WIMD – Constant Service

WIMD

With the introduction of Zain’s 4G Router people had options for their homes and remote locations. 4G has drastically changed people’s options, even with the caps it isn’t too bad. But at this point the links have gotten somewhat saturated still it’s faster then land lines, you get between 10 to 20 MB on a constant level when nobody’s online you might get 25 to 30 MBs.

For my case I can only get up to 0.5 MB on my land line so that isn’t an option and fiber has been promised since 2008 and I wouldn’t be holding my breath for that. WIMD has been the best and most consistent option for me, they are company who are genuinely trying to improve their services.

I have had a 20 MB subscription with them since they first opened over a year and a half ago and after about a year it would get as far as 14 MB and wouldn’t come close to 20 MB. That was after February when my subscription was renewed. The service would go down every once in a while but no longer then 30 minutes at most and their support is very responsive. But that happens at most once a week sometimes the whole month is fine.

In June of this year I was contacted by WIMD Sales for my 20 MB Subscription to reduce it to the 15 MB Subscription since they couldn’t retain the 20 MB Speed, and they refunded my the difference right away, even discounting the period from February until June which is very surprising for an ISP. So instead of the 1250 KWD that I paid, they refunded me the difference of 400 KWD down to 850 KWD even though it has been four months since the subscription started. Then on top of that since June onwards my connection which would hit between 16 to 18 MB on downloads consistently without any issues.

They do have some technical issues but they are working through it and the issues aren’t repeated, they are growing their bandwidth because the service speeds in my case has improved. And their service has been constant, unlike what I have seen from Mada who came out strong out of the gate but invested in the wrong technology and failed to improve upon it, ending up with some very crappy services. In my opinion WIMD has excellent service and for some people I know they have had bad experiences because of their location, but in my case honestly it has been fantastic and I hope they keep this up and gain more subscribers because of it.

KEMS – Block Torrents

Its official, it has been over two weeks now and KEMS has been blocking torrents. The Data Caps were somewhat removed quietly and nobody made a fuss about it but it really does seem that Kems doesn’t care about its customers. Just a few weeks back they just went and turned on their traffic throttling and blocking torrents. Its very sad that they can change the terms of our agreements without any notification. Usually in normal situations we would be able to sue because what they are doing is illegal, when you pay for your service they are bound by that contract but in our case they are changing it whenever they want.

Kems was doing so well over the past 3 years and they keep getting better and better, they were really one of the best ISPS, consistent speed, quality connections, almost never down. But then the last 6 months they took a turn for the worst and attacked their own customers with their actions, even bad mouthing their own customers. I don’t know what they had in mind for their PR campaign but it wasn’t a good one.

ISP Customer Bill of Rights

ServerRoom

There has been a lot going on with ISPs the last 6 months and I was thinking what could the bill of rights of customers be, we are tired of fighting but we will fight for what is our right. Then there is the MoC which is truly a disaster with very little improvements to look forward to in the near future. But below is a simple customer bill of rights which I think is common sense.

  • Appointments should be kept (Engineers should be on time)
  • Installation windows should be no longer than two hours (Come on you’ve done a million times now)
  • Get it right the first time (If there is a problem it isn’t our responsibility to figure it out)
  • Deliver the speed we pay for (Thats just simple! If our lines can’t support the speed we paid for then refund us the difference to the speed that it can support)
  • Our bills should be accurate (This one is clear)
  • Don’t cap our bandwidth (Period)
  • Equip your call centers to do everything (They should be useful on the phone not useless)
  • Honor all your offers (Don’t sell us one thing and give us another)

TV & Movie DL List

For those lovely ISPs following me as an abuser please see the lovely list below. It adds up to a lovely 120 GB + worth of media to watch when I get back home. I had to remote desktop and wasn’t able to the other day because of the damn data caps, my

TV:

  • Alphas
  • Falling Skies
  • Suits
  • Love Bites
  • Eureka
  • True Blood
  • Supernatural
  • Justified

TakeMeHomeTonight

Movies:

  • Limitless
  • The Lost Bladesman
  • Rio
  • Ringo
  • Arthur
  • Anuvahood
  • Source Code
  • Dylan Dog Dead of Night
  • Ironclad
  • Take Me Home Tonight
  • 5 Days of War
  • Harry Potter Movies in 720p

The ISPs and Ministry of Communication

LiberationTower

There is a dirty battle going on between the Ministry of Communication and the Internet Service Providers in Kuwait. People have always been supportive of the ISPs and we never really said anything about their charges even though we knew they were ludicrous.

User MoC Issues

The Ministry Of Communication is the main source of the issue with a lot of issues that we face in Kuwait. The limited capability of our lines for DSL services is because they haven’t upgraded since the 1970s and fiber optic cables is no where in sight. So no matter what ISP you go with there is always have a limit some people have it at 2 MB and some at 10 MB it depends on the quality of your copper line and how far you are from the MoC Hub in your area. So what ever maximum speed you can reach isn’t really the fault of the providers and applaude them for working with what they have and bring technology that can give us better speed for the quality of lines that we have.

ISP MoC Issues

The only connectivity to Kuwait is via the Ministry of Communication, you don’t have any other option to connect to the outside worlds and this what the ISPs have to work with. And because the MoC hasn’t gone on the initiative to bring more major fiber cables to Kuwait we don’t have the increase to satisfy the requirements. Basically these guys have been too lazy to attend the meetings and they could have easily turned Kuwait into an internet hub, it wouldn’t have taken too much effort. Instead we were stuck with this capacity for over two years now with no progress really in sight to increase it because they didn’t plan ahead. With all this the MoC is charging the ISPs taxes and exuberant prices that they do not like and thus they are passing it along to us. The cost of the internet in many countries across the world which you can see from 360 Dewan’s post

Price Unification

Now this is the first step the ISPs took this year that shocked a lot of people, we always wait for InfoConnect to get the best pricing but this time around all the prices across the board were increased by 100%. The big four players sat down and agreed on prices across the table with minor differences between them, which is basically price fixing and it is illegal in many countries but it has passed in Kuwait.

Data Caps

Because of the issues faced by the ISPs with the MoC they decided to take another tactic to try get users worked up. The ISPs don’t want to fight or get into any argument with the MoC as they can make their lives a living hell, instead they make our lives a living hell so we can in turn do that to the MoC and complain enough so that action is taken on their end. The ISPs want the MoC to lower their prices and the only way they can do that is to get the Users riled up to storm into the MoC and then and only then they would make changes that the ISP want.

When they stated that the Data Caps were from the Ministry of Communication it was a complete lie to get people off their backs. Data Caps do help the ISPs they make more money and you get a lot more less usage which is basically robbery plain and simple. The ISPs also state they are doing this because of the “Abusers” which is ridiculous because very few people use their internet connection 24/7, I for one download a lot but I added it up to about 8 days out of the month where I do major downloading and the rest of the time its just updates, programs, gaming, surfing, and streaming which in reality you hit the Data Cap in mere hours not even the amount you really require or are paying for.

What they are also trying to do with these Data Caps is target Building and Business Owners who use a residential line to get internet service and pay for lower pricing but really abuse the hell out of the connection. They want to target these people and limit their usage and have them move to business plans and pay a higher price because of their heavy usage. Your talking about buildings with 20 users on one 4MB connection or a company with 25 users with a 2 MB connection, and to them the connection is being used too much too consistently. And this problem isn’t for us normal people to pay for, we pay our fees and expect a service, not to be restricted from it.

They talk about Data Caps in Europe and in other countries, that does happen but in those countries the users pay about 5 to 10% of the amounts we pay, I used to pay $1200 per year for 20 MB connection in 2004 which was excessive but that is 350 KD but in Kuwait you pay 350 KD for 3 to 4 MB connection depending on the company, and for a 20 MB connection you would have to pay around 1500 KWD per year. And we haven’t complained about the pricing as long as we are getting the service.

What is ILLEGAL at this Point?

Price Fixing – Sitting between the competition and deciding to increase prices across the board for the same product is illegal on every level.

Data Caps – Changing the terms and conditions of the service without notification, and everyone literally just renewed their service in the last 5 months.

What We Need?

We need a TRA or Telecommunication Regulatory Agency, a independent agency that will govern the ISPs and Telecom companies. Oman, Bahrain, Emirates and even Saudi Arabia has one and you don’t want to cross these agencies as they have the power to fine the companies and suspend their services based on their actions. Such the as the case with Batelco and the Bahrain TRA and STC and the Saudi TRA when they took actions that were deemed illegal they were fined heavily and it hurt. Ind our case Kuwait’s ISPs aren’t afraid because they would never get fined or no real damage would happen, and the letter from MoC doesn’t really scare them, they have had lots of those.

We need clear fines to be defined for their actions over the last few months and it should be made clear that they can’t make changes to the user’s contract except until the contract ends which in our case is 1 year from now and Data Caps should be made illegal because this isn’t the service we are paying for, we are paying for speed and no the limitation of usage. Now it seems the ISPs are selling Data Amounts and not really speeds and soon they will come up with an insane package and even worse pricing to get us to pay for the Data amounts we want.

FAP YOU KEMS

KEMSFacebook

“Jimmar Baka >> Kems – is pretty disappointed with freakin FAP… hope something happens to all the ISPs in Kuwait”

I have been out all day for the last 24 hours between work, meetings, and family social events only to come back home to find that KEMS mentioning my posts and linking me to “Abusers”, these “Abusers” who are early adopters of internet, these “Abusers” who paid the ridiculous prices from early 2000 until now, from corporate to residential. They have even gone as far as blaming me for the slow speeds and high latency across their network

I am one of the earliest users of KEMS when they first started accepting home users, in addition to giving them numerous glowing reviews and recommendations (http://www.zdistrict.com/?s=kems). I honestly find it INFURIATING that ISPs take their clients so lightly and changing the service they promised their clients. I have paid for and renewed my service for an 8MB connection, not some time, not half the time, all the time. And they have chosen to single me out as an internet abuser; and going as far as claiming they are going to terminate me and ban me from renewing.

What the person that posted this comment on behalf of #KEMS fails to realize that in the past I have always recommended my corporate accounts to utilize #KEMS due to their strong support, even when priced higher than local competition. I don’t understand how KEMS can make accusations about its customers without considering the implications it has to their core business. To the person who posted the comment on behalf of KEMS, please go ahead and terminate my connections in addition to my corporate accounts.

First they claim to have implemented the FAP policy to reduce prices, increase speeds and lower latency. Now after castrating our internet connections to 10% of its actual capability; they now plan on implementing a ‘super user’ account without limits for residential user and creating a ‘bandwidth bank’ for people to purchase additional bandwidth.

Keep in mind that KEMS just won a tender from the Ministry of Oil to provide Data Connectivity to their employees at a very reduced rate. Meaning someone in a Managerial or Team Leader level can get 8 MB connectivity for 150 KD for the year at home. It is part of the package that KEMS gave to the Oil Companies such as KOC or KNPC or KPC, that as well as connecting all the major buildings between each other and abroad, that they also provide connectivity to the Oil Company Employees at a VERY reduced level WITHOUT CAPS. So KEMS is selling their service in bulk to a ministry for a lot cheaper than they are selling to individuals, as well as providing individuals with connectivity which is also without CAPS as per their tender agreement. It seems they honor their agreements with governments but they couldn’t care less about their contracts with their customers.

While neighboring GCC countries are striving to deliver 100mbit service to their customers. Our providers are trying to squeeze out every fils out of our pockets. It’s really a shame that our local companies have created an oligopoly to rip-off their customers while the MOC is doing nothing to prevent the cartels from increasing prices and setting caps.

Data Cap Testing – Kems

I tried complaining to Kems Technical and Sales regarding the Data Caps and they didn’t mention this when I renewed my account for a year about a month ago. I paid 575 KD for an 8 MB connection, I told them that I was not informed of these Caps when I first renewed my service, it should not be applied at all. They said they might remove daily caps next month and just keep them as monthly caps. With 8 MB I have a 8GB Cap per day and per month it would be 240 GB, then they told me that the monthly Cap would be 200 GB not 240 GB, it doesn’t add up. I was on the phone for over 20 minutes talking from one useless person to the next which really got annoying. I decided to test the Caps as soon as I got home.

I started downloading about 80 GB worth of shows and thought let me test what would happen and when it would get back to normal. After 27 GBs and the Cap still wasn’t applied, it didn’t drop down to 25% of the speed, it was still downloading between 750 Kbps to 920 Kbps, so I will see what happens further.

Viva 21MB vs Zain 21MB vs Viva 7MB vs Fasttelco 2MB

Viva7MB

Viva 7.2MB Connection

All these speeds and insanity just keeps getting confused, nothing is really true until you get it in your location and do some testing. So I had a chance to try out all of the above and I had some surprising results, keeping in mind that Fasttelco is a 2MB Wimax Connection and not a landline connection.

Fasttelco2MB

Fasttelco 2MB Connection

Fasttest Connection:

  • Viva 7.2 MB
  • Fasttelco 2MB
  • Viva 21MB
  • Zain 21MB

Viva21MB

Viva 21MB Connection

Most Constant/Stable Connection:

  • Fasttelco 2MB
  • Viva 7.2MB
  • Viva 21MB
  • Zain 21MB

Zain21MB

Zain 21MB Connection

Those were some surprising results and you can see from download screenshots, and this is in Mishref, it could be different in other areas. Some people told me the best connection is the 21MB Viva connection in the city.

Kuwait – NetIndex

NetIndex1

There is no question that we have issues with our Internet Service in Kuwait, and with a country that is wealthy and hungry for better service we just can’t seem to get good quality in most cases. We are luckier then most countries in the middle east but its still no excuse for bad service, our infrastructure needs a major overhaul and it was supposed to be complete by 2007 but I don’t we are going to see that. Luckily our GSM operators have offered Internet service such as Wataniya, Zain, and Viva, some better then the other in different locations. Then there are the normal ISPs which are doing well in some areas and struggling in others. Click the image below for some detailed info about the regular ISPs.

NetIndex2

This country ranks in 85th place. Results were obtained by analyzing test data between Jun 30, 2010 and Jul 29, 2010. Tests from 120,759 unique IPs have been taken in this country and of 985,263 total tests, 9,776 are being used for the current Index.

All the results are taken from Speedtest.com relative to each ISP, and they have to have at least 10’000 Unique ISP tests for each result and people are asked for their opinions. So we are all using speedtest not knowing that the ISPs are getting ranked which is genius. But in this case you can see from the image above that Qnet has the fastest speeds but the worst satisfaction. KEMS has the 3rd speed but one of the highest satisfactions, even though the difference is small its still a difference in this case. I’m surprised Fasttelco isn’t there, but I think its because they don’t use the speedtest.com testing program so it can’t tally up the data. Overall we need faster internet.

Link: NETINDEX

Qnet & Kems Connection

Qnet0210

QualityNet

I have upgraded my DSL account with qualitynet to the MAX Dsl package, which ranges from 5 to 24 MB. Basically it goes to the maximum capacity of your line and I am very happy with this package. Especially that the prices have dropped drastically over the years and Qualitynet leading the pack with the price drop.

Qualitynet does have its issues but their service is solid with me, and it seems if they don’t have any MOC issues then the connection works perfectly. When there is an MOC issue you are out of luck and most the time it won’t be resolved and you are stuck with what you have, the problem is that once that happens you have already paid for your connection and are stuck with it. But in my case these lines seem to be solid for now, sometimes the MOC does mess things up.

As of right now my download speeds are ranging from 1090 KB/s to 1210 KB/s which is fantastic compared to my previous connection. This connection have been consistently stable, and it has reduced my download time of large files by 20%.

Kems0210

Kems

My Kems connection was upgraded to the maximum possible speed of the line which is around 7MB, and at this speed I’m downloading from 780 KB/s to 920 KB/s. Kems has the best technical support I have seen from any ISP, the guy on the other side of the phone knows what he is talking about and can help solve the question or give you a realistic answer which helps not to frustrate you more when there is a problem.

After making the payment I get an sms two days later stating that my service has been upgraded and it is now active which went very smoothly. In this case it was 40% more expensive then the Qualitynet connection but this is the maximum capability of the this current line. Oddly enough I bought this line over two years ago and its of lower quality then the line we have had for 30 years and can support much higher speeds. Between the two ISPs Kems seems to have a better consistent upload speed, and this has been my experience with it.