Over the past few years, telcos in Malaysia have begun to introduce unlimited mobile plans to consumers. The general idea behind these plans is so that customers don’t have to worry about hitting the data limit when they are enjoying the content that they love on their phones.
In other words, they don’t have to keep on replenishing their Internet pass. However, this does not mean customers can leave the data flowing like a leaky pipe because unlimited plans are still bound to something called Fair Usage Policy (FUP).
WHAT IS THE FAIR USAGE POLICY?
In its essence, FUP is a very simple concept: a common FUP usually states that a telco reserves the right to step in if it deemed that a customer is using its service in an abusive or unusual manner and beyond the behaviours of a typical consumer.
The intervention may come in several forms including but not limited to temporary speed reduction and connection termination.
Truth be told, there is nothing new about FUP. In fact, FUP is an industry-wide practise that has been adopted by telcos throughout the world including in Malaysia.
WHAT KIND OF USAGES THAT IS CONSIDERED AS ABUSIVE?
Right off the bat, a typical misuse of an unlimited mobile plan would be abnormal data consumption.
Users that breached the FUP through this manner usually downloaded large files non-stop for hours or even days. In more extreme cases, there are users who treat their unlimited mobile plan as if it is a wireless broadband service.
Made possible via unauthorised mod, such users may use the SIM card that linked with the mobile plan with a wireless broadband router or 4G modem instead of a phone. From there, they would then share the unlimited data provided by their mobile plan with other devices throughout their home.
Just to put things into perspective, the amount of data that would flow through in an hour with a 6Mbps connection is around 2.7GB which is quite huge when it comes to consumption through smartphones. Why 6Mbps, you may ask? This is because it is the maximum speed that you would get for most of the unlimited mobile plans that are available in our market.
On another hand, there are also users who exploited the unlimited mobile plan by using the plan’s unlimited call and SMS feature to perform spam calls and mass messages or any commercial-oriented operation. Such usages are prohibited under the FUP as well.
WHY DOES THE FAIR USAGE POLICY EXISTS?
Most local telcos estimate that around 70% to 80% of the bandwidth are being conquered by just 5% to 10% of their users which sounds rather unfair to the other 90% to 95% of the population. That alone showed the importance of FUP which is meant to protect the interests of both customers and telco.
The FUP exists so that a telco can deliver high-quality services to all of its customers in an equal manner. Similarly, FUP also ensures that all customers are able to have a great experience with the telco’s service and not just certain users.
After all, bandwidth is a finite resource that is being shared by everyone in the network which has its own maximum capacity. Hence, if one particular user is hogging all of the network’s bandwidth, naturally it would affect the experience of other users within the network.
FAIR USAGE POLICY IN ACTION
One of the recent examples in regards to FUP is the newly refreshed Unlimited Internet Pass for Celcom’s Xpax Prepaid service. Priced at RM38, the 30-days Unlimited Internet Pass has a FUP limit of 60GB while the 7-days Unlimited Internet Pass which costs RM15 is capped at 20GB according to the policy.
For the Xpax Unlimited Internet Pass, hitting the FUP limit does not mean customers would be disconnected from the network though. Far from it, in fact.
Regardless of whether a user hits the FUP limit of the monthly or weekly pass, their speed may be reduced to 512kbps which still allows him or her to browse websites and utilise most apps out there. Customers can still enjoy Unlimited Internet and the speed reduction would remain until the pass expires and the FUP counter would then be reset when the customer purchases the Unlimited Internet Pass in the following week or month.
Here is a handy table that Celcom has published in the FAQ section of its website that depicts the activities allowing users to engage in before and after hitting the FUP limit:
HOW TO AVOID HITTING THE FUP LIMIT?
Now, you might be wondering: is it possible to accidentally hit the FUP limit even though you never intend to abuse your unlimited mobile plan? Well, the answer is, yes.
In order to avoid that from happening to you, you may want to make it a habit not to download large files app updates or large-sized games through your mobile data. That being said, your phone would usually put up a warning whenever you tried to download the update or game and other types of large-sized files via mobile data.
In addition to that, you should also turn on the data saver functionalities in your apps especially those social media and streaming apps that are heavy on video content. Some of these apps such as Netflix may have a dedicated data saver feature which makes it easier to be activated.
For some apps such as YouTube (shown above), you may have to dive into their settings and toggle several options including auto-play and video quality. Not to forget, you also may want to disable the auto-download setting for attachments in messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram.
Even with the new FUP, you still get to enjoy a better Internet experience with the new Xpax Unlimited Internet Pass. Specifically, the new RM15 pass now offers a much faster speed than before while the new RM38 pass also offers a dedicated 5GB data allocation with an uncapped speed that allows users to activate upon demand to stream video in higher resolution and faster downloads.
It also comes with free six months of iQIYI VIP access for you to enjoy the latest anime, movies, and series from all over Asia including South Korea, China, Japan, and even Malaysia. You can find out more about the new Xpax Unlimited Internet Pass at celcom.com.my.
This article is brought to you by Celcom.