Update on Internet Usage in Almaty

Central Asia Mar 16, 2014

Got an update since my last post about internet providers here in Almaty.  I have learned quite a bit.  For starters, UNLIMITED is not unlimited with any internet provider in Kazakhstan.  It is just a selling point.  You actually have to buy bandwidth usage from each provider.   If you do not know this, the first month of service can be frustrating.

Altel 4

I have used Altel 4G now with their “unlimited” package since January.  They did give 99 Gigs for free but it was only for the first month.  I used about 45 gigs of that since I did not know it was good only for one month.  In the beginning of February I had to choose the package and was amazed that they only guaranteed just 10 Gigs of bandwidth a month.  Yes, they do not stop you from using the internet, hence it is unlimited, but the speeds are supposed to be reduced after you hit 10 Gigs.

For me, the first month I used nearly 20 Gigabytes of bandwidth but I never saw any reduction of speeds.  My friend used 600 Gigs, yes that is 600, and he had speed issues immediately after the first couple of days.  He uses Internet TV from Hong Kong which uses a lot of bandwidth but according to him, he can still watch his TV show but he has to be selective.

Oddly enough, yesterday I can no longer see how much bandwidth I am using with my unlimited package.  I was up to 6 Gigs after a week of usage but I am curious to see if they will just offer flat out unlimited now since Altel has a strong customer base.

Overall, I am quite happy with Altel though I would like to still use 30-40 Gigs a month if I can.  I am also interested in subscribing to Internet TV.  With the devaluation of the Tenge, I am paying only about $25 USD (4500 Tenge) per month for Altel.  I was even tempted to get a second router and account.

Kcell 3G

Kcell’s service has been great.  Connection and 3G speeds beat my expectations.  I am still trying to figure out which 3G “unlimited” package to get.  The first month I used 1 Gig of bandwidth in 3 weeks so I switched to a 2 GB plan.  Today I used all that up and I still have 2 days until my plan renews.  Hence, I plan to switch to the 4 GB plan today for 1990 Tenge (About $10.50 USD).   Kcell’s next plan is only 500 Tenge more for 6 GB but I am not sure I need that much bandwidth. 🙂

Other Options

I may get my ADSL line back in my house but the speeds were never spectacular.

Beeline did another plan but they were not clear to me on how much bandwidth I could use per month.

I was told to try Tele2 as well.  Their 3G router is about 10,000 Tenge and monthly 10Gb of bandwidth is about 3000 Tenge.  I may get this as well after the spring break.  I will give an update then.

Hence, I am happy with my internet plans so far.  Yes I could use more bandwidth but if I use the three I mentioned about (Altel, Kcell and Tele2), I will get 24-34 GB of bandwidth each month at a cost of 9500 Tenge per month or about $50 USD.  That is not bad especially since I get reimbursed 4000 Tenge already by my school.


Kevin Miller

A Japanese Amerasian's Journey from the Caspian Sea to Vietnam heading to Japan. I am a RPCV Kazakhstan and a former US Marine. I am also the Tech, Social Media & Marketing guy for Baba's Kitchen.

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