Blink, and you’d have missed it. Celcom’s new excellent value-for-money postpaid plan, the First Basic 38, appears to have had its rumoured speed cap lifted for all of its subscribers, allowing them to finally enjoy LTE data speeds as opposed to a maximum 7Mbps up until just yesterday.
The new Celcom First Basic 38 postpaid offers 2GB mobile Internet, 2GB WiFi access to Celcom’s WiFi hotspots in Malaysia, as well as 50 free minutes and 50 free SMS, all for RM38 a month. Celcom made the plan even more attractive by offering a six-month promotion for customers, increasing the data and WiFi quota to 3GB a month, making it one of, if not the most affordable mobile Internet plan in the country.
However, users who gleefully ported in to the new plan noticed that at best, the upload/download rates are maxing out at around 6-7Mbps consistently – far below what’s considered the normal range for LTE speeds in the country, which ranges anywhere between 18-35Mbps. Some users who ported from other Celcom plans are also seeing markedly lower Internet speeds, which suggests that there is a hidden speed cap on this plan.
Yesterday, we conducted our own speed tests in Kuala Lumpur using the First Basic 38 and compared it to a now-defunct First One plan. Our results were consistent with what many users were experiencing on the First Basic 38 plan, with speed tests showing that it was maxing out at around 6Mbps. On the other hand, the First One plan easily went beyond 20Mbps peaks in speed tests.
Of course, a speed cap of 6-7Mbps and a constant low ping (anywhere between 22-37ms, based on users’ speed tests) should still mean a relatively smooth browsing experience. What irks a lot of users, many of whom are actually okay with the slower speeds, is the fact that this apparent speed cap isn’t reflected in Celcom’s T&Cs or FAQ for the First Basic 38 plan.
There is a chance that the slower speed may be due to the influx of new users porting in to Celcom, thus congesting the network. However, the fact that users’ speed test results are yielding consistent rates of 6-7Mbps is a strong indication that Celcom may not be disclosing all details about this plan.
In an interesting twist, earlier today word began spreading that users were beginning to see markedly higher results in speed tests, hitting peaks of 35Mbps on LTE. We found similar results when we ran speed tests on our own First Basic 38 SIM, suggesting that the speed cap has been lifted. Either that, or Celcom has finally allocated enough bandwidth to sustain the increased user base.
Regardless, Celcom has remained quiet in our numerous attempts to contact them over this matter since last week. But with the speed cap gone, Celcom’s new postpaid plan looks like quite a winner for consumers.