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

March 3, 2009

What you need to know about the iPhone 3G in Saudi Arabia

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 12:53 pm

The iPhone 3G is finally in Saudi Arabia and is provided by Mobily. Here’s what you need to know:

The Bundles

Mobily first announced these 4 bundles and two of those “prepaid” plans did not make any sense! A few days later they provided 6 more “postpaid” bundles. However they omitted one small requirement for these bundles is that you need to be a Mobily VIP customer!

iphone3g

The Employees

The Mobily employees were clueless on the first day and clueless now! One of them even said, in response to the VIP bundles: “نحن لا نريد أن يحصل كل من هب و دب على آيفون” which means “we do not want just anyone to have an iPhone!”. There are even weirder Mobily stories on the first few days where some of the employees claim that the iPhone 3G in Saudi Arabia is LOCKED to the Mobily SIM card.

Locked Device?

The Saudi Arabia iPhone 3G was tested with different SIM cards and it is unlocked! It is confirmed by Apple so when a Mobily employee claims that the iPhone 3G is locked then they are lying and you should ask for his manager.

Arabic Support

Mobily claims an Arabic update from Apple is coming “soon”. They claim 3 months which is TOO LONG! You can jailbreak and buy iPhoneislam’s Arabtaller.

February 22, 2009

iPhone 3G in Saudi Arabia

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 9:36 pm

So I said I will probably not buy the iPhone 3G from Mobily but I went today to check it out. After thinking about it I decided to buy the iPhone 3G 8GB with a prepaid 1 year plan. It cost 2255SR and 99SR monthly prepaid. My reasons are:

  1. I transferred my number to Mobily, by doing so I am able to use that number with the Mobily iPhone plan without getting a new phone number.
  2. Supporting authorized devices. Now we have an actual alternative to gray market iPhones.
  3. The iPhone 3G is sold unlocked! You can use any other company’s SIM card.
  4. An actual warranty. “Mashail AlKhaleej”, ex-Nokia dealer, claim they are an official dealer. Yet they sell Italian iPhones.
  5. Price is not as bad as you think. Compared to paying a lot more for an unsupported/non-guaranteed iPhone.

My advice is to either switch your current phone to Mobily and use that number with your iPhone 3G or just use your current phone and you can give the included Mobily number to a friend or family member. In any case I highly recommend buying the official “Saudi Arabia iPhone 3G” over other gray market alternatives.

February 21, 2009

Mobily’s unimpressive iPhone 3G prices in Saudi Arabia

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 7:46 pm

I am very disturbed by the leaked Mobily iPhone 3G pricing in Saudi Arabia. You pay $595 (2255SR) with a 1 year contract ($26 monthly) for the 8GB and you only get 199MB monthly data!

UAE’s Etisalat’s offers are more serious as they offer the iPhone 3G 8GB starting at 0 AED (with 1 year contract) and data plans between 500 and 2000MB!

I will wait for actual confirmation on these prices, but with these deals I have no interest in buying an iPhone 3G from Mobily!

February 12, 2009

Mobily accepting iPhone 3G reservations

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 12:39 pm

Now you reserve your iPhone 3G in Saudi Arabia from Mobily by filling the form located here. (via Shufflegazine).

Another thing to note. According to @thamood on twitter: Mobily assured him that they will release the iPhone 3G this Saturday!

February 2, 2009

Official iPhone 3G in Saudi Arabia and UAE

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 12:01 pm

Etisalat in UAE/Mobily in Saudi Arabia announced that they will release the iPhone 3G by the end of February 2008.

No news about Arabic support though.

September 16, 2008

Saudi TechView on your iPhone/iPod Touch

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 4:23 pm

I have just installed WPtouch plugin for WordPress that creates an iPhone/iPod Touch version of this site. You can still switch to the normal site by clicking on “Normal View” at the bottom of the page.

September 8, 2008

Don’t be fooled by the iPhone 3G sellers in Saudi Arabia

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 1:47 am

I just got an SMS from a person (or probably a store) named T-Virus, it is from the game series “Resident Evil”. The message said the following (in Arabic, I translated):

Arabic iPhone 3G has arrived. 8GB 4599SR. 16GB 4999SR. T: 92000XXXX M: 055161XXXX

I have decided to omit the telephone numbers for 2 reasons: 1) I HATE SMS Spam 2) Those prices are exorbitant. The prices in US$ are $1226.4 and $1333 for the 8GB/16GB iPhone 3G models. I recommend that you don’t buy the iPhone 3G at those outrageous prices!

Edit: Apparently it is a local computer store called Reverse Technology EST. Yet somehow they got the domain t-virus.com.sa which is, obviously, unrelated to the name. What is SaudiNIC doing? That domain goes against the regulations which states:

3-4 For registering any trademark or trade name a copy of the registration with the Ministry of Commerce in Saudi Arabia is needed.

The store’s name is Reverse Technology, not T-Virus or Technology Virus.

June 11, 2008

No iPhone for Saudi Arabia

Filed under: News — Tags: , — Khaled A. @ 2:18 pm

With the recent WWDC Keynote announcement. The new iPhone 3G was announced with a price point of (less than $199 in all countries). And over 70 countries will get the iPhone by September 2008. Two of those countries not listed was Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Two of the biggest mobile communication consumers in the region.

As for the UAE at least, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) was opposed to to exclusive deal. Probably because of monopoly issues, which is odd considering that VOIP services are blocked in the UAE.

The only hope for Saudi Arabia users to get the iPhone is that Apple release an unlocked iPhone and sell it at full price. Also note that Arabic support is still missing in the iPhone despite the fact that 3 Arabic speaking countries: Egypt (Orange and Vodafone), Jordan and Qatar are getting the iPhone.

May 11, 2008

Arabic iPhone localization released

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 12:18 pm

Five months ago I blogged about Arabic localization attempts for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Unfortunately just like “iPhone4arab“, iFone4arab also stopped updating his site, and that was before Macworld and the iPhone SDK event. For me, screenshots and videos are not enough, and so I still consider this Vaporware. Vaporware is according to Wikipedia: Vaporware is a software or hardware product which is announced by a developer well in advance of release, but which then fails to emerge, either with or without a protracted development cycle.

I don’t have to comment about iPhone4arab which promised Arab localization for the iPhone which was as far as I’m concerned is Vaporware. And claimed that he invented a method to unlock the iPhone while all he did was implement the iPhone Dev Team’s work.

The only people who are working hard on the Arabic localization for the iPhone as far as I’m concerned are the good people at iPhoneIslam. iTarek have been releasing Arabic character viewer for the iPhone for a few months now. And now they – with the help of a programmed named Waleed – released the application Arabtaller that includes full Arabic keyboard for the iPhone. I consider this the first and only Arabic keyboard for the iPhone. You can install it through the Installer.app and you can find the steps on iPhoneIslam’s site.

Thanks to Waiel at SaudiMac for the info.

December 22, 2007

Arabic iPhone almost here

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 4:29 pm

I managed to get this posted on iPhone Central. Hopefully it gets more coverage and noticed by Apple:

Reader Khaled brought to our attention two separate groups, both working at bringing elements of Arabic language functionality to the iPhone. The first, at iPhone Islam, is aiming to bring Arabic character support to the iPhone via a downloadable application (you’ll apparently need Installer.app to do so). Unfortunately, my Arabic’s a little rusty from a couple years of disuse, so you’ll have to visit the site yourself if you want to figure out exactly what procedure you need to follow. The second, more ambitious project, at iFone4Arab.com has as its goal producing a native Arabic interface for the entire iPhone. While they don’t yet have a working version available, you can check out screenshots at their website, or a YouTube video of the interface in action. Pretty cool. We’re sure there will be official Apple Arabic at some point (presumably by the time the phone hits the Middle East), but in the interim, it might be worth checking out one or both of these if you’re in need of Arabic support on your iphone.
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