The Sky is too low for Qubee

I was very happy to start my journey with Qubee. I remember they started their journey with some hilarious packages. But the competition finally brought qubee to the right path and they were providing some good offerings to the Bangladeshi Internet users. But, buttt… but… as a Qubee user, and specially subscribing the package called “Sky” (which means limit and possibilities as high as the sky) – I can’t really be a satisfied customer of qubee. Why? let me give you some idea why I feel so:

The limits (download & upload combined) for the sky package users are as follows:

512 kbps – 30 GB

1 mbps – 35 GB

2 mbps – 40 GB

Okay, lets now find out the total time a user will need to finish the data limit at full speed download/upload and what is qubee’s turnover from its costing:

512 kbps

  • 130.5 hours download @512kbps will finish up your quota for the whole month.
  • If you plan to download/upload everyday @full speed – you can only do it 4.34 hours/day, which is almost 1/6 of the whole day. It means qubee sells their 24 hour 512 kbps to 6 users.
  • A typical 512 kbps sky users pay 1250 taka (without VAT). Qubee buys bandwidth from submarine cable IP bandwidth providers @ 12,000/mb. In that case qubee’s 512kbps costing is BDT 6,000.  As calculated from the previous point, qubee sells this 512 kbps bandwidth to atleast 6 people. Their turnover from 512 kbps is atleast 1250×6= 7500 Taka.
  • Qubee’s bandwidth cost 6,000 taka, turnover 7500 taka. Cost turnover ratio (1:1.25)

1 mbps

  • 76 hours download @1mbps will finish up your quota for the whole month.
  • If you plan to download/upload everyday – you can only do it 2.5 hours/day, which is almost 1/10 of the whole day. It means qubee sells their 24 hour 1 mbps to 10 users.
  • A typical 1 mbps sky users pay 2250 taka (without VAT) per month. Qubee buys bandwidth from submarine cable IP bandwidth providers @ 12,000/mb.  As calculated from the previous point, qubee sells this 1 mbps bandwidth to atleast 10 people. Their turnover from 1 mbps is atleast 2250×10= 22500 Taka.
  • Qubee’s bandwidth cost 12,000 taka, turnover 22,500 taka. Cost turnover ratio (1 : 1.875)

2 mbps

  • 43 hours download @2mbps will finish up your quota for the whole month.
  • If you plan to download/upload everyday – you can only do it 1.45 hours/day, which is almost 1/16 of the whole day. It means qubee sells their 24 hour 2 mbps to 16 users.
  • A typical 2 mbps sky users pay 5250 taka (without VAT) per month. Qubee buys bandwidth from submarine cable IP bandwidth providers @ 12,000/mb.  In that case qubee’s 2 mbps costing is BDT 24,000. As calculated from the previous point, qubee sells this 1 mbps bandwidth to atleast 10 people. Their turnover from 1 mbps is atleast 5250×10= 84,000 Taka.
  • Qubee’s bandwidth cost 24,000 taka, turnover 84,000 taka. Cost turnover ratio (1 : 3.5).

Moreover, the calculation above will be in favor of qubee – because when there is a big number of internet users in the pool, the bandwidth calculation will be much complex – and not all the 6 users for 512kbps – 10 users for 1 mbps – 16 users for 2 mbps will be active. Therefore their turnover from each mbps will be much much higher.

The above calculation is for post paid users whereas prepaid users pay a lot more than that of postpaid users.  Yields from the prepaid users will be a significant difference.

Qubee’s cost per 1 GB is 36 Taka (@12,000/mbps/month) for volume based users:

  • 1 mbps: Qubee is selling 1GB @ 400 taka (turnover rate 1 : 11.11), 2 GB @ 700 Taka (turnover rate 1 : 9.72)
  • 512 kbps: Qubee selling 1.5GB @ 400 Taka (turnover rate 1: 7.4), 3 GB @ 700 Taka (turnover rate 1 : 6.48)
  • 256 kbps: Qubee selling 2GB @ 400 Taka (turnover rate 1: 5.55), 4 GB @ 700 Taka (turnover rate 1 : 4.86)

There are many more things that needs to be calculated to decide if a business is fair or not fair. Ofcourse, Qubee has its operational costs, expansion costs, legislative costs etc. It is usual that qubee will try meet all the expenses and do profit from the turnover but if we carefully look at the bandwidth cost and turnover ratio – there are some uneven equations for different packages and plan types.

ISPs that provides Internet through optical fiber or other means charges less for higher bandwidth. The per mbps/kbps cost goes down as the bandwidth increases – but in case of Qubee – it is the opposite. The bandwidth cost goes up as the chunk of the bandwidth goes up. Moreover, if we take a look at the postpaid 2mbps package – a user is allowed to download in average 1.45 hours (1 hour 26 minutes) at its full speed. Still qubee calls these packages  “Sky” (unlimited) . Just try to imagine – if a user downloads more than 1 hour and 26 minutes at 2mbps he will start finishing his quota for other days!! A Sky package allows the users to use the capacity connectivity only 1/16 of the whole day!! After the usage of the allowance there will be a bandwidth cap and all the connection will switch to 128 kbps. This is again an uneven equation for higher bandwidth users. 512 kbps users will get the same as 1mbps or 2mbps users – which is 128 kbps. I don’t know but it seems to me Qubee authority’s SKY is to low.

I called BanglaLion yesterday to know about their Fair Usage Policy.  The guy at the support said – I may download 3/4 hours at a stretch (@full speed) and then may continue browsing the rest of the day but shouldn’t download again. I am not sure but their policy is rather vague, but it seems a little liberal than qubee.

How ISPs like Qubee affects the ISP users freedom:

When WiMAX came to the reach of the general people – it meant a lot. It was like freedom to them. Previously, most of the urban dwellers were dependent on the complete monopoly of localized small internet service providers or the third class high latency Internet (GPRS, EDGE) from the Mobile phone operators. WiMAX as a connectivity medium is a superb carrier. It can provide high bandwidth with comparatively low latency than other wireless mediums. As far as I learnt, operational cost is less as it can cover a huge area through its BTSs. It was perfectly reflecting at the 2nd quarter of the year – when both the WiMAX operators (Qubee and BanglaLion) doubled the bandwidth allowance for the subscribers. But all of a sudden both of them became active with their Fair Usage Policy. And the outcome is what I described in the first part of this post. In the mean time – these two operators were successful in ruining the business of most of the local Internet service providers. All of a sudden we realized that – we have run out of options other than Qubee and BanglaLion. The monopoly is now in between these two operators. Now since the customers can’t flee they can introduce caps/limits like this. The problem of high price for WiMAX license is now infront of us. If more WiMAX operators were given the license with low fee for the License – there would be much competition and the ultimate winner would be the general Internet users.


Our expectations:

Government should provide the license for the 3G operator as soon as possible. 3G, although is not technologically as advanced as WiMAX, – can still generate a competition with the WiMAX operators. Besides, completion of the underground optical network will allow many other ISPs to operate through out Dhaka city which will re-introduce the complete freedom for the Internet users of Dhaka and similarly in other cities.

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