On FUPs and mobile Internet charges in the Philippines

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These days, we’ve got high-speed Internet, and we live in the age of streaming HD video. Spotify is a hit, digital downloads (from ebooks to movies to console games) are all the rage, and let’s not get started on BitTorrent. Yet, it seems like telcos in the Philippines, for all their effort trying to look like they’re able to provide even a shred of cutting-edge mobile connectivity, just can’t seem to keep in step.

TL;DR – Philippine telcos charge subscribers A LOT for so little bandwidth at comparatively slower speeds, when you stack them up against what people in other countries enjoy as far as mobile connectivity goes.

In this sense, the Philippines is as third-world as you can imagine, despite how soon we’re getting the latest iPhone or how fast one telco is able to roll out the next generation of mobile telecommunications technology. With antiquated concepts embedded in things like a ‘fair use policy’, it’s obvious that telcos just can’t keep in step with the latest developments.

Don’t get me wrong; having an FUP doesn’t mean a telco sucks automatically. It’s the conditions stipulated within said FUP that matters, and which I believe are indicative of the sad state of the Philippine telecommunications industry.

For example, a 3-minute YouTube clip at full HD resolution could easily take up several tens of MBs in bandwidth. What if you’ve got a subscription to a digital content service like Netflix? What if you download movies through the Google Play store? I won’t even mention the elephant in the room, which we’ll call by the nickname ‘BT’ (incidentally, I believe this one falls under FUP violations).

Telcos take pride in putting power in the hands of consumers. They make it fairly easy for people to avail the latest flagship phones with all the bells and whistles. But why can’t they give you the best experience? It’s because their policies shackle what you can do with your brand-spakin’-new gadget.

I recently got into an exchange with a telco’s Twitter rep (one among an army of Twitter accounts, I reckon) though I was only responding to my friend, who was the one actually complaining about the FUP. I said I’ve given up on complaining about telcos and their exorbitant Internet rates and policies. The Twitter rep asked if I know about the telco’s FUP.

Dude.

I didn’t even bother to reply. It would only be a waste of a Tweet. I clutter Twitter enough already, and wasting several more characters in an inane conversation that won’t get me anywhere just isn’t worth the trouble. Not like these Twitter guys can influence decision-making by higher-ups. Not like these Twitter guys can do more than echo spiels handed out to them. I’m not blaming them, but let’s get real. These are CSRs armed with Twitter accounts instead of headsets.

The change needs to come from the telcos and their decision-makers. Do they just want to keep getting richer while suffocating their consumers, or do they really want to make good on their promises and provide subscribers with the best service possible?

Unfortunately, I think we all know the answer to that question.

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One thought on “On FUPs and mobile Internet charges in the Philippines

  1. The existence of FUP is one thing. The enforcement of it is another. I subscribed to Smart’s UnliSurf which has no 800MB daily cap/FUP compared to that of Globe’s Supersurf. After a number of 1080p video streaming, I noticed my connection go down from 5Mbps to below 1Mbps. Then when I disconnected and reconnected after a few hours, I wasn’t able to connect until I complained multiple times to their hotline. Their lack of transparency sucks.

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