Colin Charles Agenda

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.

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 ;-)

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.

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?