Bye VIVA, it’s not been fun

After a year of painfully using Viva’s mediocre but much over-hyped internet offering in Bahrain, I’ve terminated both contracts for my home and office. The best speed I could get out of Viva was something like 4mbps and that was flaky. As far as the uploads are concerned, I don’t think I got much more than 512kbps, and yes, that was flaky too. As a media company with daily uploads and downloads of large files, we couldn’t take it any more. To prevent a complete riot (the guys were suspiciously building a platform in our back garden, when I saw a trap door being modelled in its floor, I knew I had to do something!)

VIVA Bahrain internet broadband offering is a disappointment

So I wend back to Batelco. Paying more than five times the price (BD160 for a business line at 8mbps) is a pleasure for at least having a dependable (well, mostly dependable) connection with an upload speed of approximately 1mbps (well, most days) although the promise was double that.

Here’s the result of a speedtest I did just now:

Batelco internet speed test
What irks me most about these continuous episodes of disappointment with operators and their prices, is the TRA who’s supposed to oversee these companies and force them to at least live up to their promises doesn’t seem to be doing much.

Why is it that Viva is allowed to advertise “Up to 48Mbps” and “Fastest internet in Bahrain” when in real life their dismal speed in most areas I’ve looked at doesn’t even exceed 10Mbps? Certainly both at my home (Barbar area) and office (Abu Sayba area) all we experienced was 4Mbps almost throughout the one year of installation.

When asked by the attendant this morning while cancelling both lines and told him that I was dissatisfied with the speed, he repeated what I got to know as the “Viva party line”: “but even if you get 2Mbps, it’s good enough as our promise is up to 48Mbps!”

Yes sure. Have it your way. Mine is – as a customer – is complete disappointment. And the way I vote, is through my wallet and you’re no longer getting that.

TRA, do what you’re supposed to do, otherwise cowboys will continue to rule the scene and the country will continue to suffer the uncompetitiveness which has become its way of life.


  1. Hani Ahmed

    160 BD for a 8MBps is ridiculous bro. You can get the same dam speed for 22 BD from menatelecom, which is stable compare to viva/zain!

    1. Post

      I actually bought a menatelecom box and tested it for a month. Again like Viva, it wouldn’t go beyond 4Mbps.

  2. Kaiksowa

    The TRA is asleep at the wheel, and we have no truth in advertising guidelines. It’s a free for all, so VIVA has been abusing our intelligence with their broadband claims. I live in Budaiya and was using the Menatelecom 4 Mbps service, when I was beguiled by VIVA’s (lying) claims that I would get a minimum of 5 Mbps and as much as 15! I was even persuaded that the 48 Mbps router would be more efficient, hence conning me into purchasing an overkill product.

    The service runs no faster than 1 Mbps for most of the time. For a matter of seconds it will peak at as much as 7 Mbps; more frequently it registers ZERO! I have had the service since March. I have paid BD 30 for 3 months and refuse to pay anymore. The expensive VIVA router has been just sitting there since I switched it off in mid June. I have a full record of the VIVA speeds for March to June showing the pathetic level of service VIVA unashamedly boasts about.

    1. Post

      I did the same thing with Zain a couple of years ago I think. I disconnected it and they wanted to hold me to their contract. I explained my position to their manager who did in the end understand my frustration and cancelled the contract without prejudice.

      In each case I had to go back to the bloody old lady. I don’t like it but there isn’t any realistic alternative. Those who hang on its network (Kalam, Rapid, Lightspeed) are getting wholesale and selling retail and I think they don’t have a say in the quality their customer receives. I know that this is changing slowly but we aren’t at the stage of having realistic copper connections, while – as you so rightly said – TRA continues to sleep at the wheel and the country’s innovation and creativity suffers.

  3. Mark


    Funny I just tested my speed a couple days ago and I got 17.56dn and 10.76 up. I have no real idea what these numbers mean but I wanted to see if my ISP (Comcast) was giving me the speeds they promised as well for the $$$ we pay.

    Hope all is well. Eat a shawarma or two for me please…….

    1. Post

      Mark, go to the corner right now and don’t come back until you’re forgiven!

      Having said that, my son Arif tested his connection in his dorm at NYU and he was getting around 70Mbps down and up and he was making fun of us trying to do whatever we can to get the Skype connection a bit clearer… the twit!!

  4. Sean Patrick Flannery

    The problem with the TRA is that it’s just another government agency with overpaid goons not doing a damn thing about all the ridiculously false advertisements from the wireless net providers (VIVA, Zain, Mena). Had the same issue with Zain a couple of years back. Dismal speeds and no way to cancel and get refunded for a sub-optimal contract delivery and false advertising.

    The TRA can pretend all it wants that Bahrain has a first world telco environment. The truth is, well, we have a wild west cowboy sort of feast.

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