I’ve never been much of a fan of Batelco. I’d say that their service is at best mediocre, with occasional flashes of good service, and equal flashes of terrible service. But I could never be bothered to switch. I don’t consider myself lazy, but I could never be bothered to switch to Zain or Viva. The main reason being that I perceived them all to be the same.
This perception was confirmed a few years ago when Viva launched in Bahrain. At the time they were offering a free internet dongle if you get a mobile number with them. I went for it, only because I was having internet problems that day, and I thought the wireless internet dongle would give me a reliable internet connection.
Well, as it turns out the dongle did not work on my Mac! I was also shocked to discover that to pay your monthly bill you had to go and pay at a Viva counter in person. What?? What decade is this! I kept the number, but hardly ever used it. I would send someone to pay each time the payment was due.
Though not ecstatic, I stayed with Batelco’s mobile service, which was more or less reliable. But things have changed drastically in the last year or so. The 3G connection kept switching to the dreaded Edge network. I hated seeing the damned “E”, because it meant super-slow internet connection. Not only that, calls kept dropping, with certain areas having very poor reception. I could not make calls from my office in the Bahrain Mall. I actually had to step out to speak to someone! I felt like I was in the 1980’s!
Things just kept getting worse. The dreaded “E” became the norm rather than the exception. I was advised to upgrade to 4G. I don’t think it’s fair that I should upgrade just because the basic 3G did not work, but I upgraded anyway, only to find out my iPhone 5 does not support 4G!
At the same time, I noticed how satisfied friends and family were with Viva. Gone are the days of poor service and having to pay in person. I bit the bullet – along with my wife – and it’s made all the difference. I can’t tell you how happy I am! I hardly ever see the blood pressure-inducing “E”, and the call quality is great! I feel like I’m in the 21st Century again!
But I’m also saddened. Batelco, like other big Bahraini companies, used to be a brand one could be proud of. What happened to them? It seems to be happening across the board; Batelco, Gulf Air, Alba, these were great companies once upon a time.
I doubt I’ll ever switch back to Batelco, but I hope they get their act together, for Bahrain’s sake.
As for Viva, thanks for the great service!