It’s pretty obvious that Malaysians love their smartphones.
In fact, according to DataReportal’s survey, we spend a whopping four and a half hours a day using mobile internet! It’s no surprise then, that there is a high demand for the best deals when it comes to mobile phone plans.
But which postpaid mobile plan really gives you the best deal to fuel your love for your smartphones? There’s a lot of talk and preference individually, but here’s the breakdown of what you need to know when choosing the right mobile plan. To help you out, we compare these features against five popular telcos in Malaysia: Celcom, Digi, Maxis, U Mobile and Yes.
1. Internet data
Always running out of data? Or maybe you have too much unused data at the end of every month? It may be time to review your mobile plan. You could be paying more than you need to by subscribing to a plan that doesn’t suit your needs.
On the other hand, if you have fallen for a plan’s cheap advertised price only to discover that you will end up paying much more, then it’s also important for you to compare what you are getting for each gigabyte of data.
Telcos typically offer two types of mobile plans: one with high-speed internet (but with limited data), or one with unlimited data (but with capped speeds). Here’s a comparison of a few entry or mid-range plans among the telcos.
High-speed internet plans
U Mobile is the only telco that offers both unlimited data and high-speed internet in one plan at a fairly affordable price of RM68 a month.
Alternatively, Yes also offers good value for money, with a whopping 100GB for RM49. It also allows you to use all that data for hotspot, which is not a common feature among other mobile plans.
Unlimited data plans
Among the three telcos that offer unlimited data plans, U Mobile is once again the most cost-effective telco. But it also has the lowest maximum speed of up to 5Mbps. Google Support suggests that this is good enough to watch 1080p HD videos on YouTube. However, U Mobile’s terms and conditions notes that this plan only allows you to stream video at standard definition.
If you want both unlimited data and high-speed internet, you can go for U Mobile’s GX68. But U Mobile’s average download speeds (even when uncapped) can be lower than other operators.
If you want the best unlimited data experience, consider Digi. You’ll have to fork out a pricey RM150, but you’ll get both unlimited internet, no speed caps and unlimited hotspot.
However, do note that ‘unlimited plans’ may not literally offer you unlimited bandwidth. Your plan will come with a Fair Use Policy, which means that you cannot use your available bandwidth in a way that can be interpreted as abuse of your telco’s services. If you’ve been using an extraordinarily large amount of data (eg, consistently using your data to torrent large files), your telco could suspend your service. This data limit will vary according to your telco, and not every telco will reveal what this limit is.
U Mobile offers the best value for money when it comes to getting more data.
2. Download speed
What’s the point of having unlimited data if your download speed is reminiscent of dial-up?
Though your telco may advertise a plan as having “high speed” or “uncapped speed”, your actual speed will depend on factors such as the network infrastructure your telco is operating on, your distance from the cell tower, concrete walls, and how congested your telco’s network is.
OpenSignal, a source on the coverage and performance of mobile operators worldwide, has compared the average download speeds of the following telcos in Malaysia:
OpenSignal found that Digi has the fastest average download speeds nationally. However, the average speeds you may get depends on your region, too. Within Kuala Lumpur, Maxis takes the lead with an average download speed of 18Mbps.
Digi comes out top with the highest national average download speed of 13.3Mbps.
3. Calls & texts
Once upon a time, we used our phones to make calls and to send SMSes. Though these may not be the most used functions today, it’s still important to know how much you are being charged.
It’s pretty common for telcos to offer unlimited calls and texts nowadays, but some still don’t. You should take the time to ask about call charges if this is something you find yourself doing often.
Which plan offers unlimited calls?
|All Celcom postpaid mobile plans
|All Digi postpaid plans
|All Maxis postpaid plans
|All U Mobile P and GX plans
|Kasi Up Postpaid 49
Which plan offers unlimited SMS?
|All Maxis postpaid plans
When it comes to unlimited calls, choices abound. All the mobile operators we compared offer unlimited voice calls to any network. Additionally, Maxis plans also offer unlimited SMSes.
Maxis wins this category, as all their plans have unlimited calls and text. However, Maxis plans are generally pricier. If you need unlimited calls but can do without unlimited texts (a high likelihood, considering the popularity of internet messaging apps), then consider Celcom, Digi or U Mobile instead.
4. Carry forward unused data
What happens if you don’t use up all the data quota? Typically, your unused data will be forfeited and you start on a clean slate the next month.
But why waste what you have already paid for? Find out which telco allows you to bring forward unused Internet to the following month. What this feature does is carry forward a certain amount of unused data to the following month, so technically, your data won’t be wasted.
Which plan offers carry forward of unused data?
|All postpaid plans
5. Supplementary lines
One of the best ways to lower your household mobile phone bills is to get supplementary lines instead of getting individual lines for every family member.
However, to ensure you truly maximise your plan, you will have to do the maths. Consider how much data you and your family need, and then look for the cheapest plan for the amount of data you need.
Here’s a comparison of supplementary lines among all the telcos:
How much do supplementary lines cost?
Yes only offers supplementary lines under its Unlimited Family Plan, which seems to be discontinued from their online store, so we’ve omitted it from this comparison.
Among the telcos that do offer them, Digi and U Mobile offer the cheapest price per supplementary line, starting from RM20. For each supplementary line, you pay 50% of the principal line’s price. They also both offer the option to increase your supplementary lines’ data pool, but you’ll have to fork out for more.
6. Data roaming
Overseas travel is probably not the first thing on your mind right now. But when it’s eventually safe again, you may want to make use of your mobile plan’s data roaming feature. Here’s how this feature stacks up among the various telcos:
How much do you pay for data roaming?
U Mobile doesn’t charge anything when you’re in one of these 12 countries, making it the clear winner in terms of affordability. For countries not listed, U Mobile charges RM10 or RM36 per day for unlimited data, depending on the country.
Alternatively, Digi offers unlimited roaming in over 100 countries starting from RM36.
7. Quality of service
This has always been quite subjective among the mobile users, as some are pretty happy with what’s being offered by telcos, while others express regret and disappointment as they port out of one telco to another.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) revealed that in June, Celcom had 12,056 complaints from customers – the highest among the mobile service providers. Maxis had 8,926 complaints, while Digi had 8,056. For context, in the third quarter of 2020, Maxis had the highest market share of subscribers in Malaysia, followed by Digi, then Celcom. However, the MCMC also noted that the number of complaints were unusually high in June, thanks to the Movement Control Order.
So how do the service offerings of these telcos fare in real-world usage? In OpenSignal’s latest Mobile Experience Awards, U Mobile came up top in three out of seven categories. But OpenSignal notes that it’s also one of the worst performing telco when it comes to 4G coverage experience.
Instead, Celcom comes up ahead when it comes to 4G availability and coverage experience. While Yes wasn’t included in this national comparison, OpenSignal noted that in 12 out of 15 regions analysed, it trumped other telcos when it comes to 4G availability.
And the winner is…
Based on the comparison above, here are the best postpaid plans that deserve your attention, based these usage criteria:
- If you want the best value-for-money plan: U Mobile’s plans trumps other telcos when it comes to value-for-money. For RM40 a month, you can get unlimited data – bump that up to RM68, and you can get uncapped speeds to go with it too. But its quality of service – especially when it comes to 4G coverage and average download speeds – can fall short, depending on where you live. If you live in a more rural area, it may be better to go with another telco instead. You can use the OpenSignal app for determining which telco has the best coverage in your area.
- If you want a plan with good coverage: Go with Celcom if you want the best 4G coverage nationwide. However, its plans start at RM80, which is slightly higher than other telcos.
- If you want a cost-effective family plan: Digi’s supplementary lines are affordable, and you can add up to six lines! This means that a family of seven on the cheapest plan available would only pay RM160 a month (RM40 for the principal line + RM20 x 6 supplementary lines). That’s about RM23 per person.
But as usual, while we’ve suggested a few value-for-money plans above, consider if you have specific usage needs and budget constraints before signing up. If you want better perks from your mobile plan, it’s perfectly alright to spring for more expensive plans if they’re within your budget. On the other hand, if you’re looking to save more money on telco fees, consider these mobile prepaid plans instead.