March 12, 2009

Syrian 3G Mobile Network Wireless Broadband
Aleppo, Syria

Christophe, my CouchSurfing host, is one of Aleppo's elite who have broadband Internet in the home. Until about a month ago the only thing available was slow landline connections over dial-up modems (and some lucky few in select areas that have ADSL connections).

After network limitations, a year of testing, and some back and forth with the government over security and 'appropriate' levels of censorship, a new technology has emerged for the populous (whom can afford it).

Self-installing software contained on the modem

Detected as a 'Motorola SM56 Modem' on my laptop ('Huawei E220 HSDPA USB Modem' according to the back of the device), the USB modem connects over the 3G cell phone network. It's got a SIM card in it, just like a mobile, and is actually very speedy, but the service is ridiculously expensive: Christophe pays about $60/month for only a measly 1GB of total bandwidth (both up/download).

Considering an average connection of a few minutes of e-mail, surfing, and the occasional Skype call typically brings with it a good 10-15MB of bandwidth consumption, it's pretty obvious that the kid doesn't get to stay online all that much.

To make matters worse, it would seem that Internet caf├ęs are quite rare in this city. I hear the vast majority are on dialup modems themselves. I've yet to see a single one in the city.

If this is what I can expect from the Middle East, then travelogue entries will be somewhat delayed as I struggle to find opportunities to upload photos.


The United States


March 30th, 2009

Here is a comparison for you. At work here in the USA we have a company Verizon Wireless CDMA/3G broadband card and we pay US $60 per month for 5GB of Bandwidth (up/down combined). Based on the economic status of both countries it is not "bad" for a place like Syria to do 1Gb for US $60. Oh yeah, there is a 2 year contract as well to go with it (typical USA fashion).

The only other experience I have had is in Thailand. I had a Motorola RAZR that I used bluetooth for internet access through the phone. I paid $500 baht for 100 HOURS. It should be noted that the speed was dialup or worse (GPRS) but for US$ 0.20 per hour I could not complain much. I could stay in my room and use my laptop in private. Horrible for photos but ok for email, light surfing, and blogging (forget skype on this). Best net cafe price I found with decent speed was 20 baht an hour. The company I used was 1-2 Call and had to get the 500 baht top up either at their store (in the big mall) or by calling their (English Speaking) customer service and using existing top up credit (such as the cards you would buy at 7-11).


Sami Hourany

August 28th, 2009

I'm from syria and i have 3G Modem from MTN and i pay 1 Syrian Pound for each MB . and it was about 35 $ and not 60$

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