On FUPs and mobile Internet charges in the Philippines

Sony-Xperia-Z2

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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Transitions (a.k.a. Obligatory First Post, a.k.a Obligatory New Year Post)

happynewyear_2013

Cheetos and Coke—the perfect combo to waste away a fine non-working holiday.

This should probably be the last time I do this. After all, I promised to run again and get back to much-neglected physical fitness activities. It’s not exactly a new year’s resolution, since I’ve been saying that for God-knows-how-long, but yeah—2013 is going to be a better year.

Not that 2012 was bad; I learned a lot of things, I’m still alive, I have my family, I’ve got my friends, and I’m still with my girl (5 years and counting). The past 365 or so days have been all about transition for me, though.

For starters, I worked for a bunch of different companies throughout the course of the year. I left what was my first job after 3 years and 8 months, then lasted several days in what passed for my attempt at an ad-agency career. I freelanced a bit for a few months after that before signing with another BPO’s marketing department, before leaving for a new job just this December.

In 2012, I learned a lot and made what I thought were some of the more adult decisions I’ve made my entire life in the process, and I learned where my priorities really lie. There’s really no room for excuses; you just get up and move forward.

With 2013 upon us, I’m looking forward to more permanence in my life. I’m cooking something up, something major for me. It might not be realized next year, or even the year after that. Rest assured, however, that I’ll be working hard to make great things happen. That’s not exactly a resolution, either—I think, bottom line, we all want what’s best for us.

Time for me to finish the last third of this bag of Cheetos. Maybe I’ll watch a movie or draw again after posting this. Anyway, I sure hope 2013 is going to be awesome for all of us.

Eat a lot, love a lot, and be happy—it’s the f***ing new year!

 

P.S. Pardon the image. It’s been weeks since I last touched my pen-tab. By the way, that’s supposed to be Lucky Me pancit canton, of which I expect to eat a lot later when the clock strikes midnight.