Been around three countries recently (2014) in the Middle East and how people are using their handset & how countries are setting up the rules is not so promising. In Lebanon & Saudi Arabia, although there is a rule regarding using your mobile phone while driving, over 40% of drivers are using their handsets while driving, mostly typing or reading while driving. OTT has become a very hazardous enabler in these countries since the police is not fining OTT-drivers (let us call them that).
On the other hand, in UAE, what I have noticed is that people rarely use their handsets while driving, whether OTT or talking over phone. The reason: huge fines & black points on your driving license! If you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar, the police will take you to court & fine you some hefty amount of money.
OTT & mobile tech helps us make out life simpler & easier, not a tool a death! Drive carefully. Don’t OTT & drive.
I had a 1Mbps ADSL connection with a contention rate of 1/8 (hopefully & optimistically) which felt like a 124Kbps rather than 2Mbps. I was ok about this connection since I could connect to the sites I wanted, receive my emails, and get what I needed to do to be done (while I am in Lebanon).
I am not comparing this connection to my UAE one or my Saudi one! There is NO WAY to compare the connections. It would be like comparing a 1970 VW beetle to brand new F50! Don’t get me wrong, I WAS happy with such a connection and for the fees I was paying (monthly fee). That was until Mr. Boutros Harb decided to change my connection so he could look good!
What the MoT did was:
He decreased my monthly fee from $8 to $6 per month
He increased (I am trying to believe that) my bandwidth from 1Mbps to 2MBPS
He increased my data cap from 10 GB to 40 GB
After using the new setup for 4 days, I concluded the following:
Well, I don’t believe that decrease in monthly fee is substantial to me or any of the people using the Ogero internet connection.
After trying the NEW 2Mbps connection, I WANT MY OLD CONNECTION BACK!
I am ok with the 40 GB data cap. It was already expensive paying for 10GB on the old setup.
Just to give some historical background about the issue of internet in Lebanon, one of the most expensive internet fees in the region:
The internet bandwidth is already available and just needs a click (actually an email) to expand it through SAT3 connection.
In terms of the ADSL & fixed line new installations, it has been a political issue rather than a logistics or technical issue.
The demand on ADSL & Fixed line is enormous due to the fact that little number of boxes are being installed per year.
So dear Mr. Boutros Harb, please ask your advisors to put a business & action plan so we could get our connection back! I need to connect to the internet in a smooth way.
A click on your appstore or playstore to buy an item is something new to the Lebanese subscriber. No need to enter credit card details and to have to wait for the transaction to be executed. The two MNO’s in Lebanon has recently launched their new app stores which are based on Direct Carrier Billing (DCB).