Occasionally, I always get questions like which Telco is the best, what is the cheapest prepaid/postpaid plan, which Telco has the best mobile coverage, etc.
When I get questions like these, I always ask them back, what are they looking for: Best Coverage? Fastest Speed? Best Customer Service? Cheapest Prepaid/Postpaid plan?
The truth is, choosing a mobile operator really depends on your specific needs as none of the Telcos are perfect.
One Telco may have poor coverage but offers faster Internet speed, or the other may have very good coverage but does not offer the fastest Internet speed. Expensive plan does not necessarily give you the best experience.
In summary, these are my personal views and observation on each Telcos (as of today):
Overall Best 3G Network in the country – Coverage and Speeds
- Celcom and Maxis (Both offers decent coverage and acceptable speeds in general. Use both sims if you want the best coverage)
- Digi (may have 3G coverage in some part of the country where Maxis and Celcom don’t. Speed is not the fastest but consistent.)
- U Mobile (they are still building their network. U Mobile has their own network in Klang Valley, Penang, Johor which delivers good speeds but poor experience at other areas especially while roaming on Maxis network.)
Best 3G Network in Klang Valley – Coverage and Speeds
- U Mobile (less users compared to other Telcos resulting in faster speeds, 5Mbps-20Mbps, need to improve indoor coverage though)
- Maxis ( as many users have ported out from Maxis, speeds have improved over the past few months. Maxis generally have better indoor coverage compared to other Telcos)
- Celcom ( I would have rated Celcom No.2 here but since it’s recent network modersation plan, Internet speeds have been unstable over the past one two months, average 3Mbps to 20Mbps).
- Digi (It has a decent 3G coverage but also a lot of users. Digi offers consistent internet speeds but not the fastest, 500Kbps-5Mbps). It is the most congested network right now).
- webe (a new player but they already covered a large part of the Klang Valley. Only downside is no indoor coverage and slower internet speed, 1Mbps to 5Mbps)
Best 4G LTE Network in the country – Coverage and Speeds
- Maxis (Most of the base stations are fiberised, offers faster and stable Internet speed up to 100Mbps. Plus Maxis was 1st to launch LTE in Malaysia, they have the best coverage)
- Digi (Decent 4G LTE coverage but don’t expect high speed Internet. They offer consistent Internet speeds. Personally, I get 2Mbps to 10Mbps depending on location)
- Celcom (they have been slow in expanding their LTE coverage. The network modersation plan is on going, so you might get different experience at different areas, inconsistent. But when it works fine, with the right smartphone, download speed goes as high as 100Mbps)
- U Mobile (doesn’t have the fastest 4G LTE network due to limited frequencies they have, but this will change later this year. Speed is stable and consistent due to less users, up to 50Mbps. Coverage is decent only in Klang Valley, very limited indoor coverage)
Best Postpaid Plans – Value for Money with Good General Experience
- Celcom First Gold Plus at RM98/month. Total 40GB Internet and Unlimited Calls
- U Mobile P98 at RM98/month. Unlimited Calls and 30GB Internet.
- Digi Postpaid 80 at RM80/month. Unlimited Calls and total 30GB Internet (Digi Infinite 80 would have made No.1 in this list but they discontinued it)
- webe Mobile at RM79/month. All Unlimited for Calls, SMS and Internet on smartphone. Expensive to tether or they would have made it top of this list)
- MaxisOne Plan 98 is expensive at RM98/month with 10GB data plus 10GB LTE weekend Internet. Unlimited Calls and SMS though.)
(Note: Current average spending (ARPU) on postpaid plans in Malaysia is around RM80-RM100 a month)
Best Prepaid Plans – Value for Money with Good General Experience
- Digi InternetPlus: The add on plan for Prepaid LiVE and Prepaid Best 2016, InternetPlus at RM38/month comes with 4GB Internet, Unlimited Calls to all network (capped at 1000 minutes), Unlimited Facebook & Twitter. Looks like a limited time offer.
- Xpax #NoKelentong: Comes with 10GB Basic Internet and 10GB Facebook. RM30 for 5GB Internet. Expensive calls and SMS rates though.
- U Mobile Unlimited Power Prepaid: Unlimited Facebook, Twitter and Instagram usage. 1GB basic Internet. UMI 30 at RM30 for 7.5GB Internet. Higher call rate at 24sen/min from 10sen/min in the past. SMS at 12sen (used to be 8sen).
- Hotlink Fast is an outdated plan, launched in January 2016. 3GB at RM38 makes it the most expensive prepaid plan.
(Note: Current ARPU for prepaid is RM30-RM40)
Best Telco-Customer Service Experience
- Maxis (Best walk in experience at its service centre like the one at KLCC, TTDI and Pavillion. For call based customer service, they are generally OK. Very responsive on Facebook)
- Digi (Service Centre is Ok but sometimes it is packed with people and lack of personal. Generally Digi wants you to self service like get a number or use the self service kiosk. If you are calling the customer service, the experience varies but generally it is Ok depending on the CS representative. Very responsive on Facebook.)
- Celcom (Service Centre are generally OK but they close at 5pm on weekdays. Blue Cube is more focused at doing sales rather than customer service. The Blue Cubes operated by Celcom, like the one at Sunway Pyramid are Ok. Those operated by 3rd party like the one at KLCC may give you a bad experience. Their call centre is operated by VADS, call experience may vary. Not so responsive on Facebook)
- U Mobile (Customer service is something U Mobile has got to give more focus. Call Centre representatives are poorly trained and sometime takes a long time to answer calls. U Mobile service at Berjaya Times Square is packed most the time. They need more service centres. Responsive on Facebook)
I hope the information above helps you make a better decision on choosing the right Telco. For the best coverage and Internet speed, it would really depend on your location and experience may vary by Telco.
If you are confused or still undecided, why not just try out each of the Telco while retaining your current mobile number. If you don’t have any contract, just walk in to the Telco service centre of your choice to port in (Mobile Number Potability). You can switch to a different Telco every month until you are satisfied with the service.
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