Posts Tagged ‘prepaid’

T-Mobile USA PAYG gets worse…

Back in August, I wrote about how T-Mobile USA changes their pay-as-you-go plans. It is even worse than it seems.

I’m back again this month, and find that if I want to change to the $3/day unlimited calls/text/data plan, I have to wait till the next month (i.e. the next billing cycle). Previously this would just work immediately, as long as I changed it online. 

My options to get data now? Pay $10 for a 1-week High Speed Data Pass with up to 1GB of traffic to utilise. There’s also a $5 day pass. 

T-Mobile reminds me of my experience with DiGi. Both were underdogs. Once they get more market-share (in T-Mobile’s case, maybe a better network/selling the iPhone; in DiGi’s case finally getting a 3G license back in the day), they just can’t handle the load, and graduate from their underdog status to being worse than the incumbents. I’m still a T-Mobile & DiGi customer, but the question is for how long more?

T-Mobile USA changes their pay-as-you-go plans

I’ve had a T-Mobile USA prepaid number for quite some time. It was a brilliant service — you turn on unlimited calls & data (200MB at high speeds, and then it goes down to 2G speeds) when you’re in town for a mere USD$3/day. If you can live with 2G speeds, it cost USD$2/day. And when you didn’t use it, you just went into a mode that would charge you upon usage. 

All this was and still is changeable online on your T-Mobile account. A bonus: add $100 credit, and you’ve got validity for 365 days.

Now, they’ve decided that the moment you go to one of those $2-3 plans, you can’t go back to the old “idle” mode. Now you’re charged a minimum of USD$3/month just to keep your number alive & active. So that’s $36/year to keep your number alive.

I don’t mind the extra charge, but I think its quite dishonest to change existing customers to this. A lot of people praise T-Mobile, but even they falter. 

Mobile prepaid broadband in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore

When I was in Bangkok, Thailand recently, I received really good information from John Berns, one of the organisers of BarCampBangkok3. He told all out-of-town guests, that you have options for data, with regards to phone SIMs (which you can procure for less than 100 Baht, and topups range from 50, 100 and 300 Baht – cheap!):

If you want to get EDGE/GPRS data service, buy a One-2-Call SIM, it’s easy to set up and you can get 20 hours of EDGE/GPRS for B100. To subscribe, just dial *138 and follow the voice menu.

In Malaysia, prepaid broadband is not simple. Until now, it seems. I quote, from the article Driving mobile broadband to tourists:

Celcom Broadband Prepaid plans are available for RM20 for a week’s worth of unlimited Internet connections while RM6 will buy you 24 hours of unlimited connectivity. The connection speed is up to a maximum of 384 kilobits per second.

RM20 for a week’s worth of unlimited Internet access, that gives you 384kbps. That’s cheap! For a month, that is a meagre RM80, much cheaper than Maxis’s Broadband offering (albeit at a higher speed, but the service quality is horrendous) at RM138.

How is Celcom Broadband? Does it work well? It seems like they’re about the only provider that I have not subscribed to, and this prepaid deal is making me want to check it out. (Their website on the other hand is a complete useless hunk of Flash, that even MacOSX dislikes.)

Point to note: in Thailand, getting a SIM card is easy, you just buy it off the shelf. In Malaysia, they require ID checks, and an address (I’m sure a hotel’s would suffice, and a passport would do), as they need to add it to a centralised database, to track your naughty behaviour ;-)

The last time I was in Singapore, I also noticed something similar from M1: M1 Prepaid Broadband. 3 days of usage, up to 7.2mbps, and topup’s are SGD$18 for 3 days, and SGD$30 for 5 days. The card itself costs SGD$18. Very nifty (there was a promo for a little over a hundred bucks, you could even pick up an unlocked HSDPA modem!). Where else can I get prepaid broadband, on the cheap?

You own a modern phone? You own an iPhone? You definitely want something like this, considering you’ll find the location based services useful, as well as making use of the assisted GPS unit to find your way around. Looks like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore have their bases covered for the mobile data warrior.


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