Friday, December 01, 2006

Globe 3G Mobile Broadband vs. PLDT WeRoam 3G

I'm currently doing an evaluation on Globe 3G Mobile Broadband HSDPA and PLDTWeRoam's 3G service. What triggered this is my anxious need to upgrade my current PLDTWeRoam 2G (GPRS/EDGE).

Like most wireless services, there are areas where one has better connection over the other. However, as the service is pretty much new, Globe's 3G Mobile Broadband HSDPA is seen to be performing better and much reliable in terms of connectivity.

Although PLDT WeRoam's 3G service is fast, I still get more instance of hiccups in terms of connection. At times, this makes me really wonder on the difference between my PLDT WeRoam 2G and this new 3G model.

What I am excited about this new services is that uploading of files is pretty much faster. As I am into podcasting, transmitting audio files can be quite a pain should you have slow connection. If you have the resources, it is only practical to get both cards. Perhaps sign up the first as an unlimited Internet use card while the other can be on a pay-per-use subscription. With both cards, the flexibility to switch between one connection to another is very valuable. No productive time is lost. No time to waste in complaining either.

12 comments:

Mike Mapa said...

I have had a chance to use both side-by-side, in my office in Palanan, Makati. They clocked approximately the same speed, an impressive 800 kbps downstream. However, both were very susceptible to minute-by-minute changes in reception.

Globe has a clear advantage in one area: the software used by their Huawei card loads much faster and is much more user-friendly than the awful software that comes with PLDT's Globetrotter card. PLDT's card takes maybe three minutes to load fully, while Globe's loads in under a minute. I was much happier with the 3G Sierra Aircard PLDT let me test-drive--the software was simple and efficient and (at least it seemed to me) gave me faster and more reliable connection speeds. Alas, PLDT no longer issues Sierra Aircards; my contact tells me that the Globetrotter is what WeRoam's 3G customers get.

Both players should, however, be migrating to USB-based units, as many new laptops no longer sport PCMCIA.

But in terms of service, you need to assess the quality of service based on the areas you are most likely to use it in. And this is still highly subjective: neither one is saying what their 3G footprint is. (While WeRoam will give you a wider area where you can get a signal--because of Smart's wider coverage--do not expect 3G outside of major urban areas.)

Furthermore, I was happy to be able to roam in Japan recently with my 3G WeRoam. (However, my connection speed was just adequate.) I do not know if Globe Visibility offers international roaming.

So bottom line is: I'm not sure that one is the clear winner over the other at this point. If WeRoam only utilized a much more elegant software package like that of the Sierra Aircard, I'd recommend it, especially since WeRoam 3G is only P1,700 per month, vs. Globe's P2,000 for the equivalent package. But as it is, I find the Globetrotter solution such a PAIN to use. PLDT, I hope you're listening.

frank holz said...

Janette, which phone are you using for the 3G? Same phone for both services? Have you also reviewed the choices of phones? frank

frank holz said...

Janette, having trouble for this to be sent. am trying for second time.
1. It sounds as if you can swap sim cards on the phone. That's good, although the cost of 3G programs is quite high.
2. Which phone have you been using for the tests. Have you also reviewed different phones?
3. I went to one of the Smart wireless shops yesterday, and a very bright and articulate young woman explained the different programs. They are ridiculously complicated, and make it difficult to estimate the cost per month of using the service. (or is it me that is the problem?)
frank

digitalfilipino said...

Hi Mike. Thanks so much for the sharing. It is good to hear about your Globetrotter experience. Actually, I got similar feedback that the Sierra card is much better.

Frank, I only used the cards with my laptop, not with any mobile phone device. My Nokia 9300 is not yet 3G. However, looking at the newspaper ads today, 3G phone owners only need to pay 10 pesos for 30 minutes of Internet connection.

Mike Mapa said...

As you've observed, Janet, the 3G rates of Smart are pretty reasonable. In fact, if you think you'll be surfing less than 3 hours per day, and you don't mind sacrificing some speed, it's more practical to sign up for a Smart Gold or Addict Plan 1800 (consumable). You get a free phone pa. But if speed is a concern, you should know that, in my experience, surfing via WeRoam gives you around 2x the speed of surfing via 3G phone modem. (Many factors may affect this, but I tested it several times.)

digitalfilipino said...

Hi Mike. Actually, upon looking at the Smart 3G ad that charges 10 pesos for 30 minutes, it immediately struck me to just buy a reasonable 3G phone therefore not needing to subscribe to WeRoam or Globe 3G HSDPA separately. Unless of course, there are 3G cards available in the local shops right now where we could all just insert our SIM in it. What do you think?

Mike Mapa said...

Well, Janet, I don't know if you can buy a 3G HSDPA card locally outside of the two telcos. What I am looking at right now are 3G HSDPA devices that are connected via USB like these:

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2006/11/21/review_vodafone_mobile_connect_modem/
http://mshop.cetizen.com/mall.php?cat=012001001&query=view&no=1779

I am told Globe is planning to go this way, especially since many new laptops come with an ExpressCard slot instead of PCMCIA. Don't know yet about PLDT.

But sure, like I said, you can use a mobile phone as a 3G modem if you don't mind sacrificing some speed.

digitalfilipino said...

Hi Mike. I was told that the Samsung phone that Globe has introduced in its promo subscription is HSDPA based already.

Last Friday, I was introduced to a new laptop referred to (something like) Flybook. It is small laptop where it has a SIM slot and connect to the Internet through it. I'm hoping to gain access to a demo unit and will blog about it once tried.

Mike Mapa said...

I've just checked out the website, and it seems the Flybook's pretty fly (pardon the pun)! It even has a TV-out port!

One critical thing to investigate is whether having the HSDPA hardware built-in means better reception (for example, if they managed to integrate a large antenna into the case).

However, I'm not sure I can deal with an 8.9 inch screen. Sounds like guaranteed eyestrain to me.

Who distributes it here?

digitalfilipino said...

Hi Mike. It is being distributed by Wingem Philippines. I do hope that I'll get the chance to try it out.

Mark Bata said...

I've been a Globe Visibility user since August this year. After much discussion with my account manager and her boss, I'm pretty much contented with the service. Thanks for the feedback on the globetrotter card, Im sticking it out with my Huawei. Incidently, you can get the latest software updates and drivers for the e620 over at http://www.mybroadband.co.za/vb/showthread.php?p=790887&posted=1#post790887

You just have to install the MTN software available over at www.huawei.com The latest driver for Vista and xp is also available there.

3G HSDPA service coverage is still limited but if you have the signal, its fast! Its actually faster than the 2mb plan I have for our office. Well, that's the fault of PLDT. hehehe To enable fast torrent downloading using HSDPA, you need to force encryption. I use utorrent and it works pretty well.

If ever you dont get a globe 3g or hsdpa signal, Edge in some areas are quite fast. Unfortunately, I have yet to recieve a list of areas with Edge service. Globe never released this to the public.

The visibility plan also comes with unlimited Wiz wifi and dial up. Pwede na for 2000 pesos all in. : )

I hope Globe can integrate my voice line and data line. For example, all of my data usage in my voice line (gprs) will be credited to my data line where its unlimited. I don t see why I need to be charged extra.

janettetoral.com said...

Hi Mark. Thank you for sharing. I think the direction is really to integrate all services with reasonable charging system to encourage more users. I hope that happens soon.