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Tips on an expat's digital life in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Nozbe

Monday, December 15, 2008

Internet through Satellite

Other than STC (wired, mobile and wireless?) and Mobily (mobile and wireless), a 3rd internet provider in the Kingdom is satellite ISPs. For now I know only orbit. I guess there are few others too. 

Until some time in the past, the orbit guys used to shoo away their potential customers (probably they had too much?) but recently they too are in the market looking for customers. One of their Sales person came to me. I just noted the prices, checked with an existing customer who rated it a little below DSL. Still it does have relevance where the service is poor with both STC and Mobily. One of the disadvantage (yes, for some its an advantage!) is that the default blocking of unwanted sites is not there with this connection. So you got to be having lots of self control not to wander and spoil your repute, money, time, future and life (both here and hereafter :) )! But that is what a freeworld is. isn't it? You got to have the freedom to be  and not to be! 

I am afraid there is download and upload size limit per day except for the 2k per month subscription. For locations where 20 or more people can be organized, an unlimited internet connection shared among as many people for SR 100/- a month I believe should be a good bargain.

Please see below the price list I was given. Not sure how authentic it is and whether it is valid now. 


13 comments:

Babar A. Khan said...

my take & questions on the various internet services available in Ksa.

I am a user of Afaq wireless from STC .I live in Dammam Housing / Askaan , Dammam , KSA . My dad got Afaq wireless at the start of feb '09 . Now I have some questions based on my experience of Internet that I want other ppl's opinions and updates as well.(I was a straight 3 year user of Du UAE broadband 2mbps service ie. max as well as constant download speed of 240kB/s which was great and worth 350 dhs~sr/month)

1. Afaq Wireless : from my experience its relatively new . Its a ‘internet on the move’ 3g gsm chip service. They have provided me a huwei e960 router free (worth 1200 sr) as they had a promotional offer. Internet is 300 sr/month unlimited download.

Info: Hard to find online. No mention of Afaqwireless on STC website.

Service : Disappointing. 7.2 Mbps (ie 921.6 KB/s download speed) out of which max speed I have got is 100 KB/s and that has happened only 3 times since I got it. Plus it disconnects between 4-8 hrs. Avg speed 50 KB/s ie its worse than a 512 Kbps DSL connection. Plus sometimes it shifts between 3g(7.2Mbps) to 2g which is very slow.

Questions: I want to know if anyone else is using this service and how’s their experience? If I want to cancel service next month what kind of charges will I incur ? How many days does STC take to cancel? Can I return the router so I do not have to pay router charges? Is it good for online gaming via ps3 or xbox360? whats the difference between afaq wireless & jawal net (are they the same) ?

2. Jawal Net : all info I got from STC website and other webpages . In terms of technicalities its the same as Afaqwireless .Price is more though. 350sr/month.Does not have any promotions on website as of now.

Question: All the previous questions & Is it fast?(I have read and heard its fast and better than mobily connect but have no first hand experience).How fast in dload speeds? how is the Connection .Does it also disconnect often?

3.Mobily connect: Same in technicalities as Afaqwireless & Jawalnet. Price 350sr/month .
Service :I got a friends mobily prepaid huwei e220 modem(a small usb dongle) and used it in my house. It was very slow in the afternoon(Friday) but around midnight onwards it reached amazing 240KB/s speeds (ie it became like a 2Mbps connection which is really nice. According to my friend who lives in middle of Dammam ,he sometimes gets 400 KB/s.) Then next day I kept receiving 80-120 KB/s speeds throughout. Problem though is that it keeps getting disconnected every 1-2 hrs .Sometimes it also goes into 2g connection and becomes slow and I have to move it around and reconnect.

Questions: all that were asked previously & How good is mobily connect compared to all the connections? Does it always disconnect this often?

4.Wimax (broadband @ home): a wireless broadband service provided by bayanat under Mobily which gives 2Mbps. Price 250~300sr/month.

Service: Though I have never experienced it , a friend (who is working ) got it and therefore uses it only during night and weekends .He says it provides avg 240 KB/s (sounds like 2Mbps) and max 400 KB/s (sounds fishy?) .He also says the signal doesn’t disconnect and remains constant.

Questions: All the previous & Is the speed really true what my friend says and does the signal never disconnects and remains constant ? So is it the best?

5.STC DSL : a landline service .various speeds. Two types. STC line and other ISP / STC Shamil DSL. Price of 2mbps = 310~350 sr/month.

Service: 2 years ago in 2006 I had applied for STC DSL line .STC said it wouldn’t take more than 2 weeks. After 2 weeks I called them and they said it will get done . After a month they said it will get done. So again I persisted & they finally said that they are putting underground lines for Dammam Housing / Askaan and that’s why its taking time. Finally after 2 years (2008) my father contacted STC and they said yes it will get done. Move on to 2009 and my father finally had enough of it and sought to cancel and re-apply .STC told him to go to their office. He went and cancelled it and upon reapplying for DSL they told him it cannot be put in Dammam Housing / Askaan as there are no lines and cabinets and other weird non-understandable explanations. Me and my dad later concurred probably there aren’t yet any underground lines. So my dad saw the offer for Afaqwireless and he just took it. The STC guy came next day itself to put the service.

Questions: All the previous & Does anyone have knowledge that STC DSL ‘can’ be put in Dammam Housing / Askaan ? Does it remain constant like my mentioned Du UAE internet service ? If no then what kind of speed and connection problems are there?


6.Orbit Satellite : Satellite internet Service. 2 Mbps is Very very expensive. No idea about service. Just heard its unrestricted internet access.

Question : Is it worth in anyway?

Rafeek said...

Hi Baber,
Too many questions. Wish those with first hand answers respond.

For Wimax, my experience has been increasingly positive. The connection stays without interruption for days. Speed as well mostly is on the higher side.

DSL, among all, is the most stable, except that if you are hit with any problem, you are on your own. STC seems to have very large number of customers. Few of us with problems are nothing for them. Wish that there be one more land line operator so that they will have good competition.

Afaq wireless, I started its advt since some time and used to wonder how good the service is. From what you said, seems its another disappointment.

Wish for the day when internet will be free like the air we breath! (If not free, at least it should have been cheaper by 1/10th of what it is now. Once the infrastructure is in place and the investment is recovered 10 times, they should charge only to maintain it with a moderate profit.

-Rafeek

Anonymous said...

HI
all
i just connected with afaq shamil dsl woth modem as the speical offer they make but rubbish speed and very very poor customer service amazingly the people at stc dont know anything about stc it seems they use stc for their family issues :)
any way now i am trying to cancel the serivce can any one help

harbi said...

hi all
it is shamefull that stc is billing too much wih out any common sense
if u call stc then they will not answer because they dont understand

abu shareef said...

this is all with this stc before stc was good now it is become worst in market they said something and they just bill even they don't know how they are billing last month they charge me 900 SAR more i complain but they response very bad they are not even giving me details

Sivaji said...

hi i am very disappointed with the way of working of stc they just need lot of money even in India reliance tata air tel they are very good in service and can solve customer problem at low cost but i rate stc as the lowest possible grade and never recommend stc to any one these all are crap to take the money by lies lies lies

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Anonymous said...

i have afaq wireless from stc. starting it gave me 100 k download but with in a month it reduced to 2 k or 5 k download i gave lot of of complaint's it is like speaking to a buffalo. always one guy will say from other end wallahi mafi maloom. do not take internet from stc they are just eating money of customer bull shit stc

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About Me

Surviving in Riyadh since 1993! Love to see smiling faces around and beyond! Contributing my tiny share around!