Posts Tagged ‘mobile number portability’

Mobile Number Portability and the switch to DiGi

The one telco that I have never had the pleasure of dealing with yet, is DiGi. I’ve heard good things about them, and was slowly tiring of my Maxis subscription (a SIM card that I’ve held for over eight years, running mostly idle when I wasn’t living in the country).

So on Saturday, at about 8pm, I walked into the DiGi store in Pavilion and made the switch. I listed what was important to me:

  • My credit limit – I have a pretty high one, because I travel a lot
  • A reliable network, for both voice and data
  • Automatic international roaming turned on immediately
  • Guaranteed free calls to supplementary lines (and vice versa)
  • Never cutting my line off, if the credit limit is reached — I am after all a direct debit customer

DiGi confirmed this was all possible. I handed them my IC, and credit card (for direct debit purposes), and spent less than ten minutes at the store. The customer service rep, and the sales person were all very professional. There was a minor scare about needing a passport for international roaming, but the customer rep waived that requirement. I was told this process can take anywhere up to five days. They handed over my SIM card for safe-keeping.

Hardly thinking about it, I had an enjoyable Sunday, till I got the SMS that told me my switch is complete! What, that was about 24-hours turnaround, amazing, no?

Maxis said:

We acknowledge your request to move. Thank you for being with Maxis and we hope to serve you again in the future. For further queries, please call 1800 821 123

DiGi said:

Your line is about to be activated on the DiGi network. Please replace your SIM card with your new DiGi SIM card as soon as your current line stops working.

Being naturally impatient, I just switched SIM cards even before my current line stopped working. Upon powering up my phone, it said “DiGi” gloriously – no more “MY MAXIS”.

I made a quick call to ensure I had everything setup accurately. I did. My credit limit too was reasonable. After a flurry of service settings, everything on my phone just worked. I was on their EDGE network “diginet”, and I could make calls with no issue. I had no service interruption.

So, what do I get over at DiGi that I didn’t at Maxis?

  • For the same commitment of RM250/month, I get unlimited amounts of calls to any network, or local calls in Malaysia, including SMS messages, till it reaches RM600, and after that, I will pay 10 sen/minute or 10 sen/SMS.
  • RM66/month, unlimited EDGE. I was paying RM99/month for “unlimited” Mobile Broadband, at usually HSDPA speeds (3.5G). Note that there are caps, in theory, it was just never imposed on me.
  • RM30/month supplementary lines get unlimited calls and SMS to the principal line. With Maxis, this was capped at 15 hours (about half an hour per day!), with 1,500 SMS messages.
  • Great customer service – be it in store, or via the phone. I wish Maxis had an ounce of the customer service DiGi has.

With my limited testing, I can report that from Klang – Cheras, on the Kesas, I had one call drop; the situation was similar from Cheras – Klang on the Federal Highway – the call dropped around Glenmarie. EDGE is nowhere near as fast as 3G or 3.5G – YouTube’s mobile client ended up buffering ever 20 seconds or so, something that was completely smooth on Maxis. At events, sometimes I use Qik to live stream the event – this fails on EDGE. Uploads of between 5-15KB/s is just not enough to sustain video going up into the cloud. Coverage wise, I’m seeing it at all places I’ve been to so far – Klang, PJ, Cheras, Bangsar – so I can only assume they’re doing well in the Klang Valley (where I spend most of my time, no?). Also, video calls don’t work on the network, as its not 3G enabled, yet.

So EDGE on DiGi might be slow… but EDGE on DiGi seems darned reliable. No connection drop outs, just enjoyable working, (albeit slow) Internet. DiGi is rolling out 3G in some areas, and I don’t believe customers who have a mobile plan automatically roam to 3G there, but when time permits, I’ll check it out.

Oh, and I mentioned Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in the title, and never talked about it at all, even. That’s because it just worked. My 012-prefixed number, just works on the DiGi network. No problems, no questions, no service interruptions. So if your current telco provider is giving you the shits, consider moving! The comments I’ve received so far indicate lots of people wanting to move from Maxis to DiGi — a win, as long as they can take on new customers and keep capacity.

Watch out for my next post, probably when I get my bill, to tell you how DiGi performs, overall. Are you a recent switcher? Tell me about it.

Disclosure: I have no interests in either Maxis or DiGi. Though I am contemplating purchasing shares in the company (DiGi) in the near future, because I truly believe that the more modern and demanding Malaysian, will want greater customer service and cheaper prices, and DiGi seems to fill that niche quite well. They seem to be industry shakers in Malaysia (despite the government trying to retard them by not issuing them a 3G license when the other telcos were), while Celcom and Maxis tend to play catch-up.

MNP here; mobile content thoughts

This is a busy week for the MCMC. They’ve just announced that Mobile Number Portability (MNP), will now be a reality (a rather delayed reality. There is a FAQ available. Key things to note:

  • Don’t terminate your mobile number before porting – only active numbers can be ported
  • If you’re contractually bound (12 months, etc – such offers apparently can exist, with incentives to consumers) porting will be denied (unless you break your contract, I guess)
  • Prepaid users beware – all existing credit doesn’t transfer over – so use it all up!
  • A request to port, therefore, is notice to your current provider to terminate subscription
  • Porting can take between 5-10 business days (utter bollocks, this kind of thing should take hours)
  • You may get suspended international roaming during porting, so beware

Its about time. It will only cost a minuscule RM25 to change the provider. Customer service will clearly have to improve (this would be the sole reason I move off a network, IMHO)

A long time ago, Adam (017 – now owned by Maxis) used to offer “free calls” to 017 numbers, for users on a postpaid plan; plus they had the cheapest prepaid options. I was a heavy phone user in those days – it was a long time ago, during the Nokia 5110 days (so late 90s?).

Wonder how many new service offerings like this will crop up? Optus has free 20 minute calls to Optus customers (Yes Time, from 8pm-midnight), 3 has free 3-to-3 calls for 10 minutes anytime of the day, and so on. But knowing what service provider people are on, is key. This is the main reason I carried 2 SIM cards (and phones) in Melbourne.

Well, here’s to saying goodbye to 012/017 being Maxis, 013/019 being Celcom, and 016 being DiGi.

I’m sitting here at a talk about the mobile industry now, and its all mostly focused on an overview of the mobile platform(s). Its basic (for me, but from the wide range of attendees, I think they got a lot out of it)… Location based services, APIs, Java, XHTML, all the joyous buzzwords. There’s plenty to do in the mobile industry, in terms of content creation in Malaysia (and Australia, fwiw). Lots of sites don’t have mobile specific sites, and scrolling, etc. is a pain.

Wild idea being thrown around in my head… Content creation isn’t complicated. At the last government event I attended, apparently, MOSTI has got lots of money to throw around. Some of the amusing things people got 5-figure funding for, included a guide to Malaysian beaches (not mobile related) available. Smells to me like a weekend hack for easy money.

Bandwidth is a problem… Metered bandwidth per kilobyte/megabyte isn’t something many in Malaysia think about (anyone in Australia knows the pain of this – but limitations make us present content better, IMHO). Its expensive. But I think this is a problem that will fix itself, as mobile data becomes more ubiquitous.

Then comes how to monetise this whole shindig. An interstitial does not work – they are annoying, they are a waste of bandwidth, and Mowser tried them and I believe removed them because they were largely a failure.

Mobile AdWords? Google doesn’t believe there is a market for this in Malaysia (or maybe anywhere else outside of the US). Its chicken-and-egg – till a market is built, Google won’t enter it, I’d guess.

Banners? The Star has it on their mobile site. They don’t have any public information as to how successful they’ve been. But this seems like the strongest option, currently – use an ad system powered by Slash, go out to advertisers and create unique tiny banners for them. However, this goes beyond the weekend hack idea… and that just becomes too much work.

Location based services tied into a mobile website. This could work… My social life is largely unplanned (professional life on the other hand is driven by calendars, that SMS me of appointments, even). Say I’m around the MidValley Shopping Mall, its 12:10am, and I decide I have time to kill. Access the site, it figures that there’s activity at MidValley at that time: bowling, The Dark Knight in Gold Class starting in 10 minutes, etc. Book a ticket through the site, get a commission? Banner ad for bowling, so its a “promoted” link/sponsored link, over the regular stuff (again, breaks the weekend hack rule).

If data is always on, coupled with your location, if you’re near a Burger King, it might blast you with ads saying “bring this coupon in, buy a meal, get a free ice cream”. Bluetooth based advertisers, beware – always on data+location will kick you in the nads.

OK, talk’s over, time to be social! Looks like we won’t have the Google talk after all… Thanks again to Daniel for organising this…