U Mobile is here!

Posted: 23rd March 2008 by Jacky Yong in Computers, Current Affairs

YAY!!! Another 3-G provider that is joining the wireless broadband foray! Rejoice, rejoice! You may be wondering, “Why should I be rejoicing? Does it concern me?” You should. Any sort of rivalry among the last mile broadband providers is a good thing for the consumers.

In case you have been staying under the well for the pass few weeks, you must have missed the news. MiTV (which is now known is U Television Sdn Bhd) has just launched its latest product, the U Mobile. For those who did not know, MiTV was a new player in the field which wanted to offer cheaper subscription television as an alternative to the megalomaniac company Astro. Whatever happened to that service, I do not know. However this latest offering by MiTV sounds like it is going to make it big this time. Why do I say that? Let’s look at what it has to offer that the others do not.

The cheapest rate, PERIOD! Need I say more? At only RM78 per month, and at least 1.8 Mbps, this beats the hell out of Streamyx (which is not even wireless), MAXIS broadband and Celcom.

Maxis is expensive as hell, slow as shit, and only offers HSDPA in selected places. I know, because I have tried it before, and returned it as soon as I have tested the speed. In my area (Equine Park) I can only go up to 384 kbps. I can live with the slower download speed if the cost is cheaper. (Hey, although Streamyx advertised 512 kbps for my current package, I only get about 384 kbps download speed anyway!) For that speed, Maxis charges RM68 per month. Not bad, considering that I will not have to pay the freaking phone line fee anymore if I choose Maxis. But the one thing that triggered me to return the Maxis broadband modem to them is the s-l-o-w uploading speed. At just 64 kbps, this is totally unacceptable compared to the current 256 kbps that I am getting for my Streamyx. So it’s back to TM Nut it seems.

Until now. U Mobile’s offering seems to shine a light at the end of the tunnel. RM78 per month for a maximum of 3.6 Mbps! Sounds too good to be true? You betcha. I wasted to time to call them up to find out two things that has been bothering me. Whether or not my area is covered (although they mentioned Seri Kembangan in their website, it can be deceptive. Seri Kembangan can also be the area near Mines, which is more than 10 km away!) Another thing is whether or not it supports Linux. The website specified Windows and Mac machines only. Their wireless modem is connected via USB, not the common LAN port.

My worse fear came true after I called their customer support. Yes, Seri Kembangan is covered, but the nearest area is Seri Serdang, near UPM, which is 10 km away. I can still get signal if I stay within 4 km. Another thing is of course the Operating System that is allowed. No Linux. Damn it! Why are we Linuxians always being sidelined? I hate it when this happens!

Another thing that you might be interested to know is the 5 GByte per month cap that they impose on its users. Streamyx does not have this cap (at least, not that I know of anyway). This is to discourage people from hogging the network and to be fair to other users. (Read: anti-bittorrent lar) I personally do not go more than that, although I do bit torrent once in a while. That might concern you if you have your PC on 24 x 7, constantly downloading or uploading something.

For you who uses Windows XP or Mac staying in PJ or KL area, this is the package for you! Go for it! Celcom and Maxis must now be shuddering in their pants with this latest development. Let us hope that this will continue so as to benefit us, the end users.