So perhaps you’re currently in the market for a new smartphone, or you might have already decided on one but can’t seem to pinpoint which mobile network provider might be best for you. What do you do? Why, you come to Leaping Post for some solid advice, of course. Choosing a mobile network provider can be challenging, but we’re here to make that choice a little bit easier for you. Here is everything you should consider when choosing a wireless carrier in Malaysia.
Comparing Mobile Networks
Here we’ve outlined six key parts to consider for mobile network carriers in Malaysia to help you choose the best service. We’ve focused on the four major mobile service providers in Malyasia:
- U Mobile
1. Plan Style
One of the first things you need to decide is if you want a prepaid plan or postpaid plan. Prepaid means you pay for your credit upfront, then once you use that, you pay to buy more credit to use. For postpaid, you commit to a contract plan, which provides you a certain amount of mobile service, which you pay for at the end of each month. All of the major networks offer both postpaid and prepaid options. Maxis offers its prepaid service via Hotlink.
Our Insight: Since the four major networks offer both prepaid and postpaid options, this isn’t an important factor for deciding which network to go for. However, the pricing and add-ons vary by network. We discuss the pricing later on in the article.
Coverage is a crucial component for trying to select a mobile plan. This element is really important for every mobile user in Malaysia, no matter if you’re a city dweller or a kampung kid. Without adequate wireless coverage, your pricey mobile plan will be rendered useless.
Of course, all network providers will lay claim to having the best coverage in Malaysia. This can’t possibly be true; there are definitely differences between providers. Luckily for us, there are resources available to help us determine which ones stand out from the rest of the pack.
Opensignal is a website dedicated to mapping wireless coverage worldwide, based on data submitted by users like yourself. You can easily download an Android or iPhone app if you want to contribute! Using Opensignal, it wasn’t hard to determine which Malaysian carriers offer superior wireless coverage. Here are links to four notables ones:
With assistance from Opensignal’s basic statistics – average network speed, coverage maps, and reliability – it seems that Digi now ranks first, followed by Celcom, in terms of providing customers with the best 3G wireless coverage in Malaysia. Maxis and U-mobile also offer over 90% coverage, with maxis bringing up the rear. Digi and Celcom also provide great 4G coverage, closely followed by Maxis and U-Mobile.
Statistics aside, remember that you shouldn’t focus on the numbers alone. You’ll need to ensure that your wireless carrier will provide you with strong reception in the locations that you frequent. After determining network coverage, the next step is to conduct an old-fashioned comparison.
Our Picks: If you want a mobile network with the best wireless coverage in Malaysia, we’d first recommend Digi and then Celcom. View this interactive map showing the coverage of each wireless carrier in Malaysia.
3. Data Services
As you probably know, the data service that a network provides is pretty key for smartphone users. This can vary widely, depending on if you want pre-paid, post-paid, and other factors. Here, we’ve decided tocompare plans that offer at 10GB of internet data per month – the Celcom plan offers 5GB plus 5GB on weekends with 1.25GB released each weekend of the month. Here is a chart to show you the plan breakdowns:
|Internet||Calls||Cost per month (RM)|
|Digi||10GB||Unlimited to all networks||80|
|Celcom||5+5GB||Unlimited to all networks||80|
|Maxis||10GB||Unlimited to all networks||128|
|U-Mobile||10GB||Unlimited to all networks||70|
The plans compared here are just one of many, though. Most of these networks offer a variety of plans with varying amounts of internet as well as different rates for calls and SMS. U-Mobile and Maxis also offer member lines in the same packages. For example, the Maxis plan above offers two share lines with 5GB of data per line for an additional RM48 per line, per month. The data in the whole plan. however, can be pooled together which means with two lines, this plan’s data will increase to a total of 20GB from the original 10GB.
Also, each network provider will have their own smartphone plans where you can buy a smartphone from them under a contract, so you pay a set monthly amount for the mobile network and the phone. These plans are quite normal now, so if you’re thinking of getting the iPhone 7 but don’t want to fork out upwards of RM3,000 all at once, these types of plans will suit you well. Both Maxis and Celcom have been offering smartphone plans for a while now so in terms of experience and variety of option, these would be your best bets.
Our Picks: Toss-up, depends on your data preferences.
4. Network Speed and Quality
Now, what is the point in having a massive data quota if you can’t actually use it? Well, be sure to avoid this by choosing a network that works well. Using Opensignal again, we began to look at the differences in network speed and quality amongst the major wireless carriers.
|3G reliability (%)||4G reliability (%)|
We can definitely use this as a rough guide towards understanding network quality and speed on our local wireless carriers, but keep in mind that the data on Opensignal is collected from a self-selecting group of users. From this information, however, it’s pretty clear who comes out on top in both categories.
Our Pick: If your after the fastest reliable 4G data service, go with Celcom or Digi. Also take a look at U Mobile for affordable 3G plans.
5. Prices, Prices, Prices
Don’t commit to something that you cannot afford, especially if you’re signing for a 12- or 24-month smartphone contract! Figure out your budget, and do all the necessary research before committing yourself to a cellular plan.
Follow these links below to view the post-paid plans offered by the four wireless carriers we’ve already mentioned in this article:
- Celcom – Celcom has five cellular plans; Blue, Blue Internet, Gold, Gold Internet, and Platinum. Blue and Blue Internet have relatively small internet quota, so the latter three plans are better if you’re a heavy internet user. The internet quota does come with some specific terms, so be sure to read the fine print before making a decision. Their smartphone contract plans differ according to the phone.
- Maxis – The MaxisONE plans are tailored for internet usage and the data pool option is definitely intreiguing, but they are more expensive compared to other networks. Their smartphone contract plans differ depending on the handset.
- DiGi – Post-paid cellular plans from DiGi are the most straightforward. You choose the amount of data you want and you also get unlimited calls and SMS to all networks. Digi also offers the option to rollover unused internet quota to the next month. Their prices are fair.
- U Mobile – They have four types of post-paid plans, all of which include data and streaming data for Video-Onz, a video service that allows you to stream videos from Youtube, Facebook, Netflix, and more.
6. Customer Service
Customer service is very important when you start having troubles with phones. We haven’t been able to source reliable or quantifiable information about this. However, here are some suggestions to help you gather customer service feedback of mobile service providers in Malaysia.
- Social Media: Check out the broadband’s social media accounts o see what people have been saying and also post your own questions or comments. Does it look like the company is helping its customers or ignore them? Does there seems to be excessive frustration expressed from customers?
- LowYat Forum: LowYat is an active forum in Malaysia and can be a great place to find existing threads about mobile service providers in Malaysia. Alternatively, you can start a new discussion by creating your own thread.
- Ask Around: One great way to get information about mobile network service providers is to ask people in your network. Ask your colleagues, friends, or family in Malaysia. What has been their experiences? This simple exercise can offer some great insight.
Other Malaysian mobile carrier alternatives
While the four wireless carriers mentioned above are probably the most popular choices in Malaysia, there are other carriers that utilize the technological capabilities of these four primary carriers. They generally offer their services at a somewhat cheaper rate; but the downside is that they only offer prepaid plans. In any case, here is a shortlist we’ve compiled:
In short, when choosing a wireless carrier, it’s mostly about your usage, coverage, services and features, and budget. There are a lot of factors to puzzle over, but hopefully reading this article has at least given you a framework to make the right decision. Leave a comment below if you think we’ve missed anything out.
Which do you think is the best mobile network carrier in Malaysia? Post in the comments below.