Here is Batelco's Message writing by the CE Mr. Peter K.
I know it's long but it'll explain the reason of introducing the new packages
Here's the Boycott Team's response. It's as long as Peter's message and actually sounds more professional by refuting every single point he made. I don't think Batelco have any more excuses... I was so happy reading this response that I just made an account here to show you how wrong Batelco is
Seriously this is very impressive... has to be an inside job because they knew how to beat Peter even though he's a very good politician
Dear Mr. Peter Kaliaropoulos,
We would like to thank you for taking the time to write to us and for taking our concerns seriously. Your personal endeavor to address this issue shows that you do indeed listen to your customers. That is a welcome change from the PR fronts we have grown accustomed to in this region of the world. We respect your actions and highly applaud your determination to stand up for your company in writing to us, and talking to us personally in an open forum.
Your message to us as well as our response is now posted on our website. We encourage everyone to read your views in detail, and use logic instead of emotions to make up their mind on this matter.
We would like to address the facts you have presented in your response.
The comprehensive analysis you present indicates that 14% of user may be worse off, and that the average usage for unlimited users is 7.4GB.
We do agree based on your calculations that 86% of users might be better off for the short term. However, we maintain that you could offer different packages so that 100% of your users are better off with no exceptions, and that every user is important whether they are within a minority or a majority.
We strongly believe that catering for high users and providing a low cost package are not mutually exclusive options. Your BD10 service could have been easily complemented with another unlimited usage service. We see no reason why offering one service should prevent you from offering the other.
We would also dispute your facts because they are historical. While the use of historical data is generally accurate in other fields, that just isn’t true when it comes to the Internet because of the unpredictable creation and adoptation of new technologies.
Your calculations do not cater for growth. If the average usage was 7.4GB in 2005, then there is no telling if it will double or triple in 2006. In 1999, Napster caused a major increase in global Internet bandwidth usage, which never went down again. In 2004, the BitTorrent protocol caused another global increase which remains to this day. This year we have seen the birth of a new web; one that relies on video and asynchronous data transfer. Who is to say that we will not get another paradigm shift in usage patterns this year?
By maintaining that 7.4GB is an average figure, you are setting an upper limit for Internet usage, preventing the technology from growing, and possibly causing this average usage figure to decrease, because it is now associated with a cost. The full potential of the web will be lost.
We are technologists. We understand how the Internet works and use it to the full potential. Our percentage may have only been 14% in 2005, but that too is bound to grow as a new generation of Internet users immerges.
That growth is organic, and our fear is that by introducing static packages which may not change for years, you will forever hurt the evolution of Internet technology in Bahrain. No longer will the average usage increase because users are watching what they are doing, so usage calculations will remain low and 8GB will seem to be enough forever.
Who is to say that 6 month from today, the majority of users won’t be high users? Perhaps in 2007, 50% of users will be downloading an average of 30GB per month. We will never reach the full potential of the Internet because your are setting limits today based on 2005.
You do this now in favor of increasing penetration, but we assert that Internet penetration and technology enhancement are not mutually exclusive, and can both be served concurrently. It is not an issue of quality versus quantity, but a request for both.
Your calculations for fair threshold allocation must be based on a visionary future outlook with a grasp of technology. We as technologists have this vision and look up to places in the world where people have 50Mbps unlimited ADSL connections for $40. It pains us to hear people who ask why anyone needs so much bandwidth. Innovation and creativity cannot be strifled; the first step in advacing our nation is getting over the norms and yearning for what is better.
We should look forward to the future, and not to the past.
You have stated that we recommend alternative companies to the customers, but we have said on our site that there are no viable alternatives to Batelco. We understand that going to 2-way satellite technology is a step backwards as it involves huge latency and shaped usage, but do so to make a statement with our actions, not just our words.
Until there is active competition to provide Internet services via fixed lines, or through the 3.5GHz band, then Batelco is the only viable option for a serious user, and that user will remain suppressed when it comes to unlimited usage.
Additionally, because Batelco is no longer offering unlimited usage packages, competitors will have no reason to do so either. They will instead focus on offering higher thresholds at lower prices, and users will remain limited.
You correctly state that we use emotional comments which harm the debate. Please excuse us for doing so. We are Arabs, and it is in our nature to garnish sentences with prose and highly emotional phrases. To us, it adds more to the debate and enforces a point. Keep in mind that this is a highly emotional issue for us 14%, because the Internet has become an indispensable part of our daily life. By controlling the Internet, you are impacting us personally and our emotions are accordingly high.
As for the unsubstantiated allegations we make, we would like to say that we have relayed our information from numerous sources, which we cannot reveal. For that reason, we agree that those comments shall remain unsubstantiated.
We respect your desire to defend your employees, and will not argue the internal workings of your company any more—that is none of our business. An opinion was delivered, substantiated or not, and it is with you now. We will not raise any more points pertaining to Batelco employees or internal procedures.
We shall continue to focus on our main concern as customers, which is the packages that directly impact us, and not the circumstances which indirectly created them.
You state that “No company can survive on ‘unlimited use’ of a resource for a fixed price.” We strongly disagree with that point.
Today, restaurants are offering you “all you can eat” buffets for a fixed price. Property owners are offering unlimited electricity and water usage for a monthly fixed rate. In today’s world, you can rent unlimited DVDs for a fixed monthly rate, download unlimited music for a monthly subscription fee, and get a loan at a fixed interest rate irrespective of how much you borrowed. There are many such examples across various industries.
But let us stay away from analogies and unrelated industries. In the telecommunications industry which is our concern, we insist that global trends show that the majority of countries in the world, and all of the countries in the developed world, have an unlimited Internet usage plan on offer. But let us not go too far, our neighbours in Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait are doing it as well, and their packages are here to stay.
Some companies do have misleading terms of service as you mention, but an informed customer always has a perfectly acceptable unlimited usage choice at a reasonable price. If threshold limited packages are on offer, they are offered at substantially lower prices. The equivalent of this would be Batelco offering an Unlimited usage package for BD 50, and a Threshold package for BD 5.
In reality, there is no such a thing as truly unlimited, and that is how companies are able to offer it. You cannot eat unlimited amounts of food because your stomach will be full, and you cannot use unlimited water in a month because the faucet is too narrow.
When it comes to broadband, using the 1Mbps connection as an example, you technically cannot download more than 300 GB of data in one month. Comparing to regional and international norms, we believe that your price for 300 GB is not reasonable. 10 fils/MB is exaggerated, and a more reasonable price would have been 50 fils/GB.
Our solutions to address the current situation are not extreme. We offer three suggestions which are acceptable to us for the time being, and there might be other solutions:
- Keep the current unlimited usage packages to complement your new offerings. This allows for unlimtied 512kbps connection for BD50. Or,
- Increase the bandwidth shaping option from 64k to 50% of the connection speed. This allows for unlimited 512kbps connection for BD 40. Or,
- Reduce the price per GB from BD 10.24 to BD 0.050. This allows for unlimited 512kbps connection for BD 40.
We believe that any of these options are acceptable as a compromise for the time being only. What we are effectively doing is creating an unlimited usage package without constraints, but within the bounds of your new product offerings, to avoid any delays caused by creating new packages or going to the TRA.
We acknowledge and highly praise your efforts in giving back to the community. The millions you have spent in donations and infrastructure have not gone unnoticed. But please understand that to the average consumer, these amounts fall short in light of your annual revenue announcements. You reserve the right to look after your share holders, and that is a side-effect of the economic model we operate in, and not Batelco’s fault.
We disagree that our actions might hurt too many Bahrainis versus the benefits we are seeking for a few. We instead believe that only a small minority will benefit from Batelco’s profitability, and the employees are not part of those benefiting.
To that purpose, we have raised our concerns, and believe that if you might hurt 14% of your users versus the benefit of 86%, then we are only hurting 1% of the Bahraini population who are Batelco stakeholders versus the benefit of 99%.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, we want everyone to benefit, and to cater for 100% of the population. By introducing any of our suggestions, Batelco can still increase Internet penetration and cater for the needs of all customers without exception.
Batelco is a big company, and will surely pass this incident and continue to operate more successfully than ever under your management. The negative media received is trivial compared to what has been said about Batelco in the past 10 years.
This negative PR will easily be forgotten. What is important is that the consumers have spoken and a channel has been opened.
It is the first time in Bahraini history that a consumer campaign is highlighted to the general public. It is the first time that a CEO personally steps up and addresses the concerns of the customers, breaking down the PR walls. We admire your respect of freedom of expression even if you disagree with that expression, and will refrain from making inaccurate and emotional claims.
We are thrilled by and accept your initiative to start a joint development forum between the customers and Batelco product and marketing managers. This forum is not simply for “teenage” users as you stated, as they are only a subset of technically inclined users. The forum should be joined by any technically inclined Internet users who understand our concerns.
This forum should be established in the open discussion organized by the BIS on May 14th. We ask that the floor be open for customers to step up and join this forum after the discussions are over. We are not nominating any specific people for that purpose, but we are confident that the right people will be there.
We ask any interested and knowledgeable consumers to attend the open discussion on the 14th and step up to join the joint Batelco/consumer forum.
We are delighted that you said “Batelco has not ruled out the availability of an unlimited package,” but ask that such a package be available as soon as possible, especially since we have raised all our points above and do not foresee any additional conclusions from the joint forum. Also, the TRA approval of such a package might be delayed for a very long time, as more competitors are becoming active in the Bahraini market. We don’t not want to wait another year or two for a new package, and insist on a viable solution today, not tomorrow.
Peter, you have shown us that you are a reasonable and honest leader. We urge you to reconsider your offerings, be it in light of the points we have made in this response, an open discussion, or the joint forum which we are happy to join.
We will continue to maintain the need for a reasonably priced unlimited usage package. There are viable compromises which we will accept for the short term, as long as no measures will be taken in the future to charge for additional usage. But based on our above vision, we will continue to campaign for unfettered unlimited usage on all your new packages. We want unlimited usage for every user. That is the only way to embrace the future of technology in Bahrain, and we hope you can share that vision with us.
Our website will continue to deliver updates to this cause. Our original comments will be archived as a historical record for this initiative, and not for attacks against Batelco. The guestbook is an open forum for users to express their personal opinions.
We believe you have sent the right type of response, and we await the right decision regarding the future of Internet connectivity in Bahrain.
Thank you for taking the time to respond.
The Boycott Batelco team