Opinion

Yes 4G – Worse than 3G, Poor Coverage & Lousy Customer Service [Opinion]

YTL Communications Sdn Bhd’s, the telecommunications arm of YTL Corp Bhd, launched its new Yes 4G LTE network on 30 June. The company got the license in late 2012 and it took more than 3 years to make available the service to consumers.

Yes-4g-lte-double-double

There are five postpaid plan made available from RM48/month up to RM158/month. There’s also 4 monthly prepaid plan to choose from RM30/month up to RM88/month.

The Telco also launched its own Yes Altitude (M631Y) smartphone price at RM399.

My comments on Yes 4G

Yes 4G Network and Coverage

The company claims that it has over 85% network coverage nationwide (human population coverage) with over 4,200 base stations for WiMAX and LTE.

In comparison, Digi has 6,500 4G LTE sites nationwide at 76% coverage, much more sites compared to Yes 4G. If Yes 4G LTE coverage is to be believed, Digi has a smaller LTE coverage footprint. Both LTE network runs on the 2.6Ghz frequency. My personal experience, I can get Digi 4G LTE signal almost everywhere in KL compared to Yes 4G LTE. I don’t understand how this Yes 4G LTE “coverage” was measured.

Digi uses a minimum signal measurement of -110dBm to measure coverage. However, I believe signal measurement should be taken at -98dBm, like how Maxis defines its LTE coverage. At -110dBm, signal strength on a smartphone is 1 bar or less, Internet speed can be unstable and slow, phone gets hot, calls could drop.

To get 85%, Yes 4G LTE coverage may have used a far more worse signal measurement which may not be “usable” in real life. To clear the confusions, MCMC should come up with a standard for all Telcos to follow when it comes to coverage measurement.

I also find it confusing as Tan Sri Dato’ (Dr) Francis Yeoh said in his speech that the company has 4,200 base stations while the Yes website claims that it has 5,000 base stations. What happened to 800 base stations?

In terms of speeds, the average appears to be 5Mbps-20Mbps on Yes 4G LTE. Even my Celcom 3G and U Mobile 3G could deliver these kinds of speeds plus better coverage. Lowyat.net has done some speedtest here.

There’s also the matter of network capacity. Yes 4G’s WiMAX network is built for 14 million customers, no typo errors here, 14 millions customers! This is according to Tan Sri Dato’ (Dr) Francis Yeoh in April 2009, I was there when he said it. However, the new advanced, Yes 4G LTE network, the best network in Malaysia (perhaps in the world), can only support about 5 million users with an average usage of 5GB a month.

Personally, based on my own experience and comments I have seen on Yes 4G Facebook itself, there are many areas/locations where Yes 4G has poor signal and there’s no coverage at all inside shopping malls and buildings. I think 85% coverage is exaggerated, perhaps in reality, it is only 40%-50% LTE coverage in KL with zero indoor coverage. I wanted to ask Yes 4G about its coverage so it could explain itself but the company did not hold any press conference during its “big launch” to take questions from the media. Perhaps Yes 4G should hire a Public Relations agency first.

As a short term solution, the best way to solve its poor coverage problem is to partner with other 3G mobile operators. However, from what I am hearing in the industry, this is very unlikely to happen. Unlike webe (Celcom is the roaming partner), Yes 4G is on its own. Yes 4G may have the world’s best device/network partners but they don’t have any local partnership with the mobile operators in Malaysia, and likely, there’s not even base station sharing. This doesn’t benefit consumers.

Yes 4G LTE supported devices

Yes 4G LTE won’t work on a number of devices due to its “non-standard” LTE network. The rest of the world, the 3G operators, are deploying FDD LTE network while Yes 4G is deploying the TDD LTE network standard, similar to the ones used by webe (coming soon) and China Mobile.

Personally, I don’t think consumers really care about technology, or standard, for as long as it delivers the right user experience. However, there won’t be many choices when it comes to mobile devices if the network is not a global standard.

At the moment, the Yes 4G LTE sim card is compatible with certain Samsung, Lenovo and Xiaomi devices. List below:

  1. Yes Altitude
  2. Samsung Note 5
  3. Samsung S7 Edge
  4. Samsung J7 (2016)
  5. Samsung J5 (2016)
  6. Samsung J1 (2016)
  7. Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
  8. Xiaomi Mi5

The list is quite decent, there’s the high end, super expensive Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (RM3099) and there’s also the affordable Yes Altitude Android smartphone (RM399).

The Yes Altitude (M631Y) smartphone appears to be a rebranded OEM smartphone. The M631Y smartphone is made for China Mobile Group Device Co., Ltd., one of the partner of Yes 4G for “technology transfer” in network and device development.

The Yes Altitude comes with dual sim and it supports the 2.6Ghz TDD LTE Yes 4G network. There’s a 1Ghz Qualcomm CPU, 1GB RAM, 8GB Storage with microSD support, micro USB port, 8MP camera and 5″ IPS display. I have a unit myself and I think it is a decent Android phone for its price at RM399.

Unfortunately, Yes 4G LTE will not work on iPhones yet as it doesn’t have a seamless network that is approved by Apple. The iPhone maker is quite strict when it comes to user experience, and it has high expectation when it comes down to network coverage and download speeds. Yes 4G LTE network is just not there yet.

Conclusion

From what I observed over the past few years, nothing has changed in the company.

To me, Yes 4G is too focused on marketing itself while it failed to work on the network and customer service. There’s no point shouting the best network when the Yes 4G Facebook page is flooded with network complaints. Isn’t this embarrassing?

I am quite disappointed to see a number of Yes 4G subscribers complaining about no response from customer service. This is likely due to overload of response since the LTE launch and lack of customer service personal. There’s also the issue of no Internet and sudden disappearance of coverage. In my opinion, I think the company shouldn’t have rushed to launched its LTE network like it did with the WiMAX service.

It is just repeating its mistakes.

yes4g-shop-down-maintenance

The Yes 4G online store appears to be down for a few days now while there were complaints about logging into the Yes 4G portal over the past 2-weeks. The were also complaints of multiple network outages since the LTE launch (I experienced it myself especially at midnight).

yes4g-complaint-fb

The lack of proper mobile coverage is also a problem. The company should have partnered with a mobile operator for roaming, for the sake of its customers. It could also deploy WiFi networks or small cells indoor but I don’t see any initiative.

yes4g-complaint-fb-2

In December 2013, Yes 4G had 700,000 WiMAX subscribers and it was supposed to hit 1 million subscribers by the end of 2014. Today in 2016, it claims to have around 500,000 WiMAX subscribers.

Clearly something went wrong.

While numbers were not met (the telecoms segment generated RM700.2 million in revenue in the past 12 months ended March 31 while posting a pre-tax loss of RM226.14 million), I am surprised that the management of Yes 4G, including CEO Wing K Lee and Deputy CEO, Jacob Yeoh remains in the company.

In conclusion, I don’t see a bright future in Yes 4G unless it get its house in order. Yes 4G is not a market leader, it doesn’t have the best network or the right coverage. I think, if the company continues down the same path, it would probably loose more subscribers.

For now, I am going to say NO to Yes 4G.

Disclaimer: This is an opinion. Internet Everywhere is not responsible for any misleading information above.

One Comment

  1. Share my experience subscribe to YES broadband (account 811552075):
    -subscribed Sept 2012 with 2 years contract (end 14th Oct 2014 – can’t remember exact date)
    -signal just to weak. Look for alternative, subscribed to Unifi Oct 2013
    -continue to pay. Last payment made in Sept 2014 ( almost a year and not using a single bit of data) and call up customer service to cancel my service
    -24thSept 2014, received email from customer service with termination form, no outstanding.
    – submitted termination form as requested on 28thSept (email mentioned, must reach them before 13thOct).
    -r29thOct eceived email respond, mentioned not able to perform termination as my contract end 14thOct2014. Email mentioned I must make another month payment as my payment in sept 2014 was for service until 13th Oct but my contract end 14th Oct2014. One day, also not able to waive. I did make any payment since.
    -I received a SMS yesterday stated my name is blacklisted in CTOS due to the outstanding I did not made.
    So you all out there think twice should you would like to sign up their service.

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