“If you think this is as good as it gets, I swear you ain’t seen nothing yet.” *
Corny sounding, yet rather appropriately describing what DiGi brings to the mobile broadband table. Got invited to another blogger’s event (might be my last one for a while, more on that in some other post) to the DiGi Broadband briefing for bloggers.
I have Streamyx, two DiGi EDGE accounts and Maxis Wireless Supposed Broad-But-Really-Crappyband. So I do have some basis for comparison. Of all the telco providers I’ve used, I’ve found Celcom to have the widest coverage but the worst customer service, Maxis the spottiest 3G connections and DiGi the better rates with an EDGE connection more reliable than all the men I’ve ever dated.
To be frank, I was disappointed DiGi decided to roll out a wireless broadband service before upgrading all us loyal EDGE users to 3G. We kept the faith, after all, when DiGi was denied a 3G license and we still refused to mass migrate to Maxis or Celcom.
Though I had the chance to get an early preview of the service a few weeks ago, I decided to see how the service evolved before jumping. My experience with Maxis Wireless Broadband was painful, to tell you the truth. Frequent disconnects, clueless technical support and speeds that were plainly ridiculous for what I was paying.
DiGi claims that it’s ‘managing expectations’ by being upfront about its plans’ average speeds as well as the bandwidth cap. I’m all for bandwidth caps, really. Torrenting is something I find patently annoying and I really hate the thought of someone hogging the bandwidth to get illegal film copies, making it hard for people like me who just want to watch YouTube or check email.
There are three plans, each with differing bandwidth caps. After you pass your caps, your speed is throttled to EDGE speeds and for the cheaper Discover and Explore plans, you’ll be charged for extra data. Fortunately, those charges are capped to RM138 so you’ll never pay more than RM138 no matter how much data you end up using on those plans. More information can be found on the plans at this URL: http://www.digi.com.my/broadband/
I was wary about the latency issues, what with my horrendous Maxis Wireless experience. Nazim from the DiGi Broadband team said that they were working on ensuring that latency would be kept around 70-100ms. Of course that would be tougher when it came to international links, but for certain sites DiGi would be using technology like caching or sites like (Edit: Akamai) to deliver better customer experiences. Hopefully they have Facebook on their list since Streamyx takes forever to load it these days.
DiGi’s trying to be more transparent, likely learning from Maxis’s poor attempt at dodging all the uncomfortable questions about its bandwidth caps. At least someone’s getting that overpromising and underdelivering just doesn’t work.
Would I recommend the plans? I’d say that DiGi’s broadband is a nice alternative for those wanting a second or backup line, or don’t mind paying a little more for reliable light surfing. If you don’t use broadband for more than email, IM, surfing and the occasional YouTube video, you might find DiGi a better bet than the hassle which is installing Streamyx.
Now I eagerly await DiGi 3G for my mobile phone. I’ve been faithful enough and resisted the temptation of switching to the other two, even when one dangled the JesusPhone as motivation. Not happening – you’d take my Nokia 5800 over my dead body.
DiGi Broadband’s gotten off to a good start with a lot of positive buzz in the market. So now the challenge is to build on that momentum and show the return of investment on taking over TIME’s 3G spectrum. Keep listening to your customers, don’t overhype, stay transparent and keep providing good support and service.
Just one thing: my friends would like you to improve your coverage because they’re tired of hearing ‘this number is not in service’ when I’m pretty sure I paid for Call Waiting. Otherwise, great start, DiGi, and you have my number when you start rolling out 3G for phones.
*Lyrics from my new favourite Brian McKnight song, The Rest of My Life.