Globe WiMax in the Philippines - A Review
Globe WiMax in the Philippines
This is a review of my recently enrolled wireless broadband internet connection. The information provided here is on the basis of our actual unbiased experience from this technology.
WiMAX, meaning Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is a telecommunications technology that provides wireless transmission of data using a variety of transmission modes, from point-to-multipoint links to portable and fully mobile internet access. The technology provides up to 3 Mbit/s broadband speed without the need for cables. The technology is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard (also called Broadband Wireless Access). The name "WiMAX" was created by the WiMAX Forum, which was formed in June 2001 to promote conformity and interoperability of the standard. The forum describes WiMAX as "a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL". Wikipedia
This Wimax by Globe Telecoms in the Philippines was recently launched only despite claims by most telecom companies here that much have been done to test the system more than a year ago. Telecom is a 200B business here in the Philippines and it is definitely a race to launch ahead of competition. Globe telecoms was first to launch theirs. Another equally big competitor, Smart Telecoms will launch in the next few months. A new entry, Liberty telecoms - who operated mostly two-way trunked systems was recently acquired by beverage giant San Miguel Corporation - will roll out their WiMax system next year. This friendly competition will only bring about - in the end - more choices for the consumer and eventually cheaper services.
We used to be enrolled in a DSL program bundled to our phone line by another telco provider - Digitel. Our package is 128kbps download / 64kbps upload. Well, what do you expect - it definitely is a far cry - or should be - with the Globe promotion of 1Mbps max data transfers. Digitel - while we have been loyal for the last two years - came up with faster speeds at cheaper packages but failed to upgrade loyal customers. To date, this marketing strategy seem to forget the tenet that loyal customers are harder to find. Thus we gave this Globe wimax a spin - to top this offering, globe offered a money back guarantee for one month if you are not satisfied - great marketing ploy!
The Application for the Program
There was not even the need to call the Globe office nor go personally to apply. The roll-out meant some enterprising companies took on the Globe challenge and went house-to-house for a nearly instant connection - no money involved. Money back guarantee if not satisfied! In two days - it should be just same day or the following day, the modem or CPE (customer premise equipment) was installed together with a small aerial antenna beamed at their cell site which was only 500 meters from our place - no reason to get a poor signal. The service we enrolled in pay a little over 20 USD for 1Mbps - data only or 995.00Php.
My children were as excited as I was. This should be lightning fast compared to our DSL! Well, bad news for my children - Globe implemented traffic shaping - or in layman's better understanding like mine - means some services like P2P peer to peer downloads are throttled down to 20% only of maximum capability. Browsing was ok but not as fast as we expected. Streaming those videos from you-tube was not that fast either. In fairness to Globe, my internet phone via Magic Jack was so clear that you would think it was a local US call - with Digitel it was barely usable. There were daily occasional outages in signal and considering the we are very near the wireless source, this does not seem to be acceptable at all. Wimax should cover a better footprint in signal.
My bandwidth monitor notes a steady stream for VOIP. I guess globe will protect and enhance this service, and likely configure their network for VOIP as the CPE can handle a phone line too. We just did not get this option as there were interconnection charges to other phone line. This is expected as telcos fight it out for market share. This will hopefully be resolved in the future.
For heavy users of VOIP, via Yahoo messenger, skype, vonnage or Magic Jack - you guys are in for a treat. For the younger generation of P2P fanatics - this is not recommended. For regular browsing - this is acceptable. For our streaming video experience - we have had better experience with PLDT. For users of Digitel, anything other than their service is a welcome treat.
In the final analysis, your use and preferences determine the service you want or the program you should enroll. All systems go through some birth pains and all companies have their priorities also. These just need to match our own requirements. For now, and on the basis of our 2 weeks experience - my children says thumbs down unless Globe address the basic issue of traffic shaping, and intermittent disconnections.