Friday, April 29, 2016

U Mobile attacked competitors again with free video streaming on top of existing data quota

If you have a smartphone or tablet attached with U Mobile postpaid and prepaid service, and you have been using it to watch online videos, here is a good news to you.

U Mobile has just launched their Video-Onz service, providing free additional quota on top of existing data plan for you to watch videos using the apps from the following 12 providers:

  • YouTube
  • YouTube Gaming
  • Youku Tudou
  • iflix
  • Astro on the Go
  • HyppTV Everywhere
  • Viu
  • Eros Now
  • tonton
  • Herotalkies
  • ONFM
  • Pocketimes

This mean that when you are watching videos with these apps, you are given additional quota on top of your existing Internet data quota for the video streaming, for free by U Mobile under the Video-Onz service.

The monthly allocation of the free Video-Onz video streaming quota on top of the existing Internet data quota of various U Mobile postpaid and prepaid plans is as below:

There is no Video-Onz quota imposed for P70, i90 and i130 postpaid plans, meanings you can watch videos or movies with the above 12 video streaming apps as much as you wish, as there is unlimited Video-Onz data for these plans. 

Nowadays U Mobile marketing is really aggressive in capturing the market share by providing competitive package that really can shake and disrupt its competitors, which is a good news for all mobile consumers in Malaysia.

Let's see what will Celcom and Digi offer to counter attack this. Maxis? Maybe their customers need to cry and scream and swear for another time again for them to finally react.

Meanwhile, the P1 (now known as Webe) under TM has been making a lot of hoo-haa recently, but until today the general public is still unclear about what they are going to offer to join this intensified competition.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Earth Day and the story of bottled water

We've just celebrated our Earth Day on 22nd April. This event has once again brought some world attention to the story of bottled water, with a video produced back in 2010.

Here is the video, which has been viewed over 4.7 millions time in YouTube:

So, what's wrong with the bottled water? It is a multi-billion business, sold 290 billion liters in 2014 and expected to continue growing at a CAGR of around 8.5% between 2015 and 2020.

Well, we are told that about half of the bottled water is sourced from tap water, and priced a few hundreds time the price of tap water. It is expensive, sometimes even more expensive than petrol.

Another half is sourced from underground or spring water. What will be the impact to the environment when millions of gallons of water is extracted away 24x7 everyday? Will it change the soil moisture, deplete the wetlands and narrow out the rivers? Will it in turn affect the surrounding ecology, and the aquaculture and agriculture condition?

Anyhow, the main issue is more on the plastic bottle itself than the water contained in it. In order to manufacture the plastic bottle, millions barrels of fossil fuel is consumed, and another millions tonnes of carbon dioxide is generated.

Each year, more than 4 billion pounds of PET plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter, or worse still, floating in the sea endangering the birds, fishes and other ocean animals. Only less than 20% of plastic the water bottles are actually recycled.
In the United States of America, selling of bottled water is banned in more and more schools and colleges, and even parks.

Therefore, to save our earth and its environment, we should only drink bottled water when necessary, and not to substitute our daily drinking water with it. We should resume our traditional way of drinking filtered or boiled tap water, and use reusable water container to carry some water with us for outdoor drinking.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Negative interest rate - get paid from borrowing and get charged from saving

If you think that you can earn some interest by depositing your money in bank, and you will be charged with interest for borrowing money from bank, you have to reverse your mind-set in certain places that are having negative interest rate policy now.

I'm not kidding. The European Central Banks (ECB), Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden are already having negative interest rate for quite some times. Lately, Japan has joint the league too!

(Chart produced by Toronto Star)

The ECB started this game by charging banks that hold their cash overnight and at the same time offering a premium to banks that borrow in order to extend more loans.

During economic uncertainty time, people tend to be conservative with spending and/or investing and more keen to hoard money in their bank accounts. They are willing to do so even with zero interest rate. This brings the danger of deflation, and as an extreme measure to counter this situation, the banks started to "punish" people that keep money in their bank accounts by charging interest instead of giving interest, and to encourage people to take up loan for business and investment activities by giving interest instead of charging interest.

When this negative interest situation occurs, the traditionally safe havens to put your money, namely bank deposit and bond market, will become the places that most likely cause you to lose money. Yes, fixed deposit is dangerous, bond market is dangerous, because your money will go down the drain if you put it there, in the era of negative interest rate.

However, this measure doesn't seem to be effective to stimulate the economy, as people there are still very cautious and tend to hoard with their money. With the negative interest rate, they are forced to take out their money from bank deposit account, and then they are keeping the money in their drawer or safe instead of spending it. (Reuters: Negative ECB rates fuel demand for safe deposit boxes, German banks say)

The impose of negative interest rate in Eurozone and Japan has shown unfavourable sign of worldwide economy. What will be next after quantitative easing and negative interest rate? If there is no more option ahead, we can foresee a huge economic catastrophe forming and will hit all of us at anytime.

Are you prepared for it? And the question is: how to get prepared for it?

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.