Khaled rambles technology, tea/coffee, consumer rights and other interest from Saudi Arabia

February 1, 2012

Limited Offer: #Mobily offering “unlimited” Connect for 175 SR

Filed under: News — Tags: , — Khaled A. @ 1:12 pm

I will never understand why Mobily is charging regular phone users 350SR for “unlimited” Internet access while “Connect” owners (Data only SIM card) get to pay half that? Unlimited is subject to “fair use” policy, you will only get 1GB daily at full speed then you get throttled. Just like that.

The 175SR/month is a *limited time* offer available from Jan 28th to Feb 27th. I should also clarify that the price will go back to 350SR most likely. However I’ll still pay 200SR for 5GB while Connect owners will pay 100SR only.

Mobily Logo

Here is Mobily’s Arabic press release:

خفضت شركة اتحاد اتصالات (موبايلي) من قيمة الاشتراك الشهري لباقات (الكنكت) المسبقة الدفع والمفوترة للمشتركين الجدد إلى النصف، وذلك في عرض خاص طرحته الشركة ابتداء من يوم السبت الماضي 28 يناير 2012م ويستمر حتى 27 فبراير من هذا الشهر.

وقالت “موبايلي” أن قيمة الاشتراك الشهري في باقة 5 جيجابايت قد انخفضت إلى 50 ريال فيما انخفضت قيمة الاشتراك الشهري في باقة الاستخدام اللامحدود إلى 175 ريال، فيما شمل العرض باقات (كنكت) لاب توب والتي توفر العديد من الخيارات للمشتركين للاتصال بشبكة الإنترنت ابتداء من سرعة 7.2 ميجابت بالثانية و 21.6 ميجابت بالثانية بالإضافة إلى سرعة 42 ميجابت بالثانية والتي تعمل على شبكة HSPA+ ذروة الجيل الثالث المطور.

وأشارت “موبايلي” إلى أنها أتاحت هذا العرض المميز في جميع فروعها المنتشرة في جميع مناطق المملكة، مما سهل على الراغبين في الاستفادة منه الحصول عليه، ومتابعة أعمالهم من خلال أحدث شبكة اتصالات في المنطقة.

وتعمد “موبايلي” بين وقت وآخر على إثراء حياة مشتركيها بالعروض المميزة على جميع الخدمات التي تقدمها، ومن ضمنها باقات (الكنكت)، مما أبقاهم على اتصال دائم بالانترنت من خلال أفضل الأسعار.

وتعد “موبايلي” اليوم رائدة النطاق العريض بشقيه الثابت والمتحرك في المنطقة، وعززت من ريادتها امتلاكها لأكبر بنية تحتية تحتوي على أحدث ما توصلت إليه التقنية في العالم، مما ضمن لها تقديم خدماتها بجودة واعتمادية عاليه، كما وضعت “موبايلي” اسمها على قائمة الشركات التي تمتلك أكبر شبكة للجيل الثالث المطور في المنطقة بتغطيتها 94% من مناطق المأهولة بالسكان، وقد حظيت بنية “موبايلي” التحتية المتطورة باهتمام الشركات العالمية التي رأت فيها نموذج يضيف لها قراءة واقعية لمستقبل قطاع الاتصالات.

I managed to find one spot in Riyadh where HSPA+ speed reached 9mbps. Anyone managed to find a location with speeds up to 42mbps?

December 3, 2011

#noshaya: Demanding a better return policy

Filed under: News — Tags: , — Khaled A. @ 1:46 pm

If you bought something you didn’t like you get to return it to most stores for a replacement or refund. In Saudi Arabia we have the “البضاعة المباعة لا ترد و لا تستبدل” policy, sold items cannot be returned nor replaced. It’s thanks to the lack of any real consumer protection.

Alshaya” is a well-know retailer in the region with many franchises such as Starbucks. Alshaya’s previous return policy allowed for return or replace (limited though). They have changed it to be strictly “no refund” and if you want to return an item you will be given “store credit”. People are upset and I simply can’t blame them. Why? Let’s compare with how “major” brands deal with “product returns” around the world:

Walmart:

Most store items can be exchanged or refunded with a receipt within 90 days of purchase

Amazon has an extensive policy page

Home Depot, not related to Office Depot:

If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, please follow the guidelines detailed below and we will be happy to help you to return your purchase.

Staples:

If you’re not 100% satisfied with your Staples purchase, return it for any reason.

I love this bit:

No matter when you made your purchase, you can return office supplies to us for a full refund, including Staples® brand office products.

Kmart

Just search google for “return policy” for many examples.

There is a movement on twitter to boycott alshaya, simply search for this hash tag: #noshaya.

Alshaya “brands” are:

debenhams mothercare next Bhs H&M Topshop Topman River Island Oasis Coast Oltre Motivi Claire’s Limited Too Evans Dorothy Perkins

Update: Sorry about the repeating text. I blame STC.

February 1, 2011

Restaurant Sues Blogger in Kuwait, Could Set a Bad Precedent for the Middle East

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 10:33 am

A blog from Kuwait, 248am is being sued by a Japanese restaurant named Benihana because of this review.

If the restaurant win this would set a bad precedent in the blogging world in Kuwait and possibly the rest of the Middle East. Will we see restaurants sue anyone who writes an unfavorable review on Qaym? (Qaym is an Arabic restaurant review site).

I do have one thing to say to benihana’s management:

Hmm, so when are you guys planning to open in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia? hmm?

Seriously though, stop this silliness, benihana and improve your restaurant.

January 27, 2011

Jeddah Rain Videos and STC slowness

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 6:29 pm

Quick post, I can’t really post anything else thanks to the slow Internet speed.

First of all, it rained heavily in Jeddah yesterday January 26th. Unfortunately it was chaotic and thanks to twitter (tag #JeddahRain) people managed to help each other.

I have compiled a playlist on youtube that you can find here:

Today, Thursday, every STC Internet connection (DSL and 3G) is slow to a crawl! Mobily and others are fine apparently. Not sure what caused it but it’s most likely had something to do with JeddahRain.

December 17, 2010

Saudi man arrested for carrying snakes on a plane, and 2 parrots and a squirrel

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 12:58 pm

A Saudi man was arrested in the UAE for carrying ****** snakes on a ****** plane! Hilarious! Thanks Ahmed Darweesh for the link!

Via The National:

Abu Dhabi // A passenger has been arrested at Abu Dhabi airport after spending more than eight hours with a bag of snakes on a plane.

The Saudi passenger was said to have been carrying four snakes, two parrots and a squirrel in his hand luggage.

He was caught at the first security checkpoint after arriving at Abu Dhabi International Airport on Etihad Airlines flight EY471 from Jakarta, which landed in the capital shortly before midnight on Thursday.

The animals were not licensed for international transport. They had no health certification, nor confirmation that they were not on any endangered list.

Abu Dhabi police officials expressed surprise that the passenger had cleared security at Jakarta with the animals.

Khamis al Marar, the acting director general of security affairs and ports in Abu Dhabi, stressed that carrying animals on board is strictly prohibited. In this case, other passengers’ safety was at risk, he said.

He added that licensed animals had to travel in specially designed boxes, which should be stored in the aircraft’s hold.

However, it is not the first time unauthorised reptiles have made their way into the passenger cabin of an Abu Dhabi-bound flight.

In August last year, a baby lizard caused panic on a flight from Cairo after it was found wandering along the aisle, having worked its way free of the bag in which it had been smuggled.

Some animal traffickers go even further. A man was arrested in February last year after flying from Dubai to Melbourne with two live pigeons stuffed inside his pants.

December 13, 2010

Riyadh Sandstorm [December 13th 2010]

Filed under: News — Tags: , — Khaled A. @ 1:58 pm

Here’s a photo taken minutes ago by Faisal for a sandstorm over the city of Riyadh.

Probably not as bad as the March 2009 Riyadh sandstorm.

By the way, make sure to follow @RiyadhWeather for important updates regarding Riyadh Weather.

August 8, 2010

Blackberry services is back

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 11:20 am

That was fast. From Engadget:

It took two long years for India to (allegedly) tap BlackBerry traffic, but Saudi Arabia may not have to wait nearly as long; the Wall Street Journal reports that RIM has all but agreed to set up a local server in the country. While we’ve no details yet on what the deal entails, an unnamed Saudi telecom official said negotiations are already in the final stages. Sorry, RIM, but it looks like Saudi Arabia called your bluff. We imagine the company will deny any potential for government snooping in short order… and both Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates will start planning their own attempts to wrest away control. We’ll let you know where this house of cards falls.

August 3, 2010

Just like that, Blackberry services banned in Saudi Arabia by CITC

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 11:19 pm

So it wasn’t just the “Blackberry Messenger” that will be banned in Saudi Arabia. According to this the CITC has expressed concerns about the BIS for a year and asked the local carriers (STC, Mobily and Zain) to “look into” the concerns and provide an alternative for 3 months! The three months end next Friday August 6th.

Someone pulled the switch and f***ed it up for everyone.

No, not Conan.

There are almost 1 million blackberry user in Saudi Arabia and they only got one official statement about the ban less than 3 days. So 3 day notice? This is unacceptable! The CITC should have issued a longer warning period like the UAE TRA who announced the ban 2 months in advance!

The carriers, STC, Mobily and Zain did not warn their customers in the last 3 months as well. Both are at fault, CITC and the carriers.

And what will the customers do now? a 3 day notice is not acceptable especially for what is considered a business device. UAE Etisalat will offer free phones to Blackberry customers including iPhones!

Lastly, STC PR denied the ban 2 days ago which is obviously a lie. I never believed STC’s stupid lies anyway.

Sorry I am rambling but this idiocy is frustrating.

August 1, 2010

Blackberry Messenger is banned in Saudi Arabia (STC Confirms)

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 5:21 pm

Looks like the CITC/MCIT has decided to ban the Blackberry messenger, the only feature used by a lot of people in Saudi Arabia.

Here’s the piece on Reuters: Saudi telcos ordered to freeze Blackberry Messenger and Saudi Telecom confirms Blackberry Messenger ban-TV. There you go, STC confirmed it as well.

Saudi media fails again in covering it, AlRiyadh newspaper said that the blackberry is made by the “Blackberry Company from Canada” (شركة بلاك بيري الكندية) while we all know it’s RIM.

By the way, I think CITC and MCIT need a new website, the design is awful.

June 22, 2010

Smokefree Saudi Arabia: Smoking banned at Saudi airports!

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 1:56 pm

A major step forward, Saudi Arabia re-enforces it’s ban on smoking in airports by forcing a 200SR (about $50) fine on anyone smoking in a Saudi airport! It’s about time, so many people are already smoking in the airports including airport employees!

From Arab News:

Although the Kingdom passed anti-smoking regulations in August 2003, the habit is growing among its population. There are six million smokers in the country who puff away SR8 billion every year. According to one report, smoking-related diseases kill at least 33 people in the Kingdom each month.

We still have a long way to go though.

Make sure to follow @SmokefreeRiyadh on twitter for the Smokefree Riyadh project.

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