Yesterday, we learned that UniFi customers in selected areas throughout the Klang Valley are now able to utilise faster connection speeds of up to 50Mbps with the introduction of new UniFi plans. Not only that, these new packages are slightly cheaper than what consumers are currently paying for their top-of-the-line UniFi packages – which are much slower at 20Mbps.
So, this might be a good opportunity for existing UniFi customers to switch to a faster connection for less. Unfortunately though, that isn’t exactly the story. TM’s latest UniFi plans – or specifically, the terms and conditions that come with these plans – will serve as the first subject for our new segment called “#DendaJar“.
[Brochure credit: Amanz]
Let’s start with the announcement of these plans – or the lack of it, to be precise. TM may claim that these new plans are actually only available on a trial basis with a limited roll-out in selected areas, but the fact that these plans are openly available for subscription hints of a lack of transparency. Customers – both existing and new ones – should always be made aware of amendments and/or new product announcements, and it is the responsibility of the service providers to do so.
What’s worse isn’t the lack of an announcement. What’s really disappointing is the fact that TM isn’t offering any form of appreciation for its loyal customers.
These new plans? Existing UniFi customers cannot upgrade from their current subscriptions, regardless whether they are on the cheapest 5Mbps or the RM249-per-month 20Mbps plan. Instead, those who want to upgrade are required to terminate their current UniFi plan and apply for the new 30Mbps plan. Those still on contract are presumably required to pay some form of compensation. Terminating your account also means having a new phone number, which is another hassle that’s totally unnecessary.
To make things even worse, here’s something interesting that we’ve been gathering from our readers. Apparently, TM has been contacting existing UniFi customers, offering “deals” to renew their contract at a discount. Some readers have claimed that TM began offering discounted rates for upgrading to a higher speed , such as topping up RM10 a month to upgrade from a 5Mbps package to a 10Mbps one – in other words, TM appears to be attempting to lock customers to a contract that offers a greater profit margin for TM.
If these allegations prove to be true, this is an incredibly unethical move on TM’s part.
Who stands to lose the most from this move by TM? Sadly, it is those who are on the 20Mbps plans. The following table shows just how much UniFi 20 subscribers could save if they are able to upgrade to the new 30Mbps package:
For subscribers who are on 5Mbps or 10Mbps packages, there are not much savings involved although in general, UniFi 30Mbps offers much more value for money rather than upgrading to existing 10Mbps or 20Mbps packages due to the higher connection speed. Like we said, it is subscribers on 20Mbps subscription packages who will feel most ripped off – because they are now effectively paying more for less.
While it is true that the new 30Mbps packages don’t come with free calls to fixed line numbers nationwide, it is still cheaper to opt for the Voice Pack add-on rather than what customers are paying for their 20Mbps packages at the moment, as shown in this table:
In other words, UniFi 20 subscribers are clearly being short-changed with the arrival of the new UniFi 30Mbps. In order to enjoy the faster speed and greater savings, UniFi 20 subscribers – especially those who have already fulfilled their contractual commitment to TM – could actually terminate their current account (although you have to sacrifice your UniFi phone number) and sign up for a new account to enjoy the savings and speed upgrade that the new UniFi 30Mbps packages offer.
Of course, before you do so, let’s not forget that UniFi 30Mbps is only available in Duta, Damansara, Kepong, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Serdang, Puchong, Shah Alam and Subang Jaya at this moment.
Regardless, we certainly hope that TM seriously looks into reconsidering some of its restrictions regarding the new UniFi 30 plans, or possibly even altering the prices of its current UniFi plans (if it isn’t already doing so). Many subscribers are already feeling cheated (betrayed, even) by the fact that these plans offer nothing to reward loyal subscribers, let alone offer a simple upgrade.
While the Government’s call for Internet service providers to offer cheaper broadband packages should have been great news for Malaysians, this – clearly – wasn’t what we had in mind.
At the time of writing, TM has yet to respond to our requests for comments. [UPDATE]: TM ‘s Executive Vice President for Consumer and SME, Imri Mokhtar has responded to our enquiry in which we have separated into these three subsequent articles: 1, 2, 3.
Pang Tun Yau contributed to this article.