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Mobily or STC for mobile phone in Saudi Arabia?

 
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1329
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:18 am    Post subject: Mobily or STC for mobile phone in Saudi Arabia? Reply with quote

I was with Mobily for 3 years, but they cancelled my number when my SIM card expired this summer. Mobily told me they allocated the number to another user.

I am thinking about switching to STC.

Which company do you think is better for mobile services? My long distance calls are mainly to the Philippines, Nepal and France.

Based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Thank you.

Ghost in Saudi.
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egyptfan



Joined: 29 Nov 2004
Posts: 102
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strange they allocated your number that quickly. Was it an easy one to remember?
From my experience, they are all much of a muchness. There is no competition as they all seem to 'divide' the promotions between them. For a few weeks, Mobily will be doing the cheap rates, they then stop and STC has its promotion - usually at the same calling rates - competition ? A joke - they all make massive profits, so why compete and favor the customer?

Zain also have some good promotions, so my advice is get a dual sim phone - samsung do some good and reasonably cheap touch ones - (or get another cheap one) get a sim from both (or even 3 companies) and use when the promotions are on for international calls. Only worth the hassle if you make a lot of international calls.
By the way, Mobily's roaming rates for receiving calls in some Middle Eastern countries this summer were outrageous - 2 to 3.5 SR a minute, while STC and Zain charged only 0.55 SR for the same service. Check their website

Overall, I would say my experience with STC was far more positive than with Mobily. Mobily has / had some very restricted time allowance for top ups. It was very easy to run out of validity time while having lots of credit. Then, maybe it is / was my phone plan. There are so many plans and changes it is impossible to keep up with which package to have.
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1329
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:29 pm    Post subject: mobile phones in Saudi Arabia Reply with quote

I bought a sim with Zain, because they did not require documentation, and it was Ramadan, but I plan to get an official sim with either STC or Mobily when the offices open up again.

It was inconvenient to 'lose' my Mobily number because I need it for banking transactions.

I called France with Zain and the cost was around 2 riyals per minute (I paid 6 riyals for a call that lasted just 2 mins 20 secs.

Someone told me that if I use Zain to call other networks, the charge will be higher. Texting to the Philippines with Zain was just 50 halala per text (same as with Mobily).

Still, having a cell phone in Saudi is still a lot cheaper as compared with Canada, where you are charged even for calls which you receive!

I would stay with Zain, unless the calls to other networks cost more. Do you know what the extra charge is if you call other networks with Zain?

Thanks.

Ghost in Saudi
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egyptfan



Joined: 29 Nov 2004
Posts: 102
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skype might be a better option if you phone a lot.

It's difficult to know which is better as they all change rates, introduce new packages, etc. It's probably best to go into their offices and see what best suits your usage.
Zain is quite good as you can register and check your prepaid account online quite easily. You will have to have it registered properly to do so.

http://www.sa.zain.com/autoforms/portal/home

Re bank problem, go into the bank and update info for new phone number. I don't think you can do it at an ATM as they may send a message to confirm the change(code) to your old number
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1329
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:53 am    Post subject: Saudi sim cards Reply with quote

Thanks for the information.

I think I will get a Mobily or STC 'official' sim (with documentation) as a backup.

Two teachers have told me that they think Mobily has a more professional set up and after care service for customers. One was for the cell phone and the other had problems with his internet service. And both told me that they were not satisfied with the STC staff approach.

Ghost in Saudi
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12148
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mobily is better in most respects. Zain are definitely the worst - despite the name ("Zain" = Excellent)
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1329
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:50 am    Post subject: Mobily versus STC Reply with quote

I would be happy to go back to Mobily, but they did not provide me with any explanation as to why my sim card and mobile number were cancelled this summer, after an absence of around two months.

The 'lost' Mobily number means that I have to change some documents with the bank, linked to my mobile number, in addition to changing my personal name cards. An inconvenience, for sure.


If Mobily could provide me with an explanation and tell me what the ground rules are, so that I don't 'lose' the number again in the future, it would not be a problem, but as that does not appear to be the case, I will have to consider STC which many of the teachers here have, and most seem satisfied.

I will keep Zain as a 'backup' sim card.

Ghost in Saudi
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1329
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:47 pm    Post subject: Mobily v STC v Zain Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
Mobily is better in most respects. Zain are definitely the worst - despite the name ("Zain" = Excellent)


I now have 3 phones (three different kinds of Nokia basic each costing around 100 riyals - cheapest) and three SIM cards, and alternate between Mobily (favorite), Zain (second choice) and STC (last choice). I don't need all those 'Apps' that most savvy consumers rave about. And even with the simple phone, there are useful Apps like a stopwatch, alarm clock, headlight, calculator and other features, including limited games. No photo options, though.

The problem with STC is that I am unable, most of the time, to send messages to my people in the Philippines - the screen reads "message sending failed" or words to that effect.

Mobily and Zain work just fine with sending messages to the Philippines.

At least now, with three phones and three SIMS, I have no excuse to run out of air time or call time, as at least one phone among the three will have credit.

Other considerations - The registration process at Mobily is more user friendly and comfortable. I was surprised, when I went to STC that there was nowhere for the customer to sit, when called to register and apply for the SIM card with the STC clerk. You have to stand, and this can be uncomfortable.

Zain - I did not use their showroom, in Rashid Mall, but a quick glance reveals that there are far fewer customers, so, one presumes, service would be speedy - and the seating is fine there.

I compared prices making phone calls to Hail (from Dhahran) with both STC and Zain, and both came to around 65 halala for 2 mins of use. I think Mobily would be the same.

This weekend, texts to the Phils cost 0.25 halala with both Mobily and Zain. I think it may be more expensive (0.50 halala?) at other times.

STC attract a lot of customers because they promote a lot and give temporary 'deals.' But, sorry STC, if I cannot text to the Phils.....then, I will use your competitors.

Thank you.

Ghost in Saudi
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1329
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:18 am    Post subject: Nokia 1616 Reply with quote

Some of you asked me about the new phone I bought recently - the Nokia 1616. I do not recommend it, despite the sleek, elegant and light feel. It is also cheap at 99 riyals, but not worth it.

Problems.

1. The sound system is really bad, very poor quality.

2. Loudspeaker is placed at the back of the phone, not the front! If you use it, the sound quality is terrible, even with the volume up. Very 'scratchy' sound......difficult to catch.

3. There are no numbers for the text messages in the inbox and outbox, so you cannot keep track of the number of messages sent and received.

4. The keys are very stiff, making texting a real pain. Not worth it!

5. When you try to send texts, you often get 'message sending error.'

It is very disappointing from a company (Nokia) which used to be the top name in the industry.

This model (1616) is far, far, inferior to the 1208 and 1209. Don't buy it, unless you need a spare phone that you are willing to lose....

Ghost in Saudi
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