Malaysian Broadband – Dissatisfaction Guaranteed

There is an update to this topic that you might find it interesting.

Well I’ve been at Malaysia for a long time already and I went through many kind of Internet Service Providers along the way. Previously there were only few broadband service providers, now there are a number of broadband service providers and they all have glitters and amaze you with their glittery advertises and banners. They are really efficient to take the advantage of the users lack of knowledge in Internet services. So I’ve decided to write this down. There are basically two kind of Internet providers, wired Internet and wireless Internet. Wired Internet providers are TMNet Streamyx, Jaring and Maxis. Wireless Internet providers are namely Digi, Celcom, Maxis, Jaring, Izzy, U-Mobile and some places TMNet Wireless. Lets look at all this from a expatriate point of view since there are many expatriates living in Malaysia. TMNet streamyx is widely used because they were efficient to monopolize the industry. Lately there are Maxis, Celcom, UMobile which are 3G network based wireless Internet connectivity providers. Now here are the facts, pros and cons that everyone should know about..

NOTE: KB is specified as KiloByte and kb is specified as kiloBit in this Article. 1 KiloByte = 8kiloBit.

TMNet Streamyx Wired Internet (ADSL & SDSL):

Pros:

  • Most stable wired Internet so far
  • Covered most of the Malaysia. The RM88 package is fair enough to browse. Update: now they have more options for signup, such as TMNet Combo Packages. Combo packages doesn’t require a telephone line rental. Now the costing has changed too, 1mbps is rm110, 2mbps is rm140 and 4mbps is rm160 now, also all these current packages includes the ADSL modem. Check out new promotion prices here.
  • Speed varies from 80KB/s – 120KB/s for a RM88 ( 1 megabit ) package unless your telephone line is faulty.
  • Corporate SDSL connections are good
  • Unlimited connection

Cons:

  • Requires a telephone line to be present
  • Expatriates must deposit RM1000 (USD350++) before they can start having the Internet
  • Even no telephone is used for conversation there will be a recurring bill every month for the phone
  • Basic home packages starting from RM66 (Doesn’t worth the money), RM88 basic package is ok for daily Internet
  • Transferring location is a big hassle and it could take up to 1 month to transfer your phone and Internet, sometimes even after transferring the bill still goes to the old address for maybe for another year or so..
  • Customer support is friendly but when you make complains, you need to keep on making complains until it is fixed or bring the TMNet director to your house (If you are that powerful)
  • Recently a lot of incidents of severe speed outage and lag. Mostly these issues are due to a large customer base and really lack of hardware/backbone speed.
  • Recently they came up with 4 megabit (Almost RM300 monthly) packages for the home users but I really wonder whether it worth the money or not.
  • Torrent downloads and P2P bandwidth is capped so you will get a surprisingly slow download

iZZY Wireless (So called 4G):

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Pros:

  • The only similar alternative to TMNet streamyx compared to the speed
  • Covers only KLang valley at this moment
  • Package includes the modem
  • Speed varies from 80KB/s – 160KB/s
  • Good for home users or those who are not living at a fixed place or those who are renting house/rooms
  • Performance is not really effected by bad weather
  • They claimed that they don’t cap and bandwidth or torrent downloads

Cons:

  • Must pay for a year upfront which is a minimum of RM1300++
  • Not mobile enough to bring it to where you travel cause of the network limitation
  • Their corporate package is really under powered performance.

Maxis 3G Broadband:

Pros:

  • Has Mobility to bring the usb modem anywhere where maxis 3g network available
  • Package comes with HSDPA modem
  • Speed varies from 1.2KB/s – 80KB/s (80KB/s is rare.. I mean really rare)

Cons:

  • Contract is minimum for 2 year
  • Bandwidth limited to 3GB per month (NO I’m not joking) for each user and they advertise as unlimited Internet (again I’m not joking), if you want to make sure just read there terms and conditions
  • RM 68/78/98/138 per month
  • Expatriates must deposit RM300
  • Speed lagging and frequently disconnected
  • Frequent switch between UMTS/HSDPA network, irritating
  • No P2P or torrent downloads at all
  • Their LAN modem requires to be near or outside your window to have performance (Make sure you have an umbrella on top)
  • Websites timeout during browsing which is a feature of their service I guess
  • If you are a developer or blogger, you can forget about doing all that, maxis Internet is nightmare for developers
  • update: CRIZ has written a complete in depth detail about maxis broadband service and how bad it can be. Make sure you check it out.

Digi EDGE Internet:

Pros:

  • Mobility around Malaysia where Digi connections are available
  • Speed varies from 20KB/s – 50KB/s

Cons:

  • Very slow connection due to the usage of EDGE networks
  • Monthly RM 100++
  • Requires you to have a EDGE compatible pcmcia adapter or you have to use your handphone to connect
  • Most of the latest websites will be almost inaccessible due to slow speed
  • Frequent disconnections
  • Doesn’t worth the money at all

Celcom 3G Broadband

Pros:

  • Mobility around Malaysia where Celcom 3G network available, So far the best 3G broadband available.
  • Speed varies from 30KB/s – 90KB/s, [Update: Advanced Package offers 100KB/s – 400KB/s speed]
  • Good for home users or those who are not living at a fixed place or those who are renting house/rooms
  • For Malaysians   There’s no deposit applied, only need to pay the amount of the package selected during registration
  • Performance is not really effected by bad weather
  • update: Modem have to buy and it’s not included with the packages. They are offering advance package with 3.5G modem which is rm129/month with a contract of 18 months. Also they have the Basic package which is rm99/month with the modem.
  • They claimed that they don’t cap and bandwidth or torrent downloads. see test result as of 10th august 2008

    Celcom Torrent Download with Advanced Package

Cons:

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  • Expatriates must make a deposit of RM 1500
  • RM 99 – 129 per month
  • Restricted bandwidth check their terms and conditions.
  • UPDATE: Celcom apply a speed cap if users use more than 5GB bandwidth in a month. (thanks @soundsyst64 )
  • UPDATE: Celcom broadband users are more than 100k, more than the broadband line can handle which is 80k users (thanks @soundsyst64)

UMobile 3G Broadband

Pros:

  • 3G HSDPA Modem is included in the package
  • Monthly RM78
  • Speed varies from 90KB/s – 160KB/s at this moment
  • Good for home users or those who are not living at a fixed place/those who are renting house/rooms
  • Performance is not really effected by bad weather
  • They claimed that they don’t cap and bandwidth or torrent downloads

Cons:

  • Expatriates must make a deposit of RM1000
  • update: Speed is really effected by different location
  • Contract is minimum for 2 year
  • Covering only KLang valley at the moment
  • update: Service is shared bandwidth with Celcom 3G, thanks @NASIR

Now you know the truth. Some of the services I didn’t mention here are Jaring and Maxis wired broadband cause they are too limited and speed also very unpredictable. Please feel free to share your comments on this topic.