The real story behind Maxis Broadband

The whole Maxis Broadband advertising spiel is hitting up again in the Malaysian blogosphere, and I think its time I write about their broadband service a little more.

Point of observation: lots of the blogosphere, probably get paid [not necessarily monetarily] to write reviews, which are generally crap because they never actually use the service. They should disclose this payment/affiliation, but they usually don’t, which is terribly sad. Anyway, ignore the hyperbole – I’ll tell you about Maxis Broadband from the trenches.

I’ve been using the service for what must be about six months now (using a Huawei E220, on a Mac and Linux, but mostly on a Mac – since all I really carry around is my Air). I only hopped on Maxis, because everyone that was a Celcom customer told me that dialup was better than Celcom’s 3G/HSDPA.

The good
It works really well in both my homes, in either Petaling Jaya or Klang. This is of course, not the prime location I would like to use the broadband modem – I have DSL coming through the houses, and its always more reliable than a HSDPA connection.

It works really well in Mont Kiara. The Coffee Bean there, has got fabulous coverage. In fact, so does SOMO.

Where my vet is located in Brickfields, Maxis Broadband shines – 364KB/s. Also, in Cyberjaya, I hopped on WCDMA while I was at MMU… not fast, not slow, but just about usable ;-)

The bad
Uploading to Flickr fails. Anything large (you know, that comes out of even an 8MP digital camera) will fail to upload.

I was at UITM (Shah Alam) not long ago, and the coverage was an epic fail. Nearby the Maxis headquarters (OK, I was at the Sun office in KL), Maxis gave me some amazing ping times – 10761.587 ms! But maybe it was switching cells, far too often?

I was in Cheras (nearby Leisure Mall) not long ago, and was sitting in my car, trying to surf the Internet. Here, you’ll notice that the HSDPA network is weak – it moves to EDGE, most of the time. The Internet is also, virtually unusable.

I took a bus to Singapore a month back. Trying to use it on the North-South Expressway, was not happening. It would disconnect so frequently, it made more sense to sleep. I’ve been told however, that Celcom works a charm on the North-South Expressway. Then again, not exactly a common use case for me.

I have a box sitting in the Jaring IDC. Transfers (ssh -C) top out at about 20KB/s. Ping times are around 80ms, but its just not that fast… Well at least with the WCDMA network in Mont Kiara.

Why?
I’m not slagging Maxis off for no reason… I’m trying to make you, the reader, an informed consumer, so that you don’t simply buy a service, that cannot be provided for.

In fact, I wondered how many users could blog from a single location using Maxis Broadband even. Their service coverage is probably not the best, and imagine a bunch of bloggers (Nuffnang-ers) who want to live blog… These are the camwhore crowd, et al. I’m sure they had a massively enjoyable time, wishing they were at home, with Streamyx ;-)

Motivation?
Well, it seems that Vodafone offers $0 Dell Inspiron Mini 9′s on a $70 plan, with 5GB of data transfer in Australia. I won’t be surprised if Maxis has a similar deal with Dell… A simple Google showed that Dell and Maxis are already in cahoots – RM99 x 24 months with “free” Broadband access for 6 months… more details about the promo, which means you’ll end up paying RM2,376… and assuming you like the Maxis Broadband service, you’ll end up having to fork out RM77 for the remainder of the 18 months, totalling a paltry RM1,386. Wait… RM77 is a lot cheaper than the usual RM138 per month (RM118 if you’re a Maxis postpaid subscriber). RM61 savings!?! That’s RM1,098 one can save… ridiculous. I’m tempted to get this “deal” and just ask for an extra SIM card to be tied to my account… I’m sure that can’t cost more than RM5 or RM10.

Conclusion
I even had other issues with them… upon signup, they said they would direct debit my credit card. It took a threat to leave the service for them to do it over the phone, in the fifth month of service. I still seem to be getting paper bills (costing me an additional RM5).

I am of course, posting this via a Maxis Broadband Internet connection :) It has allowed me to not pay Airzed for Wifi, and if it worked a little better, everywhere else, I’d be mostly happy with it.

What are your experiences with Maxis Broadband?

  • http://kaeru.inigo-tech.com/blog kaeru

    Digi’s already announced their 3G is coming first half of next year. If it’s anything like their EDGE (stable 8-20KB/s) almost everywhere, then it will be awesome. Competition always gives a kick in the right places for government linked companies like Maxis and Celcom. Those guys have had enough time denying Digi 3G, so here’s for faster service and cheaper rates next year.

  • http://sweemengs-tech-world.blogspot.com sweemeng

    One reason, I stick back to streamyx from maxis is.

    3g coverage is not in my area, now could have changed.

    Worst, their proxy is cranky at times. Sometime I cannot access the network. Sometime, certain website cannot be access at all. For no reason.

  • http://slayachronicles.blogspot.com msian_tux_lover

    My wife is given a Maxis 3G service for work. I use it sometimes and it is utterly unusable in PJ Section 14 and 12 areas (they seem to have a station on top of the old Cold Storage building opposite Digital Mall).

    Heck it is even slower than a 56k dial-up line.

    I am considering Digi but I am unsure of its covergae area.

  • k4ml

    I’ve been using it for 5 months and have tested at 3 places.

    Wangsa Maju, seksyen 1 – Connection OK, no drop. Usable for casual browsing but ssh’ing still pain. Never dream for torrent or any “heavy usage”. Youtube sometimes fine ;)

    Taman Universiti, Johor – Connection still OK though a lot slower. Sometimes it drop.

    Some rural area in Muar, Johor (can’t remember the place) – Slowwww … but still can check my email ;)

    My kampung in some rural area in Pasir Mas, Kelantan – Connected to GPRS but not usable at all. Celcom 3G at least can get connected at 56K and usable.

    Maxis is the most affordable for me (ZTE Modem). Given enough budget, I’d definitely choose Celcom.

  • http://www.biatch0.net biatch0

    WiFi is always free (as long as there are people dumb enough to still use WEP – ergo most places).

  • Audrey Soosay

    My experience with Maxis…..utter rubbish!!
    they are so unrealiable. worst than TMnet. I now regret taking on maxis. But i have to stick with it cause of the shitty contract and the thought of getting into another contract if i terminate this
    And no one at Maxis can solve my speed problem. I’ve had a case open with them for the last 3 months and they come every few weeks/months change a modem(and even that modem is recycled! take a closer look at the modem and try having a chat with one of those tech guys).
    And they are still taking signal readings as i write

    With the WCDMA prefered option, I always pick up on the EDGE network in bangsar and that means i surf at dial-up speeds but pay broadband charges!!!

    Another rip off from the AK group of companies…!!!
    I’m still waiting yrs for Astro to upgrade their satelite so i can watch TV whilst it rains. (Can i get a refund??….neh, you have no choice)

    Truely Third world country!!!

  • kamal

    @audrey

    You could try this:-

    http://ayusli.com/2008/02/terminating-maxis-broadband-account-part-1/

    This guy was able to terminate his maxis without paying the RM200.00 charge.

  • http://ayusli.com Awangku Yusli

    Thank you, sir :)

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  • jeremy

    Well, my wireless broadband experience start with maxis broadband around 1 1/2 year. So far so good, mostly people will compare it to the wire broadband. Most of the question is : streamyx good or maxis good? You could not expect wireless signal could beat the wire signal. Wireless broadband had too many inteference could affectd its signal, like rain, building, cellular signal, tv, microwave, wireless phone…

    I could tell you, im satisfied with the maxis bb more than streamyx… atleast most of the time i could get at least 50% to 60% of the speed…it easily could beat the streamyx offer you up to 1mbps, but u just could get 20% to 30% most the time…

    Also 1 thing is, when non-peak hours, i could get up to 200%++ speed!!! This is streamyx could not give you, even non-peak hours.

    I had heard many complaint maxis bb is shit from some friends, i believe in some place, the signal is worst. But so far, it could offer me alternative beside streamyx…

    Digi is joined to the wireless bb recently, just wonder what they can offer, but so bad, my area no coverage, hope to get know some of the digi bb user experience…

  • P

    This month fall , the speed drop to around 60kbps, Anyone notice ? before it can reach 388kbps max ~ 200+ minimum ……

    Also that the contract for 18 month is ended for me , Which broadband should i choose next ?

    Ps: Malaysia Wireless broadband really hopeless and useless (Waste of cash) and cheating to the max!!!!

    • Unsatisfied

      YES!!! YOU ARE RITE!!! I NOTICED IT!!! I AM DAMN FRUSTRATED!!!

  • eddie z

    Well, I myself is using Maxis BB for 3 months now. I experienced the good and the bad of their services. Somtimes the connection runs smoothly while most of the time it’s not. My place is in Sungai Buloh, Merbau Sempak. As far as I know, from the modem page, WCDMA signal is not that strong. You can say that it’s almost next to zero. But, the modem still can capture the WCDMA signal. (It shows the color Blue) And I always put the network mode as WCDMA only. It works 90% most of the time. But different location bears different result. Nuff said. (Celcom not that good at my area, only up to 256 kbps. Digi sadly up to Edge) …. oh by the way I’m on the RM98 deal from Maxis. … promise up to 1 Mb.

  • sean

    Just subcribe Maxis bb yesterday in pc fair JB… free usage for 7 days… but know a lot of complains for maxis bb… dunno whether wanna use maxis and cancel streamyx or not… any opinion? i tested 3 places and the signal i get is HSPDA… i usually do download so many people say downloading is not suitable to use wireless bb…

  • zael

    i`m using maxis BB for 4 months now.for the past 3 months the connection is Damn Good.But..in the midst of this fourth month its become crap.what the heck!it is too slow for 3.6mbps.and i think,the most important for maxis..oh yes for everyone is money.not service.which part of the world that we can find a solution for this?i`ve read a lot of complaint/comment already.i think its enough to make them thinking.to improve or at least to fix this.DAMN!

  • chris au

    I am using an iMac ( Leopard) and I just subcribed to Celcom Broadband. I found I could not connect to all my internet banking sites. The Celcom customer service wallah said it may be that I am using MacOs and it does not interface too well with the Celcom Vodaphone stick modem. That causes the banks’ servers to deny access.
    If anyone has any advice, sure would appreciate it. I had not problem with Maxis ( big desktop modem) before, but lots of people said Celcom is fasterand besides, the Vodaphone stick saves a lot of real estate, and Maxis is falling asleep.

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