A night spent wardriving

Damansara Utama

Okay, maybe wardriving is the wrong definition, but it did bring back memories of doing exactly this back in the early 2000’s when WiFi hotspots were hard to come by. You’ll be surprised at just how many unsecured WiFi Aps there were back then. Back to the point, I have armed myself with an iPhone 6 with a U Mobile SIM card and the Open Signal app to see how the network performs.

iPhone6

I was quite surprised when I started up the new iPhone 6 and saw the coverage was just limited to 3G at my home.

3G

(I later found out that this was untrue)

Umobile

Not to be deterred, I started my adventure by going to Damansara Utama and was puzzled to see it was *still* in 3G in an area I know has 4G coverage.

U Mobile 3G

A quick check with Open Signal showed that the download speed was 9 Mbps. That’s more than most HSPA+ speeds and it’s the fastest of ALL 4 major telcos! I was flummoxed for a very long time until I got this message:

LTE Active

Mystery solved! It turns out that it takes a couple of hours before 4G LTE is enabled when you first use the SIM card.

TTDI

I went to TTDI to check the entertainment outlets near boatHouse and found out that the Taman Tun Dr Ismail area is covered by 4G as well with a very commendable 12.92 Mbps upload.

U Mobile Speed Test

I swung back and went to Mutiara Damansara and monitored the coverage map along the way.

Mutiara Damansara

Yes, there are gaps in 4G LTE coverage, with 3G only areas in between, but for the most part, the densely populated and built up areas are all 4G.

U Mobile LTE TTDI

The Sunway Giza area in Kota Damansara is also covered by U Mobile’s 4G coverage so I thought it was strange that my place (which is just opposite the mall) is not.

U Mobile LTE Kota Damansara

It turns out that my home is also covered by 4G – not that I’ll need it much as I have WiFi at home. My primary Internet connection is quite fast as Open Signal shows:

Home Fiber Speed

This sounds right according to the U Mobile #datastrongnetwork media briefing I went to.

Umobile Data Strong Network

U Mobile has completed the first phase of their 4G LTE network ahead of schedule with 1,000 new 4G sites. The coverage is not just limited to Klang Valley, but also Putrajaya, Seremban, Port Dickson and Johor Bahru. I’ve heard the top brass there share their philosophy on the 4G rollouts and it’s quite solid.

Umobile Event

They plan to implement 5,000 new 4G LTE sites over the next 5 years, with a concentration on urban areas. I thought that was a good plan as people would want to have high speeds at places where they’re most often at during work and play and that means high density coverage in high density areas.

U Mobile 4G LTE Speeds

I’ve also been loaned an iPhone 6 with a U Mobile prepaid SIM card to test it out for myself and the results of the tests are very promising. The areas I’ve driven too has faster Internet speeds than most people have at home (discounting myself, I’m on a very expensive high speed fiber line). I see areas around me having up to 17.60 Mbps speeds (!!!) and that’s A LOT faster than 90% (maybe even 99%) of most home broadband solutions.

iPhone Hotspot

It even rivals my 30 Mbps home fiber line!

Personal Hotspot

I even tried using it as a Personal Hotspot in Mutiara Damansara (coz at the time I didn’t know my home had 4G LTE) and it loaded everything on my notebook fine. It’s perfect for data-on-the-go – U Mobile has truly solved their teething problems and become the only data-centric telco in Malaysia.

U Mobile 4G

It was quite an enlightening experience. I learned that there are lots of places with 4G LTE coverage around me. I know the U Mobile 4G coverage is good in KL but it was nice to find out that the 4G areas extend to the outskirts of Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam.

U Mobile 3G 4G Coverage

I verified it for myself during the late night real world testing – the data was fast and reliable with low latency.

Personal thoughts:

When I started out, I didn’t expect much from the U Mobile network. I have heard some negative things about it (these were all a couple of years ago) so I took it with a grain of salt when they said all the overload issues in the past has been resolved. I am pleased to report that this is actually true – the U Mobile 4G LTE is extremely fast and consistently comes in as the top performer of all four major telcos (as shown in Open Signal).

I have since used it for close to a month and have been very happy with my experience with the U Mobile data network. I tend to use a lot of data from gaming (play a lot of Hearthstone) so I want a fast and reliable data service when I’m not on my premium connection at home. To be honest I thought I didn’t need a fast and reliable network when I’m out and about but it turns out that expectation (or lack thereof) is a learned behavior.

Ever since I’ve been on the 4G LTE network of U Mobile, I have raised my standards and expect my data to be fast even when I’m out. I want the smooth YouTube streaming I’ve been getting for the past month, the seamless loading of Facebook, the fast Instagram refreshes and all that. I’ve learned not to expect it with my previous telco but now that I’ve been exposed to real speed, I am expecting it now and that’s why I’m using U Mobile as my primary line.

Lok Lok

I also found out that lok lok trucks are still around at 3 am in the morning. I was hungry after all that driving and ran up a RM 16 bill here. Seriously though, it was a good strategy for U Mobile to loan the phones and SIM cards for testing, personally I’m impressed with the network and will switch over to the Hero P70 package to save myself from the current prices I’m paying with another telco.

U Mobile new iPhone 6s / iPhone 6s Plus plans allows everyone to own one with zero-deposit no-credit-card installments!

iPhone 6s Plus

U Mobile is one of the launch partners of the iPhone 6s and they’re offering a great deal with their all-new Flexi U MicroCredit. You can own a brand new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus with no deposit, no collateral and no credit card required! You just need to pay for the device over time. This applies for both postpaid and prepaid plans.

I’ve gone through this plan and it’s very innovative – they’re the first to allows anyone, and I literally mean everyone, to own an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus. This level of affordability based on your means opens up possibilities for students and young adults who don’t own a credit card as well as working adults who wants some flexibility in payment terms.

U MicroCredit

The best thing about the U Mobile Flexi U MicroCredit is the ability to choose the financing amount (RM 1,000 to RM 3,500) and repayment tenure (12 months – 36 months). That means you’re the one who selects the amount of financing you need and the number of months you want to repay the installment.

The affordable monthly installment starts from just RM 48. You can even elect to pay in cash if you don’t have a credit card.

There’s also a Full Financing option for the people who wants a complete loan.

Here’s an example of how it works:

U MicroCredit Plan

The prices are all inclusive of GST and the above calculation is based on a fixed interest rate of 1.2% for Flexi U Mobile MicroCredit and an interest rate of 0.84% for full financing.

iPhone 6s Plus Plans

The plans come with increased data allowance from i60 upwards with unlimited calls if you go for the i90 plans and above. They also have a clause called Contract Freedom which allows you to terminate your contract with zero penalty fee for postpaid subscribers!

Of course, you’ll need to pay back the subsidy for the remaining number of months left in your contract but it’s still a pretty sweet deal if you decide you want to change your mind.

There’s an upfront payment for prepaid subscribers but postpaid users who pay via credit card and subscribe to auto debit for their monthly commitment will have the upfront payment credited back to them over 24 months.

U Mobile Trade In

U Mobile also has a trade-in offer where you can give up your old smartphone in return for rebates up to RM 1,900!

iPhone 6s

You can apply for MicroCredit here (or walk into any U Mobile branch) and collect your iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus from a U Mobile branch or dealer. Get more details on their iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s plans and Trade-In Offer and own your dream device now!

7 reasons my smartphone plan is awesome

1. 7 GB monthly data

Bali

This is the highest data package I’ve seen out there. I use up a lot of data every month, especially since cloud computing (Google Drive, Dropbox etc) makes it easy to upload everything when you’re out. I also went for two trips this month (Taiwan and Bali) so the high data quota has been great for me since my lifestyle demands a high data package and this is the crème de la crème of high volume requirements.

2. No misleading advertising

I’ve seen all sorts of shenanigans by telcos with regards to data. Some advertise a high amount but in actual fact it’s a combination of WiFi + 4G LTE (not just mobile broadband e.g. 4G LTE) which is frankly false deceptive misleading. There are also “unlimited” plans out there – they just don’t bother telling you the network is so bad that you can barely load Wikipedia, much less something more graphics intensive.

3. Unlimited calls

Using Smartphone

Yup, I no longer have to choose between high voice or high data. I can have BOTH!!! This package allows me to make voice calls to ALL networks for as long as I want. Its true unlimited calls, which is a good thing as everyone is on a different telco nowadays. It’s no longer dominated by one or two and what’s the appeal of free calls within your network when you can have free calls across *all* networks for a low price?

4. Share Internet with your tablet

I know a lot of people who own multiple devices – I’m one of them. In the past, telcos would upsell you on another “data only” SIM card where you’ll have to basically pay for another SIM card with its own data package which you might not finish and can’t transfer. Those days are over. You can share data and get up to two SIM cards with your main line for just RM 10/month so your 3G/4G tablet can have its own number – allowing you to make calls and send text messages while sharing the 7 GB pool of data in the main line.

5. No unnecessary stuff

Monkey Business

I’ll be honest and put this out there – when was the last time you sent an SMS? With Whatsapp, WeChat, LINE and other mobile messaging apps, gone are the days when we require text messaging packages. It looks good for marketing when they can offer you 3,000 FREE SMS (just imagine the copy – 3,000 THREE THOUSAND FREE SMS!!!!!!1111111oneexclaimationmark) but who uses that stuff nowadays? I only get marketing/spam and credit card/bank notification SMSs now. I receive but I don’t send. Just pay for what you need, in the off-chance you time travelled 15 years back and needed to text someone (with SMS) and use Whatsapp like a normal person.

6. Free Internet roaming

I travel quite a lot. I’ve been to two different countries in this month alone so I quit the RM 38/day (or more) data roaming charges habit and jumped on the free Internet roaming bandwagon. Well, there isn’t a bandwagon per se coz this is the first telco in Malaysia to offer this AFAIK. The 50 MB/day I get while roaming is perfect – just the right amount for all the Hearthstone games, Instagram photos, and Facebook vacation albums I play/post/upload when I’m overseas.

Free Internet Roaming

7. Just RM 70 per month

This is the real kicker. You thought I was paying out of my nose for this kind of data, calls and roaming privileges right? Nope, I just pay RM 70 per month, which is just RM 2 more than what my tablet alone used last time (and I can use Internet sharing for mine now so I don’t need another package for my iPad).

What Kind Of Sorcery

What kind of sorcery is this? What am I using and where can you get it, you say? U Mobile mate, I’m using the Hero Postpaid P70.

The Best Free Meal or Drink!

7eleven clerk

The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil matches are going on right now, with up to four (4) matches each night, usually at 12 am, 3 am and 6 am. This sudden change in sleep routines can make a person very hungry, and it’s hard to get something to eat at this hour, especially if all you want is a snack and a drink.

free items umobile

I’m here to tell you that there’s a solution to that problem…and there is such a thing as a free lunch, or a free meal anyway. Umobile is offering a free Revive Isotonic Original 500 ml drink with every RM 30 top up and one Mamee Express Cup Curry Flavour + Revive Isotonic Original 500 ml with a RM 50 top up!

umobile redeem free

I had an RM 50 top up that I just got and I drove to the local 7-Eleven during half time to grab a quick snack and drink. This is a fairly new promo so the night shift there wasn’t really sure about how to go about the redemption.

umobile 7eleven

Here’s how the redemption works:

  1. Get the items and bring it to the counter.
  2. Scan the items
  3. Pass your Umobile top up card over to the cashier
  4. They will scan it and it will offset the charges, making the items FREE

umobile 50

That’s all there is to it! :)

7eleven umobile

It’s a good thing my local 7-Eleven has complimentary hot water so you can cook the Mamee Express Cup on the premises and eat at the provided tables.

hot water

However, I was watching the Japan – Columbia match at home so I decided to quickly grab the instant noodles and isotonic drink and head on home.

7eleven tables

It’s soooo good to eat Mamee Express Cup instant noodles (which has a plastic fork included) and chase that down with a Revive isotonic drink in the middle of the night. All you need to do is to get a RM 30 or RM 50 Umobile top up and you can redeem the items at any 7-Eleven nationwide!

thebestfree

You can also top up your phone so you can chat about the matches with your friends – just keep the Umobile top up card so the barcode can be scanned to provide you with #TheBestFree snacks! It’s so convenient to redeem too, since there’s a 7-Eleven around every corner! This promo lasts till 31st August 2014 – surf over to the Umobile site for more information.

redeem mamee

I’m sitting here happily eating my Mamee Express Cup Curry Flavour noodles while watching Japan get trashed by Columbia, all thanks to the good people at Umobile. I can have a free snack *while* I get a top up which I need anyway.

mamee noodles

The only bad thing in this equation (for Japan fans anyway) is what the friendly neighborhood 7-Eleven guy put best: “Alamak, Colombia masuk satu goal lagi!

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