TELECOM | New services and increased competition are bringing new conveniences to the consumer
A few weeks ago I was departing from Queen Alia International Airport and was, for a change, pleasantly surprised. I am saying ‘for a change’ because I have written before about the dire need to inject technology into our main airport. There is still a lot of work to be done, starting with the airport’s IT department (or whoever is responsible for computer stuff there) purchasing a copy of the virus protection software that runs on the PC used for displaying flight information. The warning window that says that the demo has expired always appears on the flight information screen! It has become the ridicule of a number of sites on the net, let alone the thousands of people who come and wait at the arrivals hall every day. The fact that this situation has been allowed to go on for months can only be explained as extreme negligence.
Now back to the pleasant surprise: there is finally wireless internet in the airport. I opened my laptop and, lo and behold, there it was. The welcome screen said that the service would be free for the testing period. I was able to download my latest emails before boarding the plane. Great!
I say: for goodness sake, KEEP IT FREE. Get it sponsored by Jordanian corporations and let the sponsors put up nice signs in the airport bragging about it and informing people of its existence. Charging for it would be a useless exercise. Such services are free in many airports. And who would care to go buy a card for the short period they are spending in the airport?
ADSL for everyone?
Another cool development in Jordan’s telecom market has been the reduction of ADSL prices. Finally, even my parents have an ADSL connection and wireless access for the whole house. Now that is progress!
It’s also great that 1 Megabit connections are being offered to residential customers. But that should not be the end of the story. The speed needs to go up and the prices need to go down further if we want to keep up with global developments in this field. I just read a Foreign Affairs article that reveals how the US is now lagging behind countries like Japan and South Korea (soon even China) in the usage of broadband. The speed of internet connections in Japan blew my mind. While we are talking about 512 Kilobits and 1 Megabits, the Japanese are making 30 Megabit connections available to most of the population. A recent report I saw in Slashdot.org talked about the official launch of 1 Gigabit residential services in Hong Kong (priced at 215 US$ per month). 1 GIGABIT!!
Jordan Telecom has recently announced its LiveBox strategy which is supposed to bring new integrated voice and data solutions to the home, apparently at high speeds.
Dare we dream of 4 Megabit at the home anytime soon?
Internet for the rest of us
You just got to love the telecom war between Fastlink and Mobilecom. Both companies are awaiting yet another competitor in the form of Umniah and already have to deal with some competition from Xpress (who are advertising themselves like there’s no tomorrow).
Look at what happened last week. Mobilecom started offering the sale of landline dialup access from Coolnet (A Wanadoo service) through SMS. If you’re a prepaid internet card user and you run out of hours in the middle of the night, simply send an SMS and you’ll get a new ‘card’ number on your phone.
Exactly one day later Fastlink shot back with the same service in cooperation with its recently revived Link ISP.
That’s competition for you.