02/03/2006

Caught in the web of Internet rip-off...

Vol XXVIII   NO. 347      Thursday      2nd March 2006

 

Batelco is doubling its authorised capital from BD100 million to BD200m! Hurray! What does this mean to me and you and all the other consumers under their mercy?

Will it mean lower phone and Internet bills?

I doubt it, not as long as their profits are climbing steadily - despite the "increasingly competitive telecommunications environment" if I am to use the words of its chairman Hassan Ali Juma.

But let's face it, telecom companies are the same the world over and as a lucrative business, their primary concern isn't to bring you closer to your dear loved ones as much as to bring them closer to your dwindling purse.

When we first arrived in Canada, we shopped for a few weeks for the best telephone deal.

With all the promotions and competing companies that was possible, even encouraged by companies, which actually give you the chance to compare their rates with the competition.

I opted for the $25-a-month unlimited local calls mobile phone - one for me and another for my better half.

I was cursing and swearing for the first month about how much I have been ripped off for years when I now have a better deal for a much lower price. That was until the first bill came. It was a whopping $200!

Angered at being taken for a ride again, I picked up the phone and called the company, explaining in as many words as I could put in a sentence how enraged I was.

What on earth was I thinking? Did I really think I would get a deal from a telecom company?

They said there were installation charges, connection fees, a fixed amount for caller ID, charges for receiving overseas incoming calls, another few dollars for ability to access the emergency number and other miscellaneous charges I would rather not draw the attention of telecom providers in Bahrain to - and all this multiplied by two! Oops!

And before I forget, there is of course the 15 per cent tax on almost everything here, including your phone bill.

But like it or not it is necessary and without it, I frankly feel naked, lonely, insecure and vulnerable to almost everything.

It is my guardian angel and the only means in which I can get access to my family and friends with the click of a button until I get home and make myself comfortable on my sofa and log on to the Internet!

This is where a new world opens, hugs me with its open arms and throws me into the heart of my Isa Town home - where my family huddles around the PC listening to me and seeing me live, doing monkey faces and relating to them how good or bad my day went.

My one-year-old nephew Ali thinks I actually live inside the computer, which I really do, waiting for the minute my loved ones come online - when Batelco's servers are having a good day!

* Amira Al Hussaini currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Comments

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