Dateline: 16th June 2013:  Updated information on iPhone5 woes in Bahrain and probably across the world. 

Basically Apple and the Telecommunications companies selling this heap of junk are doing absolutely ‘NOTHING’ about it.

This page is getting around 2,500 hits a day at the moment, so something is seriously wrong with the iPhone 5 as people surf to see what’s going on. Yes, we speak of Bahrain here, but the problem is not isolated to Bahrain, it is probably world wide, unless Bahrain has been buying batches of dodgy models of the  iPhone 5 in the first place.   I would not put it past some, but if not, then just when is Apple going to do something about this?  So far, not a peep!  Again:  Not all iPhone 5s are are bad, but ALL iPhone5s are NOT good.

In Bahrain, not a peep regarding the issue from any single mobile provider either.  Anywhere else in the world as I type……… NOT A PEEP! 

In Bahrain, the excuse is: ‘We cannot be the first to admit this.  If the other telecom company admits first, we will follow’   Where are all the B.S. geeks who constantly write bilge on the likes of PC World or Mac World.  I see and hear nothing.  Have we all been nobbled?
It is primitive, Politically Correct, 3rd world thinking to the Nth degree.  I am hearing of tens of thousands complaining,  but the world’s watchdogs, stay silent.

This silly iPhone 5 issue has gone beyond a problem to become a complete rip-off, with subscribers still paying the full package price but getting nothing resembling the goods.


KICK ‘EM WHEN DOWN:  (See below and the original post for an explanation of who is who in telecoms within Bahrain)

Zain Bahrain and Saudi (which I do not know much about now) gets knocked pretty good and I am not so sure they deserve this.  Batelco used to be the bashing board but have weathered that, although I see little improvement if any within their electronic Customer Service.  As a provider, they are up among the best.  As a progressive, artistic, leader, they are also zero. 

Customer Service in Zain is as good as it gets by comparison.  It is not perfect as such, but there are very knowledgeable, well trained people within and I have not seen better in other companies.  Many came from Batelco in the first place for Christ’s sake.

I know Bahrain Telecommunications very well, as I do Zain, but I know very little about Viva.  (see below). I personally had several bad experiences with the third operator Viva, but like pop stars, they have their dedicated followers and to them, Viva cannot put a foot wrong.

Within our little group, we have Zain iPhone 5 packages and there in lies our problems.  My good buddy who I see almost every day has a similar iPhone 5 but with Viva and so far no complaints. Quite the opposite really as he waxes lyrical about his operator on a regular basis.  Good for him.  Odd really, because 90% of the times he calls me we get cut off and he always assumes it is me.  On Whatsapp, sometimes there are very long delays before he gets the message.  He doesn’t notice any of this because he just assumes it is Zain, yet I am convinced it is his iPhone 5.

There are may good aspects about Zain and no more bad really than any other.  However, not admitting there is a problem with the iPhone5 is not one of their best decision to date, but predictable in this culture. Then again,  As time goes on, not dealing with the issue, hoping that the iPhone 6 will come and everyone will forget is just deluded, pathetic ideology and yet one more nail in their corporate and marketing department’s coffin; although I am not exactly sure the two are on a level playing field.  For one, I will NEVER forget the iPhone 5 issues and it will affect my future judgments as I am sure it will thousands of others. Besides, the ‘Consumer Protection Society’ should have been on the case long ago demanding a recall.  (I don’t know, but I get the impression that the CPS is just one man around here and seemingly none too concerned about much either way).

As eluded to below, of the three main operators, Zain appears to have the most iPhone customers, therefore the issues is highlighted even more. Plus,  Zain are going through a series of publicity revelations at the moment, with some funny internal struggles and currency issues within Zain’s operating field, but nonetheless Zain are very capable operators. There are many good people working for them in operations, but it is not them who make the big bucks in wages, it is Marketing and it is the deeds of Marketing which the public encounter.

It is so frustrating from a lay person’s point of view.  What with inane advertising and a culture of give-away -  to cover incompetence, I am surprised they get anywhere at all sometimes.  But then, all industry, Corporates to window cleaners target the lowest common denominator.  I am old, but give me just ONE YEAR and carte blanche in any telecom company marketing department and watch me go. 

What have I been saying for donkey’s years about telecommunications companies?    I love them dearly, nay, I adore them and all who sail within, but their marketing and public relations nous is scraping the Kelvin scale of ZERO!   They recruit non entities always. There advertising agencies are mere opportunists in most cases, so take the money and run, fully aware that there is absolutely zero creativity or perceived professionalism within these marketing departments.  Still, there are plenty of Advertising Agencies crawling in the crevices just to get the dosh and will kowtow to the lowest common denominator.  Who can blame them, easy pickings.  From what I have experienced over the past 7 years is that, these telecom marketing departments are awash with nice dudes who are being paid upwards of $25,000 a month for addressing the masses at its lowest access point.  The end result – dirge!  Copied at that.  The same old.  All of it needs a serious clean out.

To repeat:  The biggest problem with a ….um….er…. telephone companies is that they think …um…. telephones.  It is so hard for some within to think out of the box.   Give any telco a good idea and they WILL NOT RUN with it, until someone else does.  ‘Catch 22’, so by then it is too late and nobody progresses with it.  Read earlier posts from me.  ‘Someone else must do it first’.  

How anything ever sees the light of day is a miracle half the time.   4G could have been with us 2 decades ago, but ‘same old’ mentality prevails.  They are brilliant in parts and technology when all things are taken into account, but innovation and risk…………………. just forget it. Yet as I have also said many times; telecom companies are the present, the future and beyond.  Everything we ever do will be through telecommunications, now and into the future.  Although most of them deserve to rot to be honest, but without them, an entire metropolis of industry would die, from advertising agencies to most of China.

I actually await the day of the ‘Internet Global’ as a non mobile operator.  AOL could have done it, but too early in the market and like Kodak failed to wake up in time.  Google might succeed with their ‘jelly fish’ trans/receivers, who knows?   The time will come though when the ‘money for old rope’ establishments will fail.  It is already happening because each and every one ‘FAILS TO ADVANCE’ or take


SIZE MATTERS;  (Part fix for some)

Zain Bahrain came up with a small possibility which might help iPhone5 owners in strong 3G areas.  Go to your settings page and look at ‘networks’.  Now in Bahrain, like other places, your chip or Sim only allows your subscribed operator to lock on when on home turf. With the iPhone 5 being 4G capable (apparently, but yet to witness its worth), it constantly searches for a provider.  In Bahrain, it will be looking at every other provider until it finds Zain.   Switch off the ‘AUTO’ and wait.  Eventually you will see a list of providers.  Select Zain.  This takes some time and you might think nothing is happening for a while.  The downside to this is when you are in low coverage or non 3G areas.  Just forget it.


Original post:

Dateline: April 24th 2013.  I could be from another planet walking around in a daze oblivious, or this could be the biggest Wikileak type revelation since the massive Toyota recall a few years back.  Watch the news in the coming days, if you don’t hear anything, then I am well wrong! Maybe I am just last to know.  [See breaking news at the bottom of this post]

Until now, it would seem to me that Apple and certainly local telecom companies have been keeping very nervously quiet about the iPhone 5 problems.  Yeah, we heard about ‘battery drain’, blah blah with all the usual geeks out there offering their own deluded tech tips, but seriously now, this is much much more disastrous.

A month back, I renewed my affiliation to one of my local telephone companies and took advantage of their ‘get a new phone free’ offer.  Nothing is free of course, but it is better than nothing.  Um..  ok, you know what I mean. I actually have phones from several telcos.  On unpacking my new iPhone 5 and sticking the chip in, I couldn’t pick up the network.  The sales assistance said to wait 20 minutes.  Not these days surely!  So I wandered on home.  Once there, still no network then suddenly it came.  Unnoticed really for a couple of days, I realized that I had not received any calls on my new iPhone5. I did not think too much about it, until friends starting calling my other half saying my phone was always off, asking if I was dead already and if not why not?  Then the horrible reality came to light. The new IPhone5 is fu.. um.. broken.  It must be, because my Blackberry, now sitting on the shelf worked quite alright before in the same rooms. (Yeah I got my ‘connected’  boys to twist the cell array around a bit to cover the bunker, but they had to do that or we had nothing at all)



Wandering around town these last few weeks (in Bahrain), I have been near to throwing my new iPhone 5 against a wall – the lack of network is so bad.  Whoever is nearby gets my loud wrath with me blurting out; ‘No NETWORK AGAIN!!!  This last batch of iPhone 5s are defective crap and nobody doing anything about it.   Invariably I am asked’  ‘Have you got a Zain iPhone?  I have exactly the same problem’. Or; ‘A lot of my friends say they are experiencing the same thing’ and so on.  Although I am quite happy  with Zain (a mobile network provider across the Middle East),  and I am honestly not particularly defending them, I ask these affected souls if any of them have reported it to the call centre. Oddly, I have found nobody of the dozens or so I have met who have realized there is most likely something very wrong with their phone, so instead just take as fait accompli assuming it is Zain at fault. 

The problem is rearing its head in large numbers daily as more and more folk chatter and become fed up and aware.  But is it only relative to Zain?  No of course not, but in little ole’ Bahrain it might appear that way for several reasons:

  • It depends from which batch of iPhones your item came,  as not all iPhone5s are affected. Only Apple and the people who make iPhones for them in Taiwan know that. Thus I suspect that the new iPhone 5 issue is the telephone hardware itself, including wifi and quite possibly not software in general although some hang periodically. So far, no teleco has admitted this.
  • I also suspect that Viva (Saudi Telecoms) have serious issues, but are keeping very quiet about it because like Zain, they will not know what to do as they quake in their sandals,  worried sick that it might cost millions.  Like Viva (who are relatively new to the market), Zain launched about 7 or 8 years ago with 3G dominant rather than GPRS or Edge, although of course they have to make provisions for the older technology, so it is there but sometimes you would not notice. I am not sure about Viva, but from my limited experience, if you cannot get 3G, then you get nothing at all with them.   I think it is safe to say that the original incumbent, once monopoly -Bahrain Telecommunications (Batelco) have a more solid GPRS base as they only added 3G a few years back, so any of their customers lacking network on their new iPhone5s might not be as quick off the mark discovering there are issues. With Zain’s weak GPRS in areas where there is no 3G coverage, the Zain Network craps out, so it looks like Zain is suspect as far as the user is concerned.  Plus, Batelco might have purchased their batch of iPhones from completely different stock, but I am sure revelations will be made sooner rather than later.                         ,  
  • Not ALL iPhone5s seem to be affected.  It just seems to be a particular batch, although still there is definitely a poor attachment to networks with all the iPhone5s I have come across so far.
  • The blame Zain is more  mathematics than anything to do with Zain’s operations as such; Standard Deviation with a very wide bell.  According to my little bit of research and the constant ludicrously long queues at Zain shops and stands over the past few months, so many more people have taken up iPhones with Zain, so therefore the complaint numbers are going to be higher by law of averages.  Each mobile operator offers certain benefits and somewhat similar packages, but the Zain ‘post-paid’ package is hard to beat: Unlimited data with the lowest package, free Zain to Zain calls and that includes to their Wimax phones and some free minutes to other networks. Oh..er.. and the free phone as well, if you contract more than a year.   Well, with Viber and everything else, it is not rocket science to see that many of us will only ever end up paying the fixed tariff each month for the relative package with no additions.  With this increase in the number of users, it is even less rocket science to note that there are more user appearing on individual network cells and with the likes of 3G, it does not like that one bit.
  • Bahrain suffers greatly with all forms of radio transmission.  Cell towers transmitters are set to the lowest possible output power, as with wimax and so on.  Naturally, this affects the network’s ability to function efficiently. Even the commercial radio stations are heavily restricted. If you have a weak phone, it is going to show up.  Low power?  Why?  Ah, good question.  The ‘concerned citizen’ know-it-alls, bitch about radiation sickness and and and – and in theory, to save us all getting nodules on our nodules, the power output has been restricted.  What a load of old bollocks if you ask me.  I personally think it is Saudi Arabia firing warning shots across the bow. There is a great individual greed in the Middle East and this extends to business, hence the monopoly ‘agency’ fascination and addiction.  The UAE monopolies (a funny plural), banned Skype (although it is unofficially open from just this month). They simply want to make money. But how can they stop Skype coming in?  Ah, they don’t!  But you trying calling a number in the UAE from Skype and watch as your credit disappears quicker than panties in the Saudi branch of Anne Summers.  Inter Gulf telephone call rates are among the highest in the world. Roaming between them is hideously over priced when you consider the price anywhere in Europe to anywhere in Europe. Now Saudi doesn’t have a wall around it, but my guess is they would really like one and that would include blocking radio signals from neighbours getting in.  No, nothing to do with cultural degradation from the decadent surrounds; just money honey.  Since the countries are only seeing distance apart (but light years in thinking), one assumes they do not like Bahrainis using Bahrain’s networks while there.  So what has all that got to do with the issue?  If your receptor is weak and there are weak signals (in the RF domain)…. No surely, you don’t want me to continue with the explanation do you?



4G/LTE is on its way and soon by all accounts.  Don’t hold your breath for the boasted dynamics. I will be blogging about this soon I hope and in fact started blogs about it years ago but never bothered to finish them.  Yes it will be better than 3G, but there are some heavy, very heavy restrictions for us.  Like any system, it is only as good as its weakest part.  Sadly, we have more than a few weak parts.  However, the iPhone5 handles 4G, or so we are led to believe.  Perhaps these complaints about the low performance of certain iPhones are hoping to get swept under the carpet as the telcos pray that the 4G components are not affected.  Ho Ho Ho, laughed Santa.

With so many complaints pouring in to the telcos, just what are they going to do about it?  From my experience (and I am one now), saving face is a big issue here.  Blame is a very dubious subject and the reluctance to accept it is shockingly worrying in the most dire circumstances sometimes.  Someone has to pay, someone might have to replace all these new iPhone5s.  It could run into millions.

Calling the call centres now will not help.  They are not calling back, or rarely.  They simply do not know what to do about this and of course many within accepting that there are an unusual amount of complaints about the same, but are extremely reluctant to blame the phone itself yet.  Serious ‘denial’ comes to mind. 

Just a thought:  The local telecom companies claim to be official distributors, but just how official is that?  My guess is that a few sphincters will be twitching wildly because phones are sold across this region ‘unlocked’.  Maybe there is absolutely no liability on the part of Apple to replace these phones and they are not direct sales – or are they?  The supposedly recent earthquake repercussions felt in Bahrain recently might not be from the Iranian earthquakes at all, but extremely nervous executive knees knocking and teeth clacking in the ivory towers of the Bahrain telcos.


Praying is locally a cultural necessity in its propensity or otherwise and oh boy- there are a few genuflecting right now that this problem can be fixed in software.  Me thinks not…………………but what do I know, I was only a communications electronics master as the world went silicon and I have forgotten more than I learned.



Low and behold, as I write this page, news has just broken. Last month, Apple returned to the manufacturer up to 8 million iPhone5s, claiming quality concerns.  I don’t think this is the first time either. Those defective phones are made by the Taiwanese company Foxconn.  I am searching all over my iPhone and the web, to see if there is any way I can tell if my iPhone is a batch from there too.  Anybody any ideas?  Post!