Thursday, March 14, 2019

Yoodo - mobile service as cheap as RM3/month suitable for light usage users and backpackers

Yoodo is a mobile service provider in Malaysia operating under the umbrella of Celcom Axiata and riding on the mobile network infrastructure of Celcom.

You can't find any official outlet of Yoodo, because they operate on the Internet and prefer you to be self-service to subscribe to their mobile service, and to self-manage your mobile plan based on your actual need on monthly (30 days) basis.

Yoodo was just launched in 2018. Initially, it was not so attractive, until its data plan been reduced to cheaper price, and the quota starting from as low as 2GB/month usage @ RM12  (instead of starting from 5GB/month @ RM30 when it was launched).

Yoodo is currently one of the very few mobile service providers in Malaysia that enables you to spend less than RM30 per month in your mobile service.

You might want to seriously consider using Yoodo if you are:

  • a light usage mobile user who prefers not to spend too much on your mobile plan. If you are a medium data usage user, you can opt for Hotlink Postpaid Flex instead, which provides unlimited nationwide calls and unlimited SMS, with price starting from RM30/month only (for 1GB data plan, add RM10/month to get additional 4GB/month). If you are a heavy data usage user, there are plenty of postpaid/prepaid plans available with high data quota, including those with unlimited data + unlimited calls + unlimited SMS.
  • planning to maintain a beautiful mobile phone number at the lowest possible cost at RM3/month.
  • planning to use it for tablet that connects to WiFi most of the time, and does not need any voice or SMS bundle.
  • planning to use it for receiving calls and SMS.
  • planning to use it for making calls and/or SMS, with low to medium data usage. 
  • a backpacker or tourist who plans to stay in Malaysia for more than a week to a few months, and wants to get a mobile plan with cheap IDD option to receive and/or make calls and SMS to other countries.
  • a backpacker or tourist who plans to visit Malaysia and some other surrounding countries, with cheap roaming option.
  • a person who finds that Yoodo is able to provide flexibility and freedom to customize your own plan based on your actual need from month to month.
Yoodo plan is pretty straightforward. Its base plan consists of 3 portions: data, voice and SMS, which you can customize your usage for the month (30 days validity from day of subscription).

You can always make change to your plan for the upcoming month. So, if you know that next month your usage will be higher (for example, when going for outstation), you can subscribe a higher plan for next month, and then fall back to the lower plan the month after.

There is a GUI in Yoodo's website for you to try out how to adjust your base plan for data, voice and SMS, with the price automatically calculated for you.

The beauty of Yoodo plan is that, as long as it is still active, you can always receive phone calls and SMS, even you just subscribe a data plan and leave the subscription to voice and SMS to remain as zero.

Unlike certain data plans from other telcos which will impose restriction on hotspot tethering (mobile data sharing), there is no tethering restriction on Yoodo data subscription, be it a base plan or booster plan.

Yoodo SIM pack can be ordered online for free, and will be courier to you for free too.

Click here to order your Yoodo SIM pack and receive RM20 credit in your e-wallet when you successfully activated a plan with the SIM card.

If you need the SIM pack to be delivered to you within 2 hours, it is possible if your receiving address is in Klang Valley, and you are willing to pay for the express delivery service. This express delivery option is available when you order your Yoodo SIM pack. This will be necessary for backpackers or tourists. You can arrange for your accommodation's reception to receive the SIM pack on your behalf while you are away visiting places.

You will need an Android phone or iPhone in order to manage your Yoodo account with the Yoodo app, which you can download and install from Google Play Store or iTune App Store. Each account can manage up to 5 Yoodo SIMs.

Note that the device you use to manage your Yoodo account with Yoodo app need not be the same device which you are going to install the Yoodo SIM card. If it is the same device, then you might need to connect to WiFi to download the app and to perform SIM card activation, before you got mobile data available for use.

After you've received your SIM pack, you need to activate the SIM card inside it to start your subscription. Don't worry whether you have already customized your base plan during SIM pack ordering process or not, because you will be given a chance to customize the base plan again during the activation process.

However, if you have customized your base plan for a mobile number port-in from another telco, your base plan for the first month cannot be changed during activation. You will need to order a new SIM and start over the process for such a change.

Yes, Yoodo does support MNP (mobile number portability).

Yoodo activation process involves scanning (or manually key-in) the barcode of the SIM card, taking a photo of your NRIC or passport, taking a photo of yourself which requires you to do some action, and paying for your first month subscription by using your credit/debit card or PayPal account.

You might want to use a phone with better camera for the activation process to be smoother, because it will use OCR to scan your NRIC/passport and use face recognition AI to scan your face.

Don't forget to key-in this Referral Code during activation for you and me to get RM20 in our e-wallet respectively: cwqhp2909

After you become a Yoodo user, you will also have your own unique Referral Code to get RM20 for each referee sign-up.

Below is the Yoodo Dashboard shown in Yoodo app for you to manage your Yoodo subscription.

It will show you your current plan and usage. Don't worry when your base plan used up in the middle of the month, you can always purchase a booster plan by taping on "Buy more" to get additional quota for the month.

For example, even though I did not subscribe any voice plan for the month, if I need to make call, I can purchase a voice call booster plan to get the required quota immediately.

Note that you can buy roaming and IDD service from the above Dashboard screen too. Just follow the steps, the app will explain about the service to you clearly.

Your plan will be auto-renewed after 30 days, using the same configuration as this month unless you change it. Changes will take effect on the next cycle, and before it is effective, you can always come back and modify the configuration by tapping on "Change".

In the above screen, you can switch off the auto-renew function, and your e-wallet or linked credit/debit card or PayPal account will not be automatically charged when your current 30 days subscription cycle ended.

If you don't pay for the next month, you can still receive voice calls and SMS, but unable to access to Internet, make call and send SMS. There is a grace period for this, after that, your account will be terminated and your mobile number will be unusable.

Beside the 3 base plans of data, voice and SMS, you can also subscribe for specific app data usage add-ons, including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and PUBG Mobile. The data usage for subscribed add-ons will be consumed first before the base data plan is deducted for the month. Note that these add-ons are not applicable for tethering.

Also note that since Yoodo is riding on Celcom network, it shares the same pros and cons, as well as strength and weaknesses, with Celcom mobile service, which you might be interested to read my another article here.

Yoodo's customer service is pretty friendly, helpful and responsive. They are contactable with Live Chat in the app and also in their website, within the operating hour from 9am to 9pm (weekdays) and from 9am to 6pm (weekends). To access to Live Chat, just go to the Help section and scroll to the very bottom of the screen, and look for this:

Beside using Live Chat, you can also fill in a web form to submit an issue ticket to them. There is also a community forum to discuss with other Yoodo users and staffs.

No doubt Yoodo's establishment and its business model has disrupted the Malaysia mobile service market. It provides a 3rd kind of mobile subscription beside the traditional prepaid and postpaid plans.

It is flexible that you can customize your plan according to your need, with booster plan to boost up your quota within a subscription cycle, so that eventually you only pay for what you need to use. It is also very easy to exit, either by MNP to another telco, or stop paying for the subsequent month and let the subscription lapses by itself.

There are also options for immediate termination and SIM card replacement, in the event of handphone lost, for example.

If you find it interesting, you can order the SIM pack for free without any obligation. Then when you want to start using it, you can customize your own plan in Yoodo app, and activate the SIM card to start your subscription.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Comparison of Maxis vs Celcom network usage experience (year 2019)

Maxis and Celcom are the 2 mobile service market leaders in Malaysia in terms of network coverage and speed. They are closely challenged by Digi and U Mobile, followed by Unifi Mobile.

This comparison is made based on my personal experience and observation by installing SIM card of different operator, one at a time, into the same SIM card slot of the same handphone, and using the handphone at the same location during the observation timeframe.

Note that only Maxis, Celcom and Digi (and their respective sub-brands) are using own 2G/3G/4G and even 5G network. Yes only has 4G coverage at limited areas. The others are somehow riding on the network of these Big 3 (mostly on Celcom), as shown in the table below.

However, based on my observation, the SIM card of the operator does play a role in your network usage experience. For example, TuneTalk and Celcom will be connected to the same infrastructure belonged to Celcom, but the way your handphone maintains the connection with their SIM card might behave differently.

Between Maxis and Celcom, I observed that Maxis provides an overall better experience, particularly when you are inside a building. This observation is made in a location which OpenSignal indicates that both their 2G/3G/4G signal at the area are equally strong.

How does Maxis achieve the better result? This is possibly due to Maxis behave differently from Celcom when the phone is in standby mode (not in phone call, no SMS in/out, no foreground open app, screen is on).

When WiFi is connected, Maxis will settle down with the most stable signal at highest strength (in terms of dBm and ASU). For layman, this will be a state which your phone get the most signal bars shown at the status bar. In my observation, unless there is background network activity ongoing, else it will settle down to 3G UMTS connection, giving a full bars or close to that. The maximum network speed at UMTS is 384 kbps only.

When WiFi is off, Maxis will immediately scale up its connection, and maintain at a balance between speed and signal strength, to provide optimal network stability. In my case, it will stay at HSPA+ with maximum speed of 42.2 Mbps. It will only reach out to 4G LTE when the phone's network activity increases, demanding higher network speed.

On the other hand, Celcom will always go for the highest generation and stays at 4G LTE or LTE+ as long as there are 2 bars of signal and above for 4G, regardless WiFi is connected or not, despite the signal at lower generation is much stronger.

U Mobile will settle down with 2.75G EDGE with maximum speed of 220 kbps, when WiFi is connected. OpenSignal showed that it connects to the same Maxis tower when Maxis was tested as above.

By connecting and staying at lower generation when WiFi is connected, it actually helps to save some battery usage.

When WiFi is connected, it seems that:
  • Maxis connection will stay at the most stable signal at highest strength.
  • Celcom connection will try to show off they got 4G LTE/LTE+ at the area by connecting to 4G, even though the signal is comparatively weaker than lower generations.
  • U Mobile will connect to the lowest possible generation while maintaining decent connection speed.

When WiFi is disconnected and Internet is in used, it seems that:
  • Maxis connection will try to strike a balance between speed and stability.
  • Celcom connection will actually fall back to HSPA when LTE/LTE+ signal is too weak for stable connection, otherwise it will just stay at LTE/LTE+.
  • U Mobile does not have 4G coverage at the area, since the connection never reach LTE/LTE+.

When there is an incoming phone call or SMS, it seems that:
  • Maxis connection will raise from UMTS to HSPA.
  • Celcom connection will drop from LTE to HSPA if the 4G signal is too weak.
  • U Mobile connection will raise from EDGE to UMTS.

Due to the different in their behavior:
  • When I make a call from another phone, Maxis will ring faster than Celcom. Sometimes, you will see the connection of Celcom changed from LTE to HSPA before the phone actually rings.
  • When I send an SMS from another phone, it will generally reach Maxis faster than Celcom.
  • The voice quality in a phone call with Maxis is generally more stable and better than Celcom.
  • There is not much different between them in Internet usage, their speed is almost the same in this area, regardless connected with HSPA or LTE. The download speed is much higher than the upload speed.
  • Let the phone lying overnight, U Mobile is able to conserve slightly more battery than Maxis (different for about 1% draining), which in turn conserves more battery than Celcom (different for about 2% draining).
Therefore, Maxis provides an overall better network usage experience than Celcom, in terms of battery saving, phone call quality, speed of receiving phone call and speed of receiving SMS.

Besides, there are several other reports available in the Internet about general comparison of Malaysia mobile service providers, including comparison of postpaid packages, prepaid packages, price, coverage, network speed, etc. One of the good source is OpenSignal which you can search around for their analysis reports.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Register to get Touch n Go RFID tag for free with RM8/RM10 e-Wallet value and also 20% toll fee rebate

Have you become a Touch n Go RFID tag pilot user? The free registration is opened now with limited slots available.

By following the method below, you will be able to get all these for free:

  • Touch n Go RFID tag affixed to your car
  • RM8/RM10 e-Wallet value through free reload PIN code
  • 20% toll fee rebate when using the RFID at participating tolls
In order to participate in this campaign, it is compulsory for you to be:
  • A smartphone (either Android or iPhone) user with non-rooted / not jail-broken phone.
  • A private car owner with the car ownership registered in Malaysia under your name.
The steps are as follow:

Step 1: Download and install Touch n Go e-Wallet app into your phone.

If you are reading this article with your smartphone, just tap here to download and install the Touch n Go e-Wallet app into your phone.

Else way, proceed to search for Touch n Go e-Wallet app in the app store and install it. During initial setup of the app, using this as referral code: m4sxxm

It is very important for you to use a valid referral code (either use mine, or any valid referral code from your friend or family member) to get 5 times of 20% toll fee rebate later. If you don't specify any referral code, you will miss this goodie.

Step 2: Register online for your interest to be a Touch n Go RFID pilot user

You can click here to register for your interest to be a Touch n Go RFID pilot user. This link is only active while the allocated slots are still available.

It is most advisable for you to fill in the online form with your phone number which is the same with the phone that you have installed the Touch n Go e-Wallet app in Step 1 above.

Step 3: Wait for 2-3 days

After completed Step 2 above, you will probably receive an invitation email as below for you to proceed to register as Touch n Go RFID pilot user.

If you didn't receive any such email, you can still proceed to Step 4 and try your luck. As long as you can enter the online registration form with your phone number, then everything is OK. If you are unable to enter the online registration form with your phone number after 3 days from Step 2, you can contact with Touch n Go to check for the status.

Step 4: Submit the online registration form and make appointment for RFID tag installation

Click here or go to the webpage below to submit your online registration:

Make sure all the information you provide is correct, particularly your car plate number.

At the end of the process, you can choose your nearest or most convenient RFID fitment center and make appointment by specifying a date and timeslot (morning or afternoon) for your RFID tag installation.

Click here for the updated list of fitment centers, including their address, Google Map / Waze location and opening hours.

Step 5: Bring your car to install the RFID tag at fitment center

During the appointment timeslot, bring your car and the following documents to your selected fitment center:
  • Photocopy of your MyKAD or valid driving license (or valid passport - for foreigners only)
  • Photocopy of your car registration card or valid car insurance cover notes

You'll need to submit the 2 documents above to the technician at the fitment center. He will need to login to an online system to complete your registration, as well as allocate an RFID tag for you that will link to your account in the system.

The RFID tag is in the form of a sticker.

The technician will first try to test for its signal reception with a device by putting the sticker on the left hand side of your car's windscreen. Then he will try a second location, which is on your car's left headlamp.

Based on the test result, the technician will then decide whether to attach the RFID tag on your windscreen or on your headlamp. It is very likely to get a stronger signal by installing the RFID tag on your headlamp.

The entire installation time, including the signal testing time, should be less than 5 minutes. If including the document submission and system key-in time, the whole process should be less than 30 minutes.

Step 6: Wait 1-2 days for RFID tag activation

You need to wait again for your RFID tag activation before it can be used. Normally it will take 1-2 working days.

Upon successful activation, you will be notified by SMS.

Don't worry if you don't receive any SMS notification after waited for 2 days. You can also check in the RFID section in your Touch n Go e-Wallet mobile app. If your RFID tag has been successfully activated, you will be able to see your car plate number there. Otherwise, you might want to contact with Touch n Go to check for the status.

Step 7: Get the RM8/RM10 reload pin and load the value into your e-Wallet

Before you complete this step, it is very important for you NOT to reload your e-Wallet with any credit card, debit card, or any other ways.

This is because your e-Wallet need to be virgin with zero transaction in order for you to successfully load this free RM8/RM10 reload into your e-Wallet.

There are plenty of places to get this free reload pin. If you get it from an agent, it probably carries a value of RM8. If you get it directly from Touch n Go, it probably carries a value of RM10.

Here are a few ways to get this free reload pin:
  • Search the Internet to locate for agents who giving out the pin for free. You can find some inside Shopee online mall.
  • If you are a registered Touch n Go card user, you probably have received a marketing email from Touch n Go with an RM10 e-Wallet reload pin code in the email.
  • Visit to Touch n Go RFID kiosk, roadshow, etc. and you will have chance to be given an RM10 reload pin voucher for free.
  • Visit to one of the Touch n Go participating merchants (the shops that accept Touch n Go e-Wallet as payment method) and you will have chance to be given an RM10 reload pin voucher for free.

Step 8: Reload your e-Wallet

Before you can use your Touch n Go RFID for toll payment, your linked e-Wallet need to have sufficient balance in it.

You can reload your e-Wallet with the free reload pin obtained from Step 7 above.

After that, you can also reload your e-Wallet using credit card, debit card, or purchase new reload pin from participating outlet.

Step 9: Use your RFID tag at participating tolls and get the 20% rebate instantly

Your RFID tag works in a way similar to Smart Tag. You just need to go through the RFID lane at the toll plaza. The toll fee will be deducted from your e-Wallet. If the highway is participating in the 20% rebate campaign, your e-Wallet will be receiving the 20% rebate in 1-2 minutes right after the toll payment.

Below are 2 of my usages at LDP. Notice that within 1 minute, I got the rebate in the form of cashback, so my effective LDP toll fee was RM2.10 - RM0.42 = RM1.68.

Step 10: Get more times of 20% toll fee rebate

Note that you will get 5 times usage of the 20% toll fee rebate at participating toll plaza if you have created your e-Wallet account using a referral code as stated in Step 1 above.

To get more times of the rebate, you can:
  • Link your physical Touch n Go card with your e-Wallet account. I got additional 10 times with this.
  • Invite your family members and friends to join this campaign with your own referral code, which you can find inside your e-Wallet app. You will receive additional 5 times at the same time when they received theirs for account activation.

No doubt that this is quite a tedious process, with many steps and requires some waiting days in-between the process. However, it worth a try to get the free RM8/RM10 reload and the 20% toll fee rebate.

Note: you can email this article or print it out for your easy reference with the corresponding AddThis button below. (Click the "View web version" link below if you can't see the AddThis buttons in mobile view)

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