental effect on both the rest of our users and our network.

    The Fair Usage Policy informs our customers of the rules of contention and residential broadband usage, and enables us to intervene if your usage (being the amount of downloading and/or uploading you perform) is consistently excessive, and adversely impacts our network and/or other users. If your usage is more suited to a business broadband product, then we will alert you to this and respectfully suggest you investigate business service options.
    #

    UK Online Broadband is sold as an ‘unlimited’ service, and is indeed unlimited in terms of normal consumer and residential usage. It is not sold as, nor is it appropriate for, unlimited business or commercial usage. If your usage is harming our network, or having a negative effect on other users, then we reserve the right to restrict your service.
    How will I know if my usage is excessive?

    Our aim is to provide a fair service and not to cap services unnecessarily. Therefore, we think to impose an actual figure on what we consider to be “excessive” use is not necessarily helpful and may penalise users unfairly. What is deemed excessive will be determined by a number of factors including the length of time over which the usage occurs, as well as the amount of bandwidth being used.

    If you are continually using more than what we consider to be your fair share of bandwidth, and in effect ‘taking bandwidth away’ from our other users, we will contact you by letter and request that you reduce your usage.

    If you continue to demonstrate excessive usage, your service will be contended alongside other users with similar usage to your own. The contention will be no higher than the advertised level for your service, either 33:1 or 50:1, depending which network we use to provide your broadband (either our own or BT’s). You can continue to download and upload as much as you like, however you will notice the contention effect on your service, especially when there is high usage of the service by the other users with whom you are contended.
    #

    This contention will apply for an initial period of four weeks. Following this four week period your usage will continue to be reviewed. If the excessive usage continues we may take further action to restrict your usage or may even be forced to terminate your agreement with us and cease making our service available to you.
    ————————————————

    …So what do you all think of this? it’s better than being charged and our internet service limited all of a sudden!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Now that’s what I call an educated consumer 🙂

  20. mahmood says:

    THANK YOU!

    I’m going to raise this issue at the Young Businesspersons Committee at the Chamber of Commerce as I firmly believe that this action by Batelco impinges on SMEs ability to do business and limit their competitiveness in the local and international markets.

  21. angelo says:

    Try 2Connect or Lightspeed 😉 I know that 2Connect are currently not taking residential clients as they’re stacking in more capacity but as per my call to them today, they would be very soon offering residential packages — unlimited obviously… 2 kinds — along the lines of you set the allocation and pay by it or go dedicated.

    Does anyone remember the blocking of skype back in October (i think) last year? that was just a test/exercise. I don’t have any confirmation to say they’d be doing that again.. but they have the software to filter out skype packet traffic. — fyi.

    cheers!

  22. naddooi says:

    I have a suggestion:
    Lets write up a proposal to companies in the market (Lightspeed, 2Connect, Menatelecom, SatNet) and propose that they offer residential unlimited broadband internet connections.

    Some stats on the current internet usage in Bahrain, etc etc, and the kind of packages offered in other countries in the region, maybe a bit of a financial model, some projections… I am sure we can show a case for profitability in providing internet to residential consumers. Convince the potential competition to introduce their services sooner.

    I think I’m going to start the research right now!

  23. mahmood says:

    Naddooi you can start here! The guys at BocottBatelco have done a good research into this already.

  24. naddooi says:

    Yes, i know! I’ve just read through all the comments too, they are great!

    But I’m talking about a proper document to show the feasibility of providing such services to the residential market. Including demonstrating and quantifying the demand for unlimited internet, and maybe possible pricing schemes, in line with neighbouring countries (as already shown on the boycottbatelco site).

    A paper we can submit to the companies in order to convince them that there is a market, and a potential of profits.

    Many of the companies in Bahrain at the moment seem to be very hesitant to get into the residential internet market. I called up Menatelecom, they apparently have no short term plans to provide residential internet, and speednet havent yet replied to my emails.

  25. naddooi says:

    I mean lightspeed have not replied yet…

  26. mahmood says:

    I don’t know if doing the market research for these companies will do any good really as one would think (hope) that they have done just that themselves to quantify the scope in their own business planning. I know I would have in their place.

    I think another approach here would be more appropriate and less time-costly for us as activists against these policies… I keep thinking that the TRA must have the solution, not the individual operators. We cannot level blame on a company wanting to make money, even if they are greedy. That is not their problem, that is what they are in business to do. But the regulator is the one we should lobby to get the situation corrected.

    That doesn’t mean that we should forget about the companies themselves of course, pressure should be exerted on them to reduce their prices, sure, and the best way to do that is to move to another operator. As there is no feasible alternative broadband supplier at the moment, then maybe the pressure on Batelco would be to hurt them where they would feel it most: mobile and long-distance calls migration. We have MTC as the alternative for mobile communication, and probably Mena or Kalam for the long distance calls.

    As there is (and should never be) any penalty for moving between operators, on a personal level it shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as to businesses, they will have to probably reprint business cards and stationary.

    A small price to get your message through…

  27. anon says:

    I was happy when batelco came out with their 1 MB lines and 2MB lines. I said to myself, ” Finally Bahrain is upgrading “. I was hoping that batelco turned a new leaf, and decided to give better speeds at better prices. I mean c’mon. BD 50 for 512? Damn. If I was the law, Batelco would have been behind bars for theft. Nyways, Batelco “promoted” users to their new lines without their consent and imposed threshold. The threshold was fine until i saw what was to happen if users were to finish it. 64kbps? Thats freakin basic dialup. Do i pay BD 40 per month for dialup? And 15 GB is snacks for me. I finish that in a week.
    Damn batelco.
    Evolve.

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