Looks like the hype is all around Maxis with their new offering of #Hotlink free internet for new (and existing – if you upgrade) prepaid users.
Before you go “YAY!” or “At last!” – first you got to know that this is a free BASIC internet, so the speed is capped at 64kbps maximum. What is 64kbps or how fast is 64kbps you may ask? Simple – take example this page which you browse right now @ neato4u.wordpress.com, this page has an estimation of 1.8MB total data to fully download and render it properly (on a full fledged desktop format) which will load 1 second on a 10Mbps broadband connection or roughly 3 seconds on a 5Mbps broadband (not bad right?) – however this same page will load in 3 minutes 44 seconds on a 64kbps speed offered by #Hotlink (okay you can ‘YAY’ now)
But what’s there to complain when it’s FREE? I don’t know about you guys but for me I personally think it’s rude to complain when people give you free stuffs. But then again, is this really free?
Well, it’s free for those who purchased the new Maxis #Hotlink starter pack that cost RM8.80. The starter pack comes preloaded with a RM5 airtime and is set for free internet capped at 64kbps maximum speed. But of course, the new pack have new tariffs as well that have its own high and (mostly) low perks..
- WAIT! What about free internet for EXISTING hotlink prepaid users? -
For existing Hotlink prepaid users, yes – you too can enjoy free internet IF you upgrade to the new #Hotlink free internet package. To upgrade, dial *108*25# from your existing prepaid line (although I do not have any subscription with Maxis nor Hotlink anymore) – I am unable to try and confirm this from my end. I do heard that some users are facing error saying “Maaf, pelan yang anda pilih tidak sah, Terima kasih” (Sorry the plan which you choose is invalid) in which case I would highly suggest that you dial *100# and check or choose the option to upgrade manually.
- Before you upgrade, WAIT! -
Have a good read before you upgrade (I know free things are really tempting, especially if you are a Malaysian :P) – By upgrading you will lose your Activ10, Hotlink 5, Hotlink 10, Validity 90 and Validity 365 subscription and benefits (if you have any). If you plan to upgrade to #Hotlink free internet and THEN purchase Validity 365 OR Activ10, well… you just can’t because based on their FAQ, these services are not supported because.. I quote “the proposition of #Hotlink is FREE Basic Internet“ (kiss your 365 and other money savings bye bye!) Also, by upgrading – you are now bound by the new package plan and tariffs which is 12sen / 30 seconds (per 30 seconds charging block) for both voice and video calls, and 7sen / SMS applicable to all local networks. Not to mention a minimum of RM30 / month to keep your account active.
So that is a point to ponder and see if you are on the winning side or the losing side. If you are an existing subscriber of Activ10 and use it very frequently, you’re gonna lose quite a lot, especially when Activ10 offers 15sen / minute and 1sen / SMS (same telco). Or if you are an existing 365 subscriber with very less usage, you are going to lose more as you NEED to regularly top up now with the new #Hotlink free internet plan. That’s RM30 to keep your line active for a month, nothing lesser than that.
For your reference > The normal Hotlink prepaid plan comes with 20sen / minute and 5 sen / SMS to same telco or 30sen / minute and 10sen / SMS to other telcos (if you reload more than RM10).
However, if you did not opt for those subscriptions before, it is a good deal to upgrade your package to the #Hotlink free internet plan. If you need the internet for free and ready to upgrade your call and SMS tariffs and lose those said privileges for good of course…
- OK I am all set for free UNLIMITED internet, WAIT, **** it’s NOT UNLIMITED??? -
Who ever told you that it’s unlimited? Ha ha ha… yes even though you are capped on a ridiculous 64kbps, you are ALSO capped by their UNfair usage policy (FUP) of 3GB per month. Exceeding this will cause your free internet to transform into a NOT-SO-FREE anymore internet. Their FAQ page advice that your free internet will be disconnected – however I doubt this and believe once your phone reconnect it will suck your credits dry. But heck, I can’t believe how one could possibly utilize 3GB on a puny 64kbps connection – having a hard time understanding this? Try loading up a website with a 64kbps and see how long it takes to load, just try http://www.google.com and you will understand or better (or if you have faster internet speed.. hehe), check out Lowyat review on this by clicking > HERE <
- Do I really need free internet? -
If you are paying less then RM30 / month for your current prepaid subscription or does not use the internet or feel that it is important to you – from my point of view, it is better for you to stick with your current plan and packages because I feel it is a better deal compared to the #Hotlink free internet. It is free with all the benefits and money saving options ripped off. If you really need to use the internet (and keep using Hotlink), just grab their daily RM1 internet access capped at 100mb or get the RM20 / month for 350mb worth of data – both without any cap in speed (until you reached the limit of course). For more information on Hotlink prepaid mobile internet plans and which suites you best, head over to their website by clicking > HERE <
- I am a new #Hotlink free internet user, does this means that all this free mumbo jumbo is worthless?? -
Well, if you just started and just purchased the starter package – no it’s not worthless (but maybe not the best value for your money). The free internet with 64kbps speed is good enough for WhatsApp and emails (and maybe good on other messaging platforms as well such as Line, WeChat, etc). If you are coming in fresh, you wouldn’t feel that much of a loss than existing users with benefits. For web browsing, try downloading Opera Mini (only 0.90mb in Google Play – assuming you are running on the most used mobile platform which is the Android) and see if it helps (I tried on slow mobile network, it doesn’t help much unfortunately – but hey, you may have different result). And yes, if you have a lot of friends on Whatsapp and have group chats or the sort, then you may probably enjoy the free internet provided. If you think I left out facebook – then yes, maybe I did.. because it was reported that facebook runs super slow with #Hotlink free internet, it is almost useless unless you are productive enough to hit retry retry and retry every now and then.
- ISP and Telcos, Hear my voice (err.. or read my texts) -
Consumers are getting brighter these days and are more computer / IT literate then it was several years ago (You need to remember it’s no more focused on Generation X that are very forgiving and respectful!) . Spooning them with a 64kbps FREE internet will just ruin their mobile internet experience (especially for users who did not use or experience mobile internet before). Offering a platform for free is a good step, but offering a platform such as these (in my own personal view) will just make it a platform for new internet users to curse and tell others how BAD #Hotlink is. Just imagine an excited never before use a mobile internet, purchased a #Hotlink starter pack that says “FREE INTERNET” – firing it up for the first time and trying to load http://www.google.com using their default browser, then typing in something to perform a web search – waited for a minute while anxiously staring at their browser white background for the result to come out only to see that… it timed out.
I had similar experience before when Celcom came out with their data only prepaid plan. It was cheap (I can’t remember how much I purchased those but I believe around RM25 or so – it was considered very cheap back in those days) but it ended up in me throwing their SIM card out of the window several hours after purchase because the speed was so ridiculously slow that I can not even load Celcom help page to check what’s going on (reception was good btw). I believe there will be similar users like me who’s going to throw their new #Hotlink out of the window too when they have a taste of the speedy 64kbps connection. Even worst, that feeling will leave a mark in their heart – yes not only mark of frustration, but with #Hotlink embedded all over it. It’s a scar for life.
I hope some good telco come up and offer their capped speed just good enough for good simple browsing and image loading. 64kbps is a joke and all around worthless. Unless we live in the early 90s where most websites are greatly texts and images are very optimized for page loading (whoops, don’t go venture into that personal Geocities page if you can’t wait!) and the people can afford to WAIT for pages to load (most people can’t even wait for a site to load if it’s more than 10 secs). I would say a 128kbps or a download speed of 15-20kb/s is the bare minimum that every ISP and telcos should go about when throttle is in place. But of course this will lead to reply that the fact they did not terminate and still offer ‘some’ service should be taken into consideration. Yeah, a consideration of almost non existent of the internet for sure.
- The conclusion -
My view of the #Hotlink free internet is a rip off of all the other benefits which Hotlink offers to it’s existing prepaid users. By adding the word ‘free‘ it catches a lot of attention. And by giving it away for ‘free’ – I am a bit heavy hearted to complain, so I will just say “this isn’t the best value for money“. If you really need internet, just purchase it – It’s not that expensive anymore, especially if you are only using it for simple browsing and messaging – Other telcos such as Digi offers RM18/month for a 300mb data and 30days validity (with unlimited surfing via Opera Mini), Umobile offers RM18/month for 250mb data with free 25mins free calls and 25SMS to all networks. Even Hotlink provide these but are expensive at RM20/month with 350mb and nothing else (no freebies no extra minutes calls no nothing). Which is why I have personally ported out from Hotlink a few years back because I find that their prices are not competitive when others can offer and beat their services. Sometimes it is better paying for something that works then getting free stuffs that doesn’t… or is it most of the times? LOL…
Do you know that you can keep your mobile number and port to other telcos as well? Read my porting experience > HERE < It offers a lot of consumer choosing powers for sure.
However, if you have purchased or still intent to purchase #Hotlink free internet, I would highly recommend that you go through their T&C below and have a really good read on the limitations imposed (eg. no torrenting!!)
For me? I am JUST A BIT happy with my Umobile mobile broadband (when it works, and you better pray that it works!)