Wataniya Telecom on the Line

Wataniya Telecom has pulled the same move as Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Fire everyone and rehire, just to lower the costs. So the breakdown of the situation is simple.

They are giving presentations about the changes and open discusssions, for a little while. And a Wataniya Telecom employee has only 4-5 hours to decide if they will sign the new contract with the new terms, or else they will be terminated, fired, out of job, on the street.

They have lowered the basic salaries of a majority of the employees, but compensated for it in large allowances. Now they have changed the working days to 5 days instead of 6 days which is good, vacation days have improved. Bonuses are calculated at a lower rate because its based on the basic salary which has been lowered, but health insurance has been improved towards people with families and three days for compationate leave. They even added one week for weddings not included with your vacation, both male and female.

Overall its an interesting combination but they are putting their employees

Update: They only have two hours to sign or they are terminated

Blackberry – Out of the Loop

The Blackberry trend is in full swing in Kuwait, literally I see one every where. And now most of our group of friends have one except for a few of us, I tend to like have only 12 buttons to choose from when texting.

They have now made groups so they are texting each other instantly with huge group chats. BBMs flying left, right, and center, and for those that don’t know BBM stands for Blackberry Messenger. BBMs are free since they go through the Blackberry service and not through text messages, so you save on text messages if everyone you know is on Blackberry and in our group it seems to be the case, I am getting less text messages now then I did a few months ago.

Will I be joining this band wagon, I don’t know, I know I will get used to the full keyboard but I like just having a normal phone. The one thing that really annoys me is seeing someone trying to text while driving with a Blackberry which is suicide since you HAVE to look where you are typing. Now we have to see Viva or Wataniya bring this service on-board as well.

Ministry Of Communication VoiP Gateway

Over the past couple of months I have started getting these numbers below for most of the international calls I’m receiving. This is points out to the Voip Gateway that M.O.C is installing and using, meaning they are using Voice over IP for our international calls instead of the traditional methods, which cost a fraction of the price for the Ministry yet they still charge us the those ridiculous pricing per minute, and their billing is usually completely wrong.

  • 22263060
  • 22256891
  • 22260790
  • 222xxxxx

Calling into Kuwait from any country is usually a hassle, you get the voice saying “All calls to this country are busy now, please try later”. It happens where ever I am, for some reason they haven’t managed to improve the countries infrastructure over the past 20 years but they have managed to start using Voip and not implement it correctly or smoothly. Our Communications systems need a major overhaul and a real maintenance plan, not just fixing it when its broken. Its funny, MOC gets to use Voip for its personal use but makes it illegal to use in our country, and most of the electronic (Computer/Network oriented) items are always held at customs due to this stupid rule. We have too many idiots working in MOC with little to no working knowledge of Telecom or Network systems.

Network Busy …. PERIOD!

I went to Dubai for exactly 24 hrs, went to a few meetings on Thursday morning and afternoon. Had a very late lunch, then a late dinner. It was a very short trip and came back the next night on Friday.

Throughout my whole stay I wasn’t able to call anyone on their mobile from Dubai. I thought something was wrong with my line, I remembering paying a hefty bill. I could call Kuwait landlines, any Emirati number, everything except Kuwaiti mobile numbers. I could text people but I couldn’t call them, I kept getting network busy for the full 24 hours. It was extremely annoying, I couldn’t figure out what was the problem. Anyone trying to call me or any of the people with me in Dubai got a network busy tone as well. I met a lot of Kuwaiti people who were in Dubai, and it seems they were suffering the same problem. The problem could be from Zain or Etisalat but there was no other indication of problems. Still it was extremely annoying and nothing that could be done for the whole time there, I hope this gets resolved.

Blackberry Phenomenon

I have noticed over the past year how many people have switched over to Blackberry phones. I always saw them in the states but never thought much of them since they were more business oriented. Recently I noticed more people Kuwait having them, even kids have them which is surprising. A lot of people are enjoying the BBM service which I think they have to unlock their phones to use. I never really thought much about the phone, and I have never been a fan of QWERTY keyboards, I much preferred a normal 12 button phone to make the calls or text messages. Its interesting how it has caught on in Kuwait, and there does seem to be a shortage for sure. I do have to say that the Blackberry Bold does have a very nice screen.

Telecom in Bahrain (Zain & Batelco)

Recently with the GulfRun event and working on a few things there we spent about a week in Bahrain. I had my mobile on roaming while I was there, I tried to keep calls to minimum to keep costs down. We even used walkie talkies when we are walking around on the track or close by because we are usually just locating each other. And as usually Zain charges an arm and a leg even though its the same company in Bahrain, whats funny is that Gulf countries with Zain get a better deal then what we do in Kuwait until recently with the free incoming calls which should have been done a long time ago. During the time we were there we had a choice between Zain and Batelco for network choices even though you get charge the same for international roaming. Whenever I’m on Zain network I always get a busy tone calling any number so I switched to Batelco and my calls & texts went through perfectly every time which is very odd, so whenever you go to Bahrain choose the Batelco network because its the same thing that happened to all other people who were roaming.

Link: Flickr

Zain/MTC Roaming Blackout

For some reason I still refer to them as MTC, and I don’t think I will be changing that anytime soon. I have been out of Kuwait for the last few days. Saturday night for about 6 hours nobody in Kuwait could call my Kuwait mobile and I couldn’t call anyone it was really strange. I thought they disconnected my phone because I was roaming and my bill went sky high, but it was only for about 5 days by then, didn’t think it could be so high that they would disconnect it. Even without the blackout the roaming signal was pretty bad, it was really hard to get through sometimes.