Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) doubled broadband mobile Internet speed on its network, according to a statement issued by the company.
Mobily launched Broadband mobile Internet, based on HSDPA (short high-speed downlink packet access), a 3.5 generation mobile technology, followed with aggressively priced bundles last month, among them an unlimited bundle – a first for the Middle East. Download speeds started with 1.8 Megabits/second when the service first launched last month.
On Wednesday, Mobily said it had doubled HSDPA speeds to 3.6 Mbps and had introduced a new specialized connection device for new subscribers – the USB Connect, like its name customers can use it to connect to high-speed Internet through any personal computer’s USB port.
The new device can be used to connect both laptops and desktop computers to the Internet, and is on sale at Mobily stores for SR1,000, and a minimum commitment of three months to Mobily’s unlimited Internet bundle.
“We want to present our commitment to the market and customers seeking the latest technologies to the worldwide web, and as such, doubled speeds within weeks of launching the technology and our high value packages,” said Khalid Al Kaf, Mobily’s CEO.
“We will continue to increase broad mobile Internet speeds towards the end of the year,” he added. “We want to give people the freedom of staying connected to the global village, regardless of where they are.”
When the product and its associated bundles were first launched, high and unexpected demand on Mobily’s data bundles impacted the quality of the service, but was quickly rectified. If anything, the strong demand reflects pent up demand in the country for broadband Internet service.
Some 19 cities are covered with HSDPA hotspots across the country. Areas with no HSDPA access have 3G coverage with speeds averaging 384 kilobits/second, while areas with no 3G coverage give Mobily subscribers access to the Internet based on EDGE, a 2.75 generation mobile technology.
As part of its aggressive thrust into the broadband mobile Internet market, Mobily announced last month it was investing SR1 billion into the 3.5G expansion of its network, the largest such project in the region.
To date, Mobily covers 95 percent of the Kingdom’s population, including rural areas, highways and small towns.
Mobily offers three data bundles: an unlimited data bundle for SR350 a month, a 5GB bundle for SR200 and a 1GB bundle for SR100. Users connected to the Internet for an average of three hours a day, typically consume 20 to 30 megabytes during that period.
Among examples of devices that can be used to connect are Mobily’s connect card, based on the Huawei E620, the Nokia n95 and 6120 Classic, the Motorola RAZR2 V9 and RAZR v3xx, Sony Ericsson Z750i.