Updated on Saturday, May 16 with comments from Oooredoo
Throwing down the gauntlet this week, Qatar’s two telecom providers have been encouraging residents to test the speed of their mobile networks in hopes of proving once and for all who is the fastest.
The contest started earlier this week when Vodafone made a bold claim, announcing it operated Qatar’s speediest data network. In a statement on its website explaining recent upgrades, the provider said:
“We installed 134 new outdoor sites, 42 indoor sites, 290 4G outdoor sites and 25 4G indoor sites. With this, we have increased both our 3G and 4G coverage, doubled our 3G capacity, tripled our 4G capacity and tripled our data capacity for a better user experience.”
When residents pushed back against the company’s declaration of being number one, Vodafone launched a contest called the #225Challenge, promising free data and a new phone to anyone who could reach 225 megabits per second (Mbps) speeds on any network in Qatar.
#225Challenge If you can reach 225 Mbps on a speed test on ANY #Qatar network, you'll win 225GB of Data & an S6 Edge pic.twitter.com/cP3hk2k7wS
— Vodafone Qatar (@VodafoneQatar) May 13, 2015
Incumbent telecom company Ooredoo soon joined that challenge, encouraging residents to conduct speed tests and post the results online. Those with the top outdoor download speeds (from any network) were promised Nojoom points, free data and a 4G+ smartphone.
Mobile data speeds can vary based on the area someone is in, the amount of users in the area, whether the person is indoors/outdoors and if there are any obstructions.
At the end of 2014, Ooredoo rolled out 4G+, the latest generation of mobile data technology, for its customers. At the time, the network said it could offer a theoretical top speed of 225 Mbps, which would allow users to almost instantly download a two-minute, 20-megabyte video clip, for example.
But Ooredoo added that users could realistically expect speeds of up to 50 Mbps – which would be fast enough to download the same video clip in four seconds.
Meanwhile, Vodafone rolled out its 4G+ service for the first time this week, saying in a statement that users could benefit from speeds of up to 150 Mbps, though they should expect an average speed of 30 Mbps.
The contest was supposed to end at 2:25am this morning, and then 12:25pm, but both deadlines passed without anyone successfully reaching 225 Mbps speeds on either network.
A new deadline of 2:25pm was set, but no winners were declared as of 4pm Thursday afternoon. However, Vodafone did tweet:
Speaking to Doha News, a Vodafone spokesperson said:
“The purpose of the #225challenge was to demonstrate to customers that the top speed that Ooredoo claims is only a theoretical speed that is very hard to replicate outside a controlled lab. We wanted to show that the real speed should actually be the average customer experience day-to-day. Top speed is not an indicator or customer experience so we wanted to encourage customers to see that in real life.”
Some of the fastest average speeds not obtained by either company’s employees were found by Gazanfarulla Khan, a Qatar resident who said he spent his day testing both networks.
The Best I could make of both @OoredooQatar & @VodafoneQatar on #4G network. Great stuff #225challenge #Doha #Qatar pic.twitter.com/ptUPXFvIUR
— Gazan Khan (@acepilotkhan) May 14, 2015
Speaking to Doha News, Khan said, “From what I have seen, outdoors Ooredoo stands out.” He added that the contest was good for customers, because it spurs providers to offer better service across the board.
The results of the test appear to show that while neither provider can offer more than 200 Mbps, Ooredoo users who participated in the challenge were able to obtain higher speeds:
Speaking to Doha News, a spokesperson for the company said:
“The only ‘Number One’ network in Qatar is the biggest and fastest Ooredoo network, and this is shown in the amazing entries we received as part of the Qatar’s fastest network challenge, the #225challenge.
Which network seemed faster to you? Thoughts?
Vodafone and DohaNews Partners.
You have to have a 4G+ compatible device, duh…
at least if they could roll out fibre everywhere properly it would have been good
If only I could reach my friend with a vodaphone service regularly or him not experience a call
Data – ahhh the main revenue source for teleco’s .
Will take lot more for me to switch but thanks to vodafone, I ain’t paying those ridiculous call rates pre 2008
Mark me down as another Vodafone user who has data connectivity issues on multiple devices (inter-cell and 4g-3g hand-off issues?) and used to get no notification of people calling me.
At one stage I thought it was just me.
The pre-paid data packages on both networks suck, although Vodafone’s seem significantly cheaper and easier to decipher.
Joke of the day…
If only Ooredoo can up the upload speed on Fiber, instead of this useless challenge. you 1/10 th of your download speed as upload. ex: for a 10 Mbs download speed, with ooredoo you get 1Mbs of upload speed! to get a less than decent speed you need to upgrade to 50Mbs + Ridiculous…
You now get 2 Mbps of upload speed on your 10 Mbps fiber. Ooredoo recently doubled the upload speed for all residential and business fiber plans.
I now get 26 to 40 Mbps of upload speed on my 100 Mbps Fiber plan.
Ooredoo is the best network in qatar.
Pity they don’t work on customer service…..two of the worst companies I have ever dealt with….particularly Vodafone!
I switched to Vodafone the moment they launched in Qatar, and I was never satisfied. They always double charged me and I had to complain before I get my money back.
They also keep changing their postpaid plans on yearly basis and you are asked to go to a store to sign for the new plan, or keep on yours but never enjoy any offers or new benefits.
Their voice and data network is insanely bad. I switched before they moved to 4G. Their 3G never offered me a speed over 2 Mbps. I also kept missing so many calls even when I have full coverage, because their network gets congested a LOT.
I switched to Ooredoo last year in March and since then I have been experiencing amazing 4G speeds from 15 Mbps to 130 Mbps with an average of 45 Mbps.
I also never missed a call with ooredoo. NEVER. I never also placed a call and got a network congested warning.
I am happy using Ooredoo because it’s simply the best.
both are bad Telecom companies
If you have to choose between Ooredoo and Vodafone…
Will you go for Hala or Shahry?