It’s more than enough!

14 May, '06

According to Batelco’s announced statistics toward the end of the talk this evening. In relation to a 15GB thresheld (past tense of threshold) account, you can enjoy the following per month after which you would have reached your limit:

  • Surf for 10 hours a day
  • Chat for 6 hours a day
  • Download up to TEN short movies a week!
  • Download up to TEN MP3 files a week!
  • Download TWO FULL MOVIES (get this) in a whole month!
  • Receive and send up to 60 email messages a day

I am absolutely gobsmacked and thank the reel good folks at Batelco for allowing me to spend BD40 (US$106) a month on a 15GB bandwidth throttled connection of a whole ONE MEGABITS PER SECOND.

I should be thankful… and I am!

Especially that there was no change in position tonight, except a vague promise that “we will look into it over the next 3 months or so.”

Not to mention of course that Mr. K repeatedly explaining to us dimwits that telecommunications is a “very complex business and very technical.” Of course we shall take that as fact and not regard it as being condescending to his audience at all. It’s just Aussie speak really.

More on tonight’s fiasco tomorrow… I’m just too drained at the moment listening to them wax lyrical about how WE should fight their fights with the TRA for the “very socially responsible” BD10 per month 256k connection they intend to make available to low income villagers.

Now before I leave you, let me give you the following song which I am in love with at the moment, it is poppy, lyrics are shallow, nice beat though, but most important please understand my disclaimer if you are in Bahrain:

  • I cannot be held responsible if you bust your limits with Batelco and have to pay extra than what you agreed to initially;
  • nor will I be held responsible if your kids come and beat the crap out of you because by listening to this song you have gone into the 64kbps (free for the rest of the month mind you) envelope because of said busted limit;
  • I shall not be held responsible if you do not like the song and that you only have 9 more to listen to this week

If you’re anywhere else in the world, to hell with you you bastard, give me some of your bandwidth!

[audio:baya3-alward.mp3]
Amal Hegazy :: Baya’ Al-Ward (Flower Seller)

Filed in: Human Rights
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  1. Mahmood’s Den · Optimism… maybe | 15 May, '06
  1. angelo says:

    anyone downloading movies from Napster who’s deciding to go on the 256k/10 dinar plan.. well Batelco’s Adel said tonight you could just about d/l a max of 2 movies per month… 😉

    I was disappointed with the meeting today! And the TRA… seriously you guys will have more angry folks coming your way soon.

    Those guys came to talk about limitations today! And they admit that they’re stats many be 100% inaccurate… guess what — Batelco also outsources their research to other companies

  2. Yousif says:

    Mohd,

    Have a look:

    ADSL Price Comparison, a South African website:
    http://www.hellkom.co.za/research/adsl2.htm

    Worst ADSL offering in the world?
    http://digg.com/deals/Worst_ADSL_offering_in_the_world_

  3. mahmood says:

    Angelo where the hell were you hiding?

    Yousif, thanks!

  4. MooDy says:

    About todays show im not really sure if it was a tragedy or a Comedy pre-plotted Discussion …

    heh nice one Mahmood … so they now gonna tell us how many times we can chat , look at it from the bright side …
    total crap that was… xcuse my french mates .

    all what they gave us were poor excuses =\ but hey , they made me laugh …

  5. Chanad says:

    sorry i couldnt be there mahmood. i had some prior mother’s day arrangements that i couldn’t miss (or risk certain death).

    “ten short movies a week” ??? can someone please introduce peter k to youtube and google video?

  6. angelo says:

    Mahmood, wasn’t hiding :D… been there since 6.15.. Batelco’s CE came in with the Corporate Affairs dude and at about 6.50pm…. before that it was the BIS folks trying to get it together…

    INterestingly enough your blog was quoted many tmes today: at the opening: mAHMOOD’S Den says: let’s hear it from the Horse’s Mouth, Peter K, says: intelligent debate at M.tv.

    Good to know that Gold is cheaper than Batelco 😉 and it seems that someone on that Batelco panel wasn’t convinced about downloading from ITunes store, Nick! And when I asked him after the meeting why didn’t Batelco cut down on those sharing network connections, he asked me how!!! For crying out loud!! you have network management profiling options on all out inet accounts, surely you can see where the bottlenecks are happening.

    Loved the opening, really loved it! ICT in Bahrain, bal ,bla, bla.. anyways someone from Bahrain’s blogger community needs to give Batelco a Blogging 101 as they don’t seem to know what podcasting or video tagging is.

    [[after the meeting]]

    Me: You said the TRA takes a long time to approve things for Batelco, so on an average how long does the TRA take to approve your agreements? (offically that is)

    Batelco: about 40-60days.

    me: so thats about 2 months right?

    Batelco: well you know you can’t really say average.. sometimes it’s a week and sometimes it’s about a month, it depends on their people and time and whether they have the right people to approve it, TRA// well you know….

    me: You know you don’t have any real competiton in Bahrain when it comes to the internet right, so wth that in mind and knowing you really aren’t going to cut out the StealthNets why did you come up with these plans?

    Batelco: Every competitor here in Bahrain are real competitors to us, so which ISP did you switch to Angelo?

    [[]]

    Avoiding questions, beating around the bush, sorry that’s not acceptable.. I can’t waste anymore time with trying to reason with you, Aurevoir! batelco.

  7. KoOKiE says:

    Hi guys

    Im just soo pissed at batelco people really im just out of my mind what they did today was something i would never wish to see again.

    Well their were around 250 people or more….umm 12 to 15 questions asked all were in favour for unlimited questions but hats upp for Mister CEO he just has his own tactix to refuse the proposal or to reply them.

    Well Mahmood was brilliant but mister CEO again just ignored few major topic’s and did not replied to some major questions.

    Nuthing can be done they are just bunch of people running after money with their own policies and being a monopoly they have all the right to do what ever they want to.

    Rest i dont knw wht to say…ahhhhhhh my head having tea now :P.

  8. KoOKiE says:

    Oh n yea Mahmood it was nice meeting you with umair and vicky 😉

    we thought we covered all of it but Mister CEO has his own ways :P.

  9. KoOKiE says:

    oh yea by the way if you dont recognize me

    i am Salman aka kookie 😉 *middle-east admin for pakmusic.net*

  10. Yousif says:

    I am a bit disappointed but to be honest i didn’t expect anything to change as a result of tonight’s meeting. Like what the “other Yousif” mentioned, i guess we are somewhat better off than others. Maybe second worst place? 🙂

    I, for one, will switch to any competitor that enters the broadband market regardless of value for money. These people don’t deserve my hard earned cash. They don’t stick to their contractual commitment and they have no sense of fairness in the monopoly they – I am sure – are enjoying very much.

    >:-(

  11. Yousif says:

    ps. nice song Mahmood 🙂

  12. Bubz says:

    Unbelievable.

    I actually had to stop and think for a moment if the numbers Mr Adel was sprinkling out at us were a joke. A very simple example:

    – 10 mp3 files a week

    I download entire discographies of songs as does another friend of mine – these are subsequently used to mix sounds and songs (again using sound mixing software downloaded from the net – fruityloops anyone?). I can assure you, thats way more than the whopping “10 ENTIRE songs a WEEK!” that Batelco are so generously offering us.

    Mr. K seems quite adept in avoiding actually giving answers to questions and from his stance, and Mr. Adels it was obvious that this was no ‘discussion’ – this was Batelco telling us that “while we accept your points as fair and valid, we would have to agree to disagree”. In non-PR jargon, that breaks down to one or a combination of two things; “Talk to the hand coz the face ain’t listening” and “Take it or leave it, but this is what we’ve got for you”.

    Whilst I have to respect Mr. K coming out to face the public like that, I have to concur with Mahmood that the man was somewhat condescending and slippery. I just couldn’t get over how he christened Mahmood into Mohammed. ;o) Whaddya say, Mahmood.. rename it to Mohammed’s Den.. the initials still remain as M.tv so you’ll have virtually no rebranding costs. Oh sorry, I’m talking corporate gibberish here.. can’t help it though – I just sat through 2 hours of it.

    I too am flabbergasted at the going-ons of today – I will try a more coherent post tomorrow probably with something more insightful (because I’m still trying to grasp a few things that are just illogical) but for now, you guys enjoy that song… I’m not downloading it because I only have 8 slots left and Mohammed’s song seems to be in Arabic.

    Whoops, I meant Mahmood’s!

    😀

  13. User2 says:

    Well now you all know how Peter is. I did predict that it would be sort’ve worthless if you expected anything else or new other than the crap defense they brought to the table..

    The facts still stand:

    1. Batelco wants to make profit.
    2. There is currently no competitor able to face to what Batelco is providing on broadband services.
    3. TRA is STILL ineffective and in fact damaging the very integrity, pace, and passions of what this Kingdom is standing for.

    Please everyone.. you have to realize that the TRA has simply failed as a Regulator. Period. In a capitalistic world, YOUR actions are accounted for from someone or some organization, otherwise it wouldn’t be capitlistic but almost dectatorial. Whether it’s investors turning their heads away, policy makers angered by the performance of organizations who were mandated by law to act in one way or another in the pursuit of a better economy, a better system etc… YOU ARE STILL ACCOUNTED FOR.

    Batelco in the end of the day are the ones who ‘taking a free ride’ and not the competitors. They’re streaching the worthiness and laws/regulations of the law to the limits in which then, Bahrain is unattractive for investors, more companies and people will go out of business, and Batelco WILL still rein.

    Don’t analyze the bits and bytes and downloads anymore. Get up and see what’s happening here and turn to the one organization which needs to be accounted for all the wrongs that are happening in the telecommunications industry… any brain fart could predict this ever since the beginning.. but the TRA didnt do anything..Why?? because it’s in the name of ‘the system’ and ‘the process’ which were created after the law came into effect to supposedly ‘streamline’ and act upon the law accordingly.

    What a pile of crappppp… rather than judging who’s operating from the new licensees, ask yourselves these questions:

    1. How many licenses have been given?
    Answer: 90+ Licenses

    2. How much money did they invest? (local, international)
    Answer: easily in the millions of Dinars if you add it all up.

    3. How long did the ones not operating waited for?
    Answer: 1.5 to 2 years.

    4. Are some the licensees shutting down and going out of business? If so, how many companies? What was their losses, how many people did they employ?
    Answer: 2 businesses are declaring to go out (or have done that already). Losses could be anyone’s guess. Employees are let go.

    5. How many telecoms sectors in Bahrain are effectively liberalized fully and are competitive?
    Answer: Only 2, Mobile and International Telephony. As you all know, Bahrain IS the most liberalized telecoms market in the Arab World, in terms of Policies, Laws, and Regulations.

    6: WHAT WENT WRONG?
    Answer: The TRA! That’s what went wrong!

    ALL we want to see is this:

    1. A Regulator which a) listens, b) acts swiftly protecting competiton at ALL times, c) prosecutes when organizations clearly go out of the line

    2. Better competition in Bahrain. The Goal is: CHOICE. (And a GOOD one at that I hope!)

    3. A better standard of living where our freedoms are not limited and our goals to be ever more realized thanks to technology and being in touch with the knowledge and content out there of which we are in hunger for.

    …I think that’s all we’re asking for and I seriousely hope people wake up to the real facts and what really needs to be done.

  14. Elune says:

    User2:

    1. Batelco wants to make profit.
    Peter said that Batelco will be making a loss for 2 years because of the discounts on these packages. He also showed you how high users are being paid for by low & average users.

    2. There is currently no competitor able to face to what Batelco is providing on broadband services.
    One of the questions was along the lines of “why does Batelco wait for competition before reducing prices, like what happened with mobiles”. This is exactly what Batelco is doing now, not waiting for competition.

    With all the other ISPs in the country that provide corporate internet, not a single one has provided a better package, what could be the reason? Perhaps it really IS expensive to provide.

    3. TRA is STILL ineffective and in fact damaging the very integrity, pace, and passions of what this Kingdom is standing for.
    They gave us a couple ads to remind us to start using 17 & 3 prefix. Oh & they gave us that unholy cinema ad, 2 years ago.

    I have to say, the BIS had their best guys asking questions, that kept getting quashed, but all they were really trying to do was to bask in 5 minutes of glory for their own gain.

    Seriously, I thought it was quite obvious that telling the CEO of an ISP over & over & over that the internet is important and then rambling on for minutes with useless examples was getting old. Several times I asked my self “What’s their question???, What are they asking ???”

    At one point, Mahmood was even addressing the AUDIENCE while going on with his speech (weren’t you guys supposed to be asking questions, not repeating his speech over & over?). Did any of the people asking questions understand the concept of “getting to the point”.

    Sorry, but you guys were out classed, out maneuvered & ultimately failed your cause.

  15. Anarchist says:

    Might it help to give enormous feedback to the TRA through their website and form at
    http://www.tra.org.bh/en/feedback.asp ?
    We obviously didn’t get very far with Peter K, is it worth trying to get our views across to the TRA ?

  16. Moody says:

    found this , all Must read …

    http://slashdot.org/articles/06/05/15/015202.shtml

    thanks 4 the link Hashim ..

  17. EX-BIX says:

    From an Economic standpoint every discussion that has gone on in this blog/GDN/at BIS or anywhere else has gained a lot of attention. We didn’t fail our cause, we actually got the attention of many people who can influence decision making in this country. Let me let you in on a few facts regarding internet provision in Bahrain. (Source BIX website http://www.bix.bh) The cost of an E1 connection 2MB of “Raw Bandwidth” is only BD270 per month. While Batelco charges thousands today for a leased line! … Imagine the price drop when ISPs are able to distribute the entire STM-1 (155MB) that BIX currently has which is upgradeable to at least 4 STM-1’s …. ?! The only reasons the price is 270 because BIX pays high rates to connect from their premises to a point outside of Bahrain on the Bahrain-Saudi Causeway which links them to Teleglobe the Giant Canadian Telecom company. (Yes BIX was on that Saturday when Batelco decided to slow the internet)… The point I’m trying to make is I’m glad we’ve raised so many questions and had so many dicussions but there are major companies that are willing to enter Bahrain, and local ISPs that need ACCESS. If you look at the TRA’s website the ONE thing the review panel of 2006 recommended is a Reference Access Offer no later than the 30th of JUNE 2006 … This is an offer similiar to the Reference Interconnect Offer Batelco and MTC signed that displays the prices of wholesale Batelco services!! … Including the local connections and the last mile! … Batelco are mandated by the law as a dominate operator to offer cost oriented pricing which is basically (COST + A reasonable rate of return) … The TRA has the power to push for an Access order that forces Batelco to connect and provide services to these ISPS…. the truth is that we haven’t been hard enough on Batelco their profits have gone up from BD60 to BD80 Million during the liberalization and their mobile customer base has only RISEN infact the only figure to ever go down was the internet subscribers number from 2004 till today in BAHRAIN!!! which is embarrasing given that this is a developing country!!! … We need to ask the TRA to issue the Access Order, and to allow companies the ability to reach customers through the Batelco network as Mandated by the LAW. Batelco has to listen to the TRA since the TRA has the ability to fine Batelco upto 20% of their revenue!!!!!! ……………
    I honestly don’t care what Peter K thinks he can come up with any prices he wants as long as he provides access that will enable competition on the fiber and wireless front! … Every country in the GCC anounced that they are to going to be a financial center we need to act fast to ensure good connectivity on this island… Telecom reform was done primairly for that…although at this point all I care about is downloading season 2 of Lost.

  18. mahmood says:

    ُEx-BIX your response is an eye-opener. Thank you very much.

    I agree that talking to Batelco now is no longer valid, that was quite evident last night. People talked to hear themselves talk, but no one (on the panel) had their listening ears on.

    We need to now up the ante, and go directly to the regulator to put pressure where pressure is required, and that pressure is most certainly NOT that what Batelco wants us to do to fight their fight to force the TRA to release their BD10 (and will be their most profitable probably) package.

    It is now incumbent upon us to exert pressure on the TRA to allow competition to come in, and force Batelco to reduce their bulk rates. We can forget about whatever packages Batelco throws on us now, they have been designed, approved and released and will not change in the foreseeable future; that is a losing battle…

    But the war has just begun!

  19. mahmood says:

    User2 and Elune, true. We need to re-examine the way in which we have to fight these battles. We need to coordinate collective effort because a single voice here and their won’t work, and anonymous voices won’t get the message across either.

    I am now convinced that we have been put in a corner, and regardless of what we did, the packages have been set in stone.

    What needs to be done is to be more active in the public consultation sessions at the TRA and exert pressure on the TRA to show them that consumers require it to act on their behalf and side with them, not incumbent telecoms operators.

    This exertion of pressure should be done by consumer protection lobbies, as well as individuals. Where was the consumer protection society last night?

  20. Bubz says:

    Elune, what broadband package do you use? 🙂

  21. mahmood says:

    Moody that link is excellent reference and sheds the light on how these telecoms operators really make their money, and how cheaply (in the real world) the costs of bandwidth really is.

    Thanks

  22. Bubz says:

    Is anyone planning to escalate this matter to the EBD too? I think they should know that in a sense the economic development of the country is being impacted by the crippling of our internet connections.

    Also, yes I think it’s time we put pressure on the TRA too. Mahmood got it right again, we need to consolidate all the disconnected voices into one unified and loud one. Our thoughts and concerns are too scattered.

    I didn’t know we had a consumer protection society!

  23. [Alt-F4] says:

    I don’t think we should be bothered anymore with how to fight this fight, or whatever else Batelco has to offer, we’re in a market where only the fittest survive, I’m just hoping the comptetion comes into play some time soon, then it’ll be fun watching the prices drop considerably and for a better service, just like what happened with the mobile telcom industry.

    And do keep in mind, somehow I get to hear this quite often from Batelco staffers, “Economies of Scale”, surprisingly that only applies in a monopoly, and suddenly seizes to exist when you’ve got competition.

    Know what I mean? ;0)

  24. meem says:

    Mahmood. THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH for your comments last nigh. I was ‎proud of you representing Bahrainis and defending on the way the western think about ‎us. FYI, Batelco will go ahead with what is having proposed. Let us wait and see what ‎other ISPs will give.‎
    Thanks for the song‎

  25. Wolfwood says:

    Oddly enough, sometime after I got home from work, my net connection went out. When I reconnected, I discovered that the speed had gone from 256k to 1Mb! They’ve started earlier than we expected….

  26. [Alt-F4] says:

    Yea, my line changed over last end of last month aswell, connection’s a bit better too.

  27. Moody says:

    Cheers Mahmood …
    I agree with meem ,
    And oh ah 1986 ? 700 BD oh my god ..
    they should deliver ya a free dedicated fiber lines for u by now .

    in 1997 0r 1998 , ( Dial ups ) i was reading about ways to discover bugs in systems like buffer overflow from texts that i downloaded previously because i was bored and My dad did’nt allow us to use the net anymore due to the last bill 😉 .

    so i open up the dialup window , and had my finger on “000000000000000…” for about a min in the UserName field …
    Clicked Dial and i was thinking ” Like YAH im gonna be in ‘doh'”
    suddenly the window changed and it initiated the connection , i fell of my chair that day and laughed so hard … ( Dunno why i told ya the story now )
    Batelco “pisses me off” too u know.. =|

    i think their new Packages will lead to exploit more of their servers and systems …( no im not threatening , its a fact ) watch and learn Batty ..
    Unless the New ISPs are arround … then we’ll trash ya for good .

  28. KoOKiE says:

    Someone got this letter from Peter the CEO

    “Please find attached a detailed response which I have forwarded to the people complaining against the new internet packages by Batelco. When I can get a representative team together from concerned users (hopefully within the next two weeks), we will kick off some research – in a collaborative way – which will lead to new, additional packages being introduced even unlimited… I don’t want to mislead you but this process will take couple of months, unless we can do it quicker. TRA approvals take at least 30 days.

    I understand there are concerns and we will act responsibly.

    I hope the info below allows you to conclude that we will benefit a lot of customers. We now have to find a solution for those high users – I get it.

    Regards
    Peter K “

  29. %50 says:

    Batelco asking and begging you to download illegal DVDs and MP3s, heee

  30. Angelo says:

    I’ve a question: Why has the TRA kept so silent over the past few days? Is there something going on behind closed doors that we as consumers should know about?

    As I recall last night, when someone asked about the availability of an unlimited pacakge, Peter mentioned something about the speed slowing down for other customers. What does this mean? something is up with their infrastructure then…

    Gmail gives us 2.6gb of email storage and Batelco still has to offer us their hinted expansion of email storage…. why is it taking time, Adel tells us there are some technical problems… wonderful.

    So when I brought up the MIT issue of downloading course lectures of 400 mb each, 3 a day (1.2gb), 4 times a week (4.8gb), and a month (approx 20gb) I was told that you should go for the educational package which is the same as the business ones for unlimited but half the price execpt that your educational institution would have the set up and you wouldn’t at home.. so for all those folks who are doing e-learning/correspondance at unis outta’ Bahrain and they don’t have a representative college here, guess what — you’re on your own whcih means you can’t take offer of that educational offer from Batelco…..

  31. mahmood says:

    Adel said it last night (and I know he’s kicking himself now for saying it) that Batelco has 550MB per month bandwidth. That is it folks. This is how fat the pipe is.

    So if you shove 23,000 legal residential users, or 88,000 actual users through that pipe, what’s the contention ratio then? Count it, and you will understand WHY the net is so frustratingly slow no matter what package you’re on!

    Oh, I forgot, they’re spending BD21 million into the “Broadband Bahrain” thingy… while others are spending probably more than 2.1 billion into their broadband infrastructure…

  32. angelo says:

    550mb/month b/w? CRIPES! no wonder whatever “upgrades” they do or whatever packages they offer, ie/ take the new ones.. we’re not getting the right deal!

    From 245k my speed is supposed to have gone to 1mbps and last time I visited Batelco to cancel my net connection, they said I was upgraded and to reconsider and bla bla bla.. anyways…

    i ran a line check by a server in CA, and here’s what we get:

    Your download speed : 551 kbps or 68.9 KB/sec.
    Your upload speed : 206 kbps or 25.8 KB/sec.

    😉 Thanks to the 550mb b/w per month …

  33. angelo says:

    256k *** thats what i was on earlier… typo there…

  34. Anonymous says:

    nice song!

  35. MoClippa says:

    Question, if this proves to be a success or even a faliure, will it be the first blog and web driven organized action in Bahrain or has it happened before? Are you kiddies planting a stake in history?

    Again good luck guys and gals, you seem to be asking all the right questions so far!

  36. MoClippa says:

    *still sad* – Lebanon doesn’t want anything to do with consumer DSL just yet let alone corporate… hah, Bahrains WAY ahead of the internet game relatively to us down here! $110 bucks for 256d and 56up my wazoo!

    *scurries off into a cornor and spends the rest of the evening slapping himself to make sure he’s not dreaming*

  37. mac says:

    I’m not sure you should treat us that way. Even in the civilized, technology-driven world of Western Europe here’s what happens:

    http://re-immigration.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_re-immigration_archive.html

    Cheers,
    mac

  38. Joop says:

    Mahmood, are we sure about the units here? 550 MB/month is about the amount I use in a day.

    Joop

    sorry, could not attend the Batelco meeting due to work commitments, but you have my full support in this challenge.

  39. mahmood says:

    Thanks Joop, Strav is looking into this issue now. But I think it is correct, in 2004 I am told it was 400MB/month, 2005 it was upgraded to 450MB/month. That alone (if true) shows you that they do not really understand the explosive growth of the internet, and also shows you their complete ignorance of domains… how many .bh domains do you know? And do you know that you have to pay BD36 a year to reserve one, while you pay something like $8.95 at GoDaddy for .com etc?

    I need help, if anyone can give me support please, in digging into all of these skewed practices – things to do with the Internet specifically, so we can expose them to the public….

    Please go to boycottbatelco.com (I’ve reverted it back to the old DNS to retrieve the guestbook again, sorry) tomorrow and let’s start this discussion really rolling.

    Building a case to present to the authorities takes a lot of time and effort. I would appreciate your help if you can support us with your time.

  40. Joop says:

    Sure, if I can do something and I am in Bahrain (I travel quite a lot), I am willing to help.

    And yes, you are right, the only .bh site I frequently visit is, uhhhh, Batelco. Others like Bahrain Explorer, Gulf Daily News, The Tribune etc. are all .com domains.
    That is why I use them as welll, they are cheaper than the .au domains (BD 37 for 2 years).

  41. mahmood says:

    I actually didn’t single you out, but this is a general “help” call for everybody. If this campaign is to succeed, we need more brains and hands.

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