An Unbiased Review: unifi Home Fibre
Having the internet at home has become more important than ever. This observation before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and that forced millions of people around the world to work – and study – from home, still remains a big concern for many today.
In this review, we examine the most widely available home internet service in Malaysia: unifi from Telekom Malaysia (TM).
While the issue of speed and cost may be compared unfavourably to its competitors in the market, we decided to break down the actual details here for you to judge on its own merits.
|Home Fibre 800||Home Fibre 500||Home Fibre 300||Home Fibre 100||Home Fibre 100 + unifi Plus||Home 30||Home 30 + unifi Plus||Home 30 unlimited data|
|Voice calls||600 minutes free, RM0.10/min to mobile||600 minutes free, RM0.10/min to mobile||600 minutes free, RM0.10/min to mobile||600 minutes free, RM0.10/min to mobile||600 minutes free, RM0.10/min to mobile||RM0.20/min to all lines||RM0.20/min to all lines||RM0.20/min to all lines|
|Add ons||Free unifi Plus box||Free unifi Plus box||Free unifi Plus box||None||Free unifi Plus box||None||Free unifi Plus box||None|
The first thing that people often ask is “how much internet speed do I need”. Most will look at the 100Mbps connection as the bare minimum amount of high-speed internet that they can get away with – especially if they’re not looking to spend a lot of money.
On the other hand, internet service providers often market their faster offerings to gamers and people who consume a lot of digital content. While it’s true that more is better for these people, it excludes a lot of individuals who may also benefit from greater internet speeds.
In general, streaming Netflix and YouTube content doesn’t need an extremely high speed. Netflix itself recommends a 5Mbps connection for streaming shows in HD (720p), while YouTube works at the same resolution on a 4Mbps connection. Even UHD (4K) content only needs a 25Mbps line to be streamed without buffering.
In other words, all of unifi Home Fibre’s offerings are suitable for basic internet use. However, you will want more speed depending on the number of people that are in your house. You might be fine thinking 100Mbps is more than enough for a family of four. Just remember that each of those people is going to have multiple devices – all of which will be taking a slice of your internet bandwidth and reducing the overall speed that everyone is getting.
Difference in upload and download speeds
More importantly, you need to be aware that unifi does not provide symmetrical upload and download speeds. This means that the download speed is much faster than the upload speed.
It doesn’t sound like a big deal; you’ll be consuming more content than you are creating it. However, this affects how fast you can upload your TikToks and Instagram Stories. More importantly, it affects your video conferencing capabilities.
Upload speeds were mainly a concern for content creators and freelancers who had to deal with transferring large files over the internet to clients in the past. However, pandemic induced work from home policies have pushed even the most casual users to rely on transferring potentially large files to coworkers over the internet.
In this aspect, the lower upload speeds offered by unifi may not be suitable for all users.
While unifi Home Fibre is the most widely available high-speed broadband, it does not cater to everyone. unifi has a set number of available ports in each neighbourhood, and you may not be able to obtain a connection if they are all full. It is not a common issue, but it has been known to appear every now and then.
However, in comparison, it is much easier to obtain unifi than broadband from other providers. TIME Home Fibre is limited to a small number of high rise developments, while Maxis currently only caters to the greater KL area.
TM has not yet fully deployed it’s fibre optic network to all of Malaysia, and it will still be many years before this can be completed. One thing to note in this is regard is that TM provides the backbone infrastructure for all home fibre in Malaysia. This infrastructure is necessary for all internet providers in the country to operate (even unifi competitors).
In other words, if unifi Home Fibre is not available, then you are also unlikely to be covered by other home fibre providers (this does not apply to home broadband providers that use wireless technologies like 4G networks).
unifi monthly fees are not the lowest on the market at the moment. Both TIME and Maxis offer comparative speeds for much lower prices. For instance, TIME Fibre has a 100Mbps package for only RM99 per month, while Maxis offers a 300Mbps package for RM149 per month.
Additionally, unifi also has the highest cancellation fees – requiring those on contracts to finish paying off the remaining months as part of the cancellation process. While this can be waived by moving to a location where unifi Home Fibre is not available, it is something to consider when signing up.
However, it is also possible to relocate your unifi subscription (without cancelling) to a new house in the event that you need to move. More information about cancellations and relocating can be found in the unifi FAQ.
Almost every unifi subscription is bundled with access to unifi TV, a content streaming service similar to what Astro provides. In most cases, you will be able to access it with the unifi TV app or through your web browser. It is also available through the unifi Plus box attached to your TV (not all subscriptions include the box).
You are able to get all local terrestrial television channels like TV1, TV2, TV3, and 8TV – as well as a selection of international channels like National Geographic People, Euronews, Aljazeera News, and Fox Sports.
There is also a substantial range of content for Tamil and Chinese speaking audiences. These are likely to be the best reasons to turn on unifi TV in the first place. It should be noted that many of these channels still stream in standard definition resolution (480p) – which may look very blurry on larger screens.
What we like
- Wide coverage area – in many cases, unifi Home is your only option for high-speed broadband.
- unifi TV – this is great if you want more local content on TV.
What to think about
- Higher monthly fees – unifi Home is the most expensive home broadband provider.
- Low upload speeds – this could affect performance if you need to send large files very often.
- unifi TV – this may be unnecessary if you already subscribe to Astro, Netflix, or other streaming services.
What if you’re getting slower than promised speeds?
One of the main complaints from unifi customers is that they are not receiving the internet speeds that they are promised.
There are many reasons that this could be the case. For example, there may simply be too many people using the same service in the same house and the connection cannot keep up. In this case, you may need to upgrade your unifi plan to compensate.
Limitations with technology also play into this. No internet provider will be able to provide 100% of the promised speed all the time. On average, it is normal to see download speeds that are 10% slower than advertised. On the other hand, if you are getting less than this then there may be a problem somewhere.
If that’s the case, we have a list of potential solutions to your problems that may help alleviate some of your home internet woes.