Choosing the right Internet Service Provider (ISP) can be a daunting task if you are not sure what is available in the market. Some of you might be used to having fast internet connection from where you come from. The average internet speed in Malaysia ranges from 1Mbps to 8Mbps. Your choice of finding the right one can make a vast difference; either to your enjoyment or your frustration.
So, what are the things to consider when choosing the right ISP?
Cost and Contract:
Usually, the first comparison would be cost vs speed when deciding for the best deal. However, this shouldn’t be the only factor when doing the comparison. You should consider looking at the overall package and see what else does it comes with. Does it come with a free modem? What are the types of internet connections? Are there any add-ons? How long is the contract period? These are the details you’ll need to consider when comparing services by price.
Data Cap Quota
This refers to the limitation of the amount of data you can use in a month by the ISP or whether the speed gets throttle after a certain amount of data usage.
Types of Internet Connections
You can probably break it down to 3 different types: 1) DSL, 2) Fibre Optics 3) Wireless. DSL is also known as digital subscriber line operates on regular phone lines and can have the speed of 1Mbps to 8Mpbs. Fibre Optics is the latest connectivity which operates on the network using light. Speed can go from 8Mbps to 100Mbps. Wireless are networks that operate without any cable or using 4G technology. Base on my experience, wireless for high-rise are not very reliable as they can get quite unstable.
Download and Upload Speed
Most of us want to have the fastest speed at the price we can afford. The download and upload speed depend heavily on the types of internet connection that you choose. To see how fast is the download or upload speed provided by users, you can go to Speedtest.net Net Index to check out the different ISP in your area. In today’s environment, a minimum requirement of 4Mbps is a must if you intend to stream from the internet.
ISP availability or accessibility in your area
It’s important to check out whether your ISP is available in your area. Certain ISPs are only available in cities or township areas. Some ISP such as TIME do not have fibre optic service on landed property and can only be found in condos, apartments or business parks.
Add-ons and special feature
Nowadays ISP throws in extra stuff when you apply through them. The extra add-ons are like extra speed boost, free local calls, lower IDD rate, free emails and set-top box. The question is whether the extras thrown in really matters to you.
How easy is it for you to get support if you experience slowness in internet connection or instability? Does the ISP provide email, phone or chat support?
Are you promise or guaranteed the speed that you pay for? Does your internet connection gets cut off once in a while or is it stable? Reviews are usually given through word of mouth or through other user’s experience.
So to save you the hassle of doing the research for the best Internet Service provider, I have compiled a list of well-known ISPs available in Penang for you.
Top 3 Internet Service Provider Preference
TIME broadband has just updated their packages to offer the fastest internet speed that is available in Malaysia today with speed of up to 500Mbps. One of the main advantages is the speed vs price is relatively cheaper than the rest of the ISP. For existing users, the deal is even better. Meaning if previously you have a 10Mbps, then the new upgrade plan would be 100Mbps. Similarly for the old plan of 20Mbps & 100Mbps will get an upgrade to 300Mbps and so forth for the same price. However, existing customers will need to upgrade their router to take advantage of the speed upgrade.
The other advantage that I find is the great customer service given. You can be assured that your call will be picked up if you were to lodge a report or your email to be replied the same or following day – if your call is done in the middle of the night.
The only disadvantage of TIME is the low area coverage in Penang and Malaysia today. You can click on this link to find out the areas that are available. Currently, this ISP is located mainly in Bayan Lepas, Gelugor and Georgetown. However, I would still rate this as my top internet service provider if it is covered in your area.
TMNET is a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysia’s main Telecommunication provider. There are 2 main packages from TMNET 1) Streamyx – copper wire or you can call it the phone line 2) UNIFI – fibre optic. The coverage area for Streamyx is much broader compared to the rest of the ISPs. The UNIFI package also comes with a set-top-box called HyppTV. However, I don’t quite find the cable TV very appealing as they are quite limited in their channels. I would suggest for you to subscribe to ASTRO or other networks if you intend to watch cable shows. Speed stability can be unreliable at the time too, but so far still not too bad.
The disadvantage factor lies on the customer service. Customer service is quite poor and calls are not picked up immediately.
Lowest entry internet plan in the market.
Maxis and Unifi basically share the same infrastructure or same fibre optic line. For almost the same price as UNIFI 5Mbps package, you can get a 10Mbps for RM139. However, one of the main issues discussed in most of the forums is the high ping issue for Maxis. This will concern you if you are a heavy gamer online.
There are still other internet service providers available in the market which are not listed here such as U-Mobile, Jaring, Packet One and so forth. However, I would suggest going with the mainstream internet service provider to get a reliable connection.
In conclusion, my pick is still TIME but if that is not available in your area, then I would go for TMNet. This could either be Streamyx or UNIFI.