Sunday, April 27, 2008

OmanTel announces new ADSL packages

So the pricing for the new ADSL packages are now announced and can be checked on OmanTel's official website. [Link]

As Muscati pointed out in my previous post, the 8 Mbps turned out to be close to 100 OR. 99 OR actually. It's crazy, even after considering the unlimited free downloads you get with that package. Nobody on his right mind will pay 99 OR on an Internet connection for personal usage.

The other four packages starting from 512 Kbps, 1 Mbps, 4 Mbps are reasonably priced I guess. You can check the packages in details [here].

And yeah.. according to the press release, your 384 Kb/s ADSL connection should automatically upgrade to 512 Kb/s with no charges.

So, what do you think of the pricing ?

Yet another interview with HM by a Kuwaiti newspaper...


The same Kuwaiti journalist Ahmed Al Jar Allah, editor-in-chief of Al Siyasa Kuwaiti newspaper, who interviewed His Majesty the Sultan two years ago, interviewed HM again on Saturday April the 26th, 2008.

It's a quite interesting interview. The highlights of the interview can be checked on Times of Oman newspaper by clicking here. And for Arabic readers, they can check the whole interview in details (Q&A) on the Kuwaiti newspaper: Al-Siyasa [Link].

I wonder why we don't have Omani journalists interviewing His Majesty as often? Or as a friend of mine said, maybe it is because we don't have such capable journalists in Oman?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

OmanTel's 8 Mbps ADSL

Does anyone have any idea about the new 8 Mbps and 16 Mbps ADSL packages OmanTel is offering?

The ad above was posted by someone on Sablat Oman (, but unfortunately when I checked OmanTel's website it has nothing mentioned about these offers.

Any idea? information? recent news from OmanTel?

Monday, April 14, 2008

(YET) Another Inflation Record Smashed...(but is that all that is to the story?)

Just when some are beginning to think it cant get much worse, in an article published by ITP's ArabianBusiness (click HERE to go to the article in full), inflation in Oman is racking up record upon record ever since the US Dollar started it's fateful slide for the worse...since then, the Omani Rial has lost close to 20% of it's value against some currencies (as I compared here), prices for food and other essential commodites have shot up through the roof (possibly more than just a roof this year)...

According to the article, "Inflation in Oman rose for a ninth month to 11.11% in February, the highest in at least 18 years"...

further adding that "
Food, beverage and tobacco costs, which account for almost a third of the consumer price index, surged 19.6% in February, the Ministry of National Economy said on its website on Sunday. Food costs had jumped 17% in January"

And the response was just the usual rhetoric the Omani public has been hearing all along..."There is no quick fix," Omani Economy Minister Ahmad bin Abdul-Nabi Mekki told newswire Reuters on Sunday."We took measures of reducing imports and we also requested wholesalers to reduce prices. Inflation will take its natural course in 2008."

Oman's CPI is now at 120 points, up from 108 from the same point in time a year back. This is reportedly the highest level since 1990.

The final piece of data given is: "Inflation in Oman, which hit 10.12% in January, had risen by an average of 1% in the last 10 years.

Rents rose 14.1% in February, down slightly from 14.3% in January,"

The article then goes into the defensive statements we've been hearing all along...there is an implicit message again that Oman does not intend to depeg or revalue the ailing Rial anytime soon...

What is surprising is the fact that the article mentions a Central Bank official as saying that Oman needs to slow down economic expansion...I dont see how that can be done without raising interest rates and reducing the money supply and liquidity in the market...

That said, I have a few thoughts of my own to add...I dont think Oman is alone in facing rapidly inflating food prices...Prices for food items have been rapidly increasing all around...I've noticed food items in Australia going up as well (Australia faces inflationary pressures as well and annual inflation is at around 3-4% despite measures by RBS including relentless interest rate rises, but some food items like Indian rice have shot up by as much as 20% over a period of months).

prices for food items (such as rice, wheat and perhaps all essential grains) have been rising sharply all over the world since the last year or so...prices are expected to stabilise a bit this year (since Australia is coming out from drought and expects to produce a healthy wheat crop this year) but to what extent they stabilise remains to be seen.

Damn, now what am I going to do with that Free Tibet banner?

I was interested to read in yesterday's Times of Oman about the plans for today's Olympic torch relay. The media and the various ministries seem quite excited about it all, though I am slightly disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm shown by most of my friends and associates.

That's not what this post is about though. I laughed out loud when I read the following :

Oman announced yesterday that the nation is all geared up to host the most peaceful leg of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games torch relay tomorrow. The claim came from Oman Olympic Committee vice-chairman Habib bin Abdulnabi Macki, who addressed a large press gathering at the Crowne Plaza yesterday.

“Our security is tight and anyone trying to put a hurdle will be severely dealt with,” said Habib Macki. “The Royal Oman Police is ready to handle any such situations.”

Did you catch the pun? Hurdle! get it? Hurdle?

After I stopped laughing, I spent another twenty or thirty minutes marveling at his poor choice of words regarding how protesters will be treated. I can't believe that nobody prepped him for the question, or if they did that that was the quote he was supposed to give. That is textbook bad Public and Press Relations.

With the eyes of the world on us today, the OOC would have been well advised to trot out a someone more seasoned to deal with the media, or to have prepared statements that didn't quite present the plan for crowd control so bluntly.

That said, I think it's a real mark of distinction that Oman was chosen to host a leg of the relay. For those of you who want to attend, the relay starts off from the Dhow at the Al Bustan R/A at about 17:00 and continue along the coast through old muttrah, and up through the darsait heights area, then Past the refinery I think and down into Qurum. The relay is scheduled to finish amongst great fanfare and fireworks at around 20:30 tonight, in the floating theatre in Qurum park.

Be there or be square Hip Cats.

A slightly more Caustic version of this is Cross posted on my Blog, Other Oman