Mobile telcos and account wide bandwidth

More and more people these days are running about with multiple devices; smartphones and tablets in general are most relevant to this topic. I, on occasion, am one of those people. Every now and then, my iPad2 3G gets to see the outside of my house… strangely dependent on my Nokia N9 providing a wireless hotspot for it instead of utilizing it’s inbuilt 3G. Why? Continue reading


Maxis (or Malaysia) and the iPhone4

Here’s a bunch of notes for anyone interested in getting the iPhone4 with maxis – quite possibly just for my own reference rather than anyone else given the amount of traffic I receive.

A quick breakdown of my monthly approximate expenditure with maxis:

  • Value 50 Plan (RM50) – RM0.15 average calls, RM0.10 average SMS – equivalent to about 400 minutes of calls or 500 SMS
  • 3GB Data (RM88)

For a grand total of RM138 (not including supplementary lines).

Ideally, I’d like to get an iPhone4 while keeping my relative expenditure per month roughly the same… and since my data usage is far more consistent (not to mention closer to the limit) than my voice usage, I would logically opt for the iPhone/iValue rate plan with the data cap that is closest to my current usage of 3GB; i.e. the iValue4 plan which ends up costing RM375/month. This ends up being RM237 more than my current plan (while being unable to share airtime amongst all my lines which is kind of useful since I make a grand total of RM20 worth of calls on average a month). So, 2 year contract multiplied by RM237 is RM5688 – the total I would be paying for the iPhone4 (assuming pricing remains about the same; which is a fair assumption based on previous iPhone releases with maxis).Good thing I don’t have to pay anything extra for the phone since I opted for the most expensive and longest contract right?

My 2nd option is to go for the cheapest iValue 1 plan for RM100/month while also picking up the 3GB data package along with it (since living on 500MB/month is ridiculous) for a total of RM188/month. Not too shabby I suppose (I still can’t share airtime) since it’s only a RM50/month increase. This works out to a total of RM1200 increase over my normal expenditure over a 2 year period… BUT WAIT!!! I still need to fork out an additional RM1790 for the phone because I’m cheapskate and chose the cheapest plan!!! So the phone just became RM2990. Lovely!!!

For the heck of it, let’s compare this to UK… I bought an iPhone4 for my sister while I was there (and in the process nicking her old iPhone 3G). Her current plan is 35/month for 500 minutes calls, unlimited SMS, unlimited data. She managed to keep her current plan and pay a grand total of 109 for the iPhone4. This works out to RM545 of additional expenditure over what she normally spends despite signing a new 2 year contract. Her current plan is also interestingly not the cheapest available iPhone4 plan available over there.

Conclusion: We here in Malaysia are getting screwed over by everyone that has an SP (Service Provider) in their name. Telekom Malaysia goes without saying, but despite the open “last-mile” in the mobile telephony sector, it appears that we’re still getting the short end of the stick. Good thing Maxis calls their brand new iPhone (3G/3GS) plans “affordable” or we’d definitely be getting screwed over!!! Right? Right…?

So how much do YOU think the iPhone4 will cost here?


HTC Desire (Slightly less so after awhile)

HTC Desire

HTC Desire

Initial thoughts in chronological order:

#1: Wow… that is a REALLY REALLY unimpressive box. I’d be more impressed by multicoloured toilet paper. That’s how unimpressive it is.

#2: Why is this Sense UI so confusing? Or is the Android UI itself confusing… and the Sense UI just adding a little more confusion on top of it? I may no longer be the gadget freak I used to be, but I’m pretty sure I have enough brain cells to figure out a well designed UI.

#3: One major disadvantage to buying HTC is that you need to wait for the dudes over at HTC to add their own ingredients to any Android updates that are released… meaning you are instantly at the back of the bus in terms of Android updates.

#4: This should have come earlier the chronological order but I managed to forget about this; the HTC Desire I received came with a flat battery. NEVER give a geek a new toy with no juice… it’s like flaunting perfect boobies in front of a blind guy.

#5: You had me at Hello. Losing interest in the HTC Desire surprisingly quickly. Not entirely sure why…

#6: The vibrate on the HTC Desire is solid… or maybe the phone is just solid fullstop. Hmm…

#7: I have nails (and am unable to cut them too short)… this in combination with the capacitive touch on the HTC Desire makes me want to stab, punch, and step on babies. EVERYTHING becomes more difficult.

#8: Credit where it is due… the screen on the HTC Desire is amazing. It should be pretty obvious even from the picture above. I love the screen… and wish I could transplant it onto my N900.

#9: WiFi reception… disappointing. On the verge of disconnecting from my AP, when I’m sitting at (a maximum of) 10M away from it. Sure, there’s a wall or 2 in the way… but I have no such problem with any of my other wireless devices (including the N900).

#10: Attempted to use the HTC Desire to tweet (http://www.twitter.com) while watching the first match of the 2010 World Cup (RSA vs MEX). Gave up about 10 minutes in thanks to the capacitive screen, nails, et. al. Instead, stood up, took a walk, grabbed my Macbook Air and proceeded to be content until halftime when I duly fell asleep.

#11: I really like music. I like to take a crap in the morning. I like to listen to music while I take a crap in the morning. I was unable to get the HTC Desire to play my music library over the air via DLNA/UPNP despite doing some research.

Currently sitting at 25% probability that I would buy the HTC Desire (20% of which is the screen).


ISPs and Contracts in a country with monopolies aplenty

I’m slightly unclear on the logic behind binding people to long (or any) contracts at all; especially when, the majority of the time, the customer has absolutely no (other) choice if he/she chooses to terminate the contract. Malaysia seems to be full of these people who seem to be unclear on what the main purpose of the contract is (beyond the obvious). In countries with an open last-mile (and as such, numerous competing ISPs in the same area), contracts tie down customers to a certain ISP for a certain amount of time… giving the ISP time to bleed make some profit from said customer over the contract period without having to worry about the customer scurrying off when another ISP offers better value. Now, over here in Malaysia… Let’s just say that Ah Kao is staying in landed property, this leaves Ah Kao with only 1 real choice (which makes it NOT a choice I guess?); Telekom Malaysia StreamyX. Now, why do I say 1 real choice? *Random shouts of P1, Amax, Maxis, DiGi* All of the aforementioned ISPs delivery method is wireless… meaning:

(a) they tend to be as reliable as Astro in Malaysia (which is basically a pile of shit but Malaysians don’t have a choice) – completely unreliable
(b) have completely retarded data caps

Any remotely heavy user (if you are heavier than a starving African child then you are a remotely heavy user) will most likely not be suited to any of the wireless ISPs… leaving StreamyX. So, Ah Kao signs up with StreamyX, but notices that there are some minor perks to signing a 2 year contract (like a free mug or something that costs the ISP almost nothing). Why lock down Ah Kao to a 2 year contract (everybody hates contracts) when it’s pretty obvious that Ah Kao has absolutely nowhere else to turn to? It’s not like Ah Kao can ring up TeliaSonera or BredBandsBolaget and get the service of an ISP that isn’t completely full of shit (like 99% of ISPs in Malaysia).

But hey, keep going ISPs in Malaysia… continue to extort money from customers in return for your subpar and overpriced services. Yes, I said subpar and overpriced… stop comparing Malaysia to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Vanuatu, Sudan, and other war torn countries and pick on any one of your direct neighbours. The half-assed opening of the last-mile will solve and improve nothing… just like 2 year contracts when no other real option exists.