Kuwait has an extremely sophisticated and complete range
of telecommuni-cation services, all of which are controlled
by the Ministry of Communications (MOC). Services are
provided partly by the MOC and partly by private bodies
regulated by the MOC.
Kuwait's national telephone network is operated by the
MOC. Transmission is mostly by fibre optic cable. The
system is reliable.
Most apartments already have telephone lines installed,
except in new areas such as Qurain. To have a telephone
line turned on, you must submit an application form, with
a copy of your civil ID and tenancy agreement attached,
to your local MOC office.
The cost to a private expatriate subscriber
of having a telephone line switched on (without an international
dial facility) is KD65, ie, KD30 each for the switch-on
cost, annual subscription and deposit, plus KD5 stamp
duty. For an international dial facility, an expatriate
must put down a deposit of KD500, either in cash or in
the form of a bank guarantee.
Those without an international line are billed
once a year for the annual service charge. Subscribers
with international lines are billed monthly. If the bill
is not paid soon after it is issued the line may be cut
off without warning by the MOC's programmed billing control.
If the MOC cuts off the line, they charge both a disconnection
fee and a reconnection fee. The amount due on any telephone
may be ascertained by dialling the Bills Enquiry Service
The MOC provides a range of sophisticated
services for digital telephones, such as conference calling
and international call barring, though most of these are
available on handsets that can be purchased over the counter
in Kuwait. A caller ID service is also available. This
has been very successful and MOC certified units (which
are the only units which work successfully in all areas
of Kuwait) cost about KD25 in local stores.
Local telephone calls are free, and as most shops will
allow a brief telephone call to be made without charge,
there are few telephone kiosks in the streets.
International calls are fairly expensive (see table at
the end of this chapter). Overseas calls can be made from
ordinary telephones which do not have international dial
facilities by using a special card, such as an Inter-Key
Service card. The telephone must have tone (not pulse)
dialling. Cards are available in units of KD3, 5 or 10
from supermarkets and stores. The cards are used by dialling
the service number and following the instructions. Charges
are 10% more than the MOC rate. Unused portions can be
used for further calls but are not refundable. The cards
are valid for one year.
Telephone kiosks are found in the Telecommunications Centre
in Murgab, at main post offices and the airport, and in
a few supermarkets and shopping malls.
Overseas calls can be made from kiosks in
the Telecommunications Centre and the post offices using
magnetic cards purchased at the counter for KD3, KD5 or
KD10. The card is inserted in the telephone and the number
dialled directly. The charge is the same as for an ordinary
telephone with an international line. Unused portions
of cards can be used for further calls but cannot be refunded.
The Telecommunications Centre provides facsimile,
telex and phototelegram services. Facsimile services are
also available at main post offices, and international
telephone and facsimile services are available at the
main hotels. The hotels however usually charge double
the MOC call rate, though long-term guests may be able
to negotiate a discount.
There are several courier companies in Kuwait. A few have
an internal local delivery service. Charges are based
on distance, and vary from KD2/500 to KD3/500 at the most
for a 5kg package.
There are several international courier firms
operating in Kuwait. At least three types of services
are on offer, letter delivery, document packages and packaged
goods. Prices, based on weight, and some firms charge
a heavy premium for carrying computer diskettes.
The service to Saudi Arabia is limited to
TNT International, Federal Express and DHL. For expatriates
living in Kuwait whose nearest embassy is in Riyadh a
'visa bag' service is operated, whereby for an inclusive
fee passports and other documents requiring processing
are taken to an embassy in Riyadh and returned to Kuwait
with total security.
The General Post Office is in Fahd al-Salem street in
downtown Kuwait City. There are main post offices in Safat,
Salmiya, Hawalli, Jahra and Fahaheel. Some years ago a
form of postal delivery was started using private contractors
but the reliability and extent of the service is in doubt.
Most mail is delivered to post office boxes, where it
has to be picked up by the recipient.
All international mail is by air. Registered
and express delivery (which gives priority in sorting
and delivery only in the country of destination) are available.
Ordinary mail to non-Arab countries is 150fils for upto
20 grams. Registration and express delivery fees are 200fils
a letter. Express delivery cannot be registered. The enquiry
fee for registered items is also 200fils, as is the acknowledgement
fee for a registered letter. To ensure delivery overseas
it is best to send letters by express delivery or registered
Parcels can be sent from main post offices. The weight
limit is 20 kilograms, and the size limit is 42 inches
in length or 72 inches in length and width combined. Insured
packages must be sealed but may not be registered. The
package must have a customs declaration attached.
When a parcel arrives from overseas, the
recipient is notified by a green post card. To claim the
parcel, the recipient must take the green card with their
civil ID or passport to the parcels office in Kaifan.
A parcel is always thoroughly inspected before it can
be taken away.
Mail & Parcel Post
Mumtaz Post is part of the worldwide EMS network, and
mail sent by mumtaz has priority both in Kuwait and in
the country of delivery. The service is available, from
the general Post Office and main post office, to over
90 countries. Special mumtaz envelopes must be used. The
maximum weight is 15 kilograms. The first half kilogram
costs KD5 to Arabic countries and KD6 to all other countries.
Each extra half kilogram coasts KD2 to any country.
Most residents use the PO box in their place of work.
Some however prefer to have their own. A person can only
rent a PO box in the area in which he or she lives, so
applications are made at the nearest main post office.
The charge in the first year is KD7, which includes KD3
for a new lock and key to the box, and KD4 a year after
that . The application form must have a photocopy of the
applicant's civil ID attached to show that he or she actually
lives in the area. If there is a vacant box, it will be
granted straight away.
Kuwait has two operations providing pager and mobile telephone
services, the Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC tel
4842000) and the National Mobile Tele-communications Company
(NMTC tel 2435500). At present, the pager service costs
KD20 per year, in addition to the purchase price of the
unit. Mobile telephones cost upwards of KD25 to buy. Line
costs MTC KD20 NMTC KD 8-10. Call charges for mobiles
MTC 20 fils (calculated on pulse bases) and NMTC 40 fils
a minute on both incoming and out going calls. However,
incoming calls between the two (MTC & NMTC) are not
charged. The competition has intensified and incentives
are pushing prices down.
Short-term visitors can hire pagers and mobiles
from companies who advertise in the daily newspapers at
a cost of KD1 per day for the unit and line and 40fils