Thursday, March 31, 2011

Maxis updates its HSBB broadband plans

Maxis launched it’s HSBB service late October last year but you might not be aware of this because it is not as heavily promoted as their mobile broadband offerings. Initially, Maxis had offered only one plan offering a 6Mbps line plus VOIP for RM118/month for existing Maxis and RM158/month for non-Maxis subscribers.
Today, Maxis updated it’s HSBB service with three new plans — 4Mbps with 30GB quota for RM128/month, 6Mbps with 60GB quota for RM158/month and 10Mbps with 60GB quota 100GB quota for RM218/month with varying monthly data quotas. All the plans include VOIP which requires a RM75 deposit (RM300 if you’re not a Malaysian resident).
In addition to the broadband and VOIP packages, Maxis is offering value added services that include music downloads, internet security, IPTV and an integrated inbox. All these offerings however come with separate charges. For more details head on over to Maxis.
Click for larger image
On top of that, Maxis is offering preferential rates to its FTTH customers who would like to sign-up for its 3G broadband service. Based on the previous offering from Maxis, this updated offer is more expensive but does offer a free 3G MiFi if you subscribe to a higher monthly plan.
But having said that, even the add-on 3G plans that offer just a USB dongle has increased in price where previously, you can get a 1.5GB/month 3G broadband plan for RM20, the new plan charges over double that — RM48 for 1.5GB/month.
Similar to UniFi, Maxis charges for RM200 installation for its high-speed broadband plans and all plans come with 24-months contract. Unlike UniFi however, where the equipment that you get is similar no matter what plan you subscribe to, with Maxis, different plans give you different equipment and depending on what equipment you get, you might have to consider the additional cost of purchasing more equipment to make full use of the services offered by the Maxis HSBB plan.
For example, from what it says on the website, if you subscribe to the cheapest Maxis HSBB plan — which is the 4Mbps RM128/month — you get an Aztech (yes, Aztech) DECT phone. This means you’ll have to purchase a FTTH modem separately. This is weird considering the fact that most people would have a phone already so it would make more sense just to offer a FTTH gateway across the board to make the entry cost low.
It looks to us that Maxis is trying to force customers to purchase the more expansive plans because it looks more attractive as the entry costs are low (you don’t have to buy a gateway). In the the long term however, subscription cost is high but more lucrative to Maxis.

Also, do note that this is stated in the terms and conditions
The first 15 metres of fibre cable to the Customers’ premise is free. Should the length required at Customers’ premises exceed the said allocated amount, the extra charges will be borne by the Customer.
So if your premise requires special or additional cabling, you will have to fork out additional cash.
Comparing Maxis HSBB with UniFi
While we work on a more detailed analysis, just by looking at the numbers, UniFi looks to us like the better buy, offering a good balance of generous equipment package, comparable speeds and data quota plus more value-added services thrown in. But of course this is not definitive, we will have to crunch the numbers to see which HSBB plan really does offer you better value for money.
Maxis HSBB WebTV offering
Currently only five channels are available via Maxis’ HSBB WebTV service, much less than what UniFi has with its HyppTV service. These five channels offered by Maxis are free for three months, though Maxis didn’t say how much it will cost after the three months are up.
The thing that we don’t understand is that considering Maxis and Astro are like “cousins” — because both entities are under the same umbrella group — why can’t Maxis offer a more compelling suite of channels in its IPTV service? No doubt that there are various factors at play here but as a business, if both look at the tremendous gains they could get over the competition by working together, it would negate any downsides that may arise (cannibalism of customers etc). From this perspective, Maxis’ WebTV is rather disappointing. Let’s hope Maxis will ramp up their IPTV content offering post-haste in the coming months.

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