By the numbers: P1 4G vs Yes 4G

Posted:  April 21, 2011   By:    29 comments   


A couple of weeks back, P1 together with ZTE organised a demonstration to showcase the capabilities of LTE in Malaysia. This strikes us as rather odd because since its inception P1 has been a strong proponent of WiMAX.

Its CEO, Michael Lai, has often been quoted as saying that P1 “will live and die with WiMAX” and that LTE stands for “late to evolve” rather than long-term evolution aggressively campaigning that WiMAX is the superior technology.

Why the sudden change then? Why condemn a technology and then flip 180 to adopt it? Could it be that P1 is having difficulties in getting its WiMAX network to work the way that they want it? Or are they looking for an edge to get a one up over its closest rival, Yes 4G? Or is it simply a case of the CEO making a bold statement without the benefit of foresight?

Whatever the reason may be, the message is clear, P1’s open demonstration of LTE marks a significant shift in the operator’s strategy, whatever that strategy may be.

Speaking of strategies, while the Government’s move to offer WiMAX in Malaysia has generally been seen as a bold step forward, most of the operators in which it has entrusted with the WiMAX spectrum have faltered. Out of the original four operators that were offered a WiMAX spectrum by the government, only two remain — P1 and Yes.

Between these two operators, which one is leading the 4G race? We attempt to answer this question by looking at the numbers.

P1 has long proclaimed that it is the leading WiMAX operator in the country. Having being the first WiMAX operator to offer its services to the public, there is no denying that they are pioneers in this field but its leadership proposition is not as clear.

Coverage
Network coverage is one of the main pillars of success for any mobile operator and despite having a two year lead over Yes, P1’s 45% population coverage is much less than its competitor’s (Yes claims to have 65% population coverage). It is also important to mention here that coverage quality is also an important aspect and in this respect, we’ve often find ourselves able to effortlessly log on to Yes in more places than P1.

Where Yes really shines is with its in building coverage. In building penetration — or the lack of it — is a well-known issue with WiMAX networks but it seems that Yes has managed to overcome this.

Almost always when we are deep inside a building and not expecting to get any reception from the Yes network, we were pleasantly surprised. Not only can we connect to the internet with Yes in rooms where there are no windows but the performance is good as well.

In addition to this, Yes has data coverage spanning almost the entire length of the North-South Expressway — an amazing feat by any standard. So that’s a point for Yes.

Score: P1 — 0 | Yes — 1

Mobility
P1 is the only wireless network operator in the country (irrespective of technology) that has yet to offer seamlessly mobile connectivity. While P1 claim that they are offer mobile broadband, the truth is their service should be more accurately referred to as nomadic.

This means so long as you’re within the coverage area of a base station, you are able to move around in that coverage area and still get connectivity. If you hop from one base station to the next, like when you’re traveling in a car for example, you will find that the connectivity will drop as you move from one base station to another.

Yes, does not have this problem. Its network is able to deliver seamless mobility from one base station to the other to give users an uninterrupted date stream.
Notch another point for Yes.

Score: P1 — 0 | Yes — 2

Devices
In terms of devices, both operators are pretty evenly matched, each offering a USB dongle, a home gateway and a 4G MiFi. In addition to this, Yes also offers a 4G mobile phone and has mentioned that they are working on an Android smartphone that will be launched later this year. P1 on the other has a range of WiMAX enabled notebooks and netbooks in their device arsenal.

Going into specifics, speaking from our own experience, we feel that the Yes USB dongle is better in terms of design and ease of use because unlike the bulky P1 equivalent, the Yes USB dongle is slim and comes with a USB head that pivots to accommodate various USB port configurations.

In comparison, the P1 USB dongle is much bigger and is connected using a USB cable, which can be a bit of a hassle when you want to get connected in a jiff.

But this is our own opinion and it’s a subjective matter as some might prefer using the cable instead, so we will give a point to each.

Score: P1 — 1 | Yes — 3

Services
In addition to wireless broadband, both operators offer voice services as well but this where the similarities end. While P1’s voice service is fixed and limited to its home gateway users, Yes’ voice service is mobile and can be used across all the devices that it offers.

On top of that, Yes has developed an application that you can download for free called Yes Life. What this application does is it allows you to make and receive phone calls and SMS from your PC. The application also allows you to store your contacts in a cloud address book where it is accessible from any PC with Yes Life installed. You can also access this cloud-based address book from the Yes Buzz mobile phone.

Yes also offers a web-based email account and calendar client simply called Yes Mail. All this services are offered for free.

It doesn’t stop there. With Yes you can use one account to connect to multiple devices. For example with just one account can connect to the Yes USB dongle, the Yes MiFi and home gateway to go online simultaneously. You can even connect multiple device of the same kind using one account. Meaning one account can access the internet using two Yes USB dongles on two separate computers at the same time.

One scenario where this is useful is when you’re a family man with kids who have their own computers. It’s possible for you to give each a Yes USB dongle but have them all connected to one account with means you don’t have to pay multiple monthly fees for each device.

With P1, each device is tied to its own separate account. Meaning, if we take the above scenario as a example, father who buys separate P1 USB dongles for his children would have to pay for separate monthly accounts, one for each dongle which means additional cost.

So in terms of services, we’ll give a point to Yes.

Score: P1 — 1 | Yes — 4

Plans and Packages
If we calculate based on data usage alone this is where P1 outshines Yes, offering one of the cheapest bulk data rates in the country. But if you take into account that Yes has the potential to combine your home and mobile data and to a certain extent, your mobile phone accounts all in one, the argument for P1 is not as strong.

Having said that, we feel that most will use Yes for data at the moment so we will evaluate Yes in that respect. In addition, with its pay-per-use model Yes is not a service that heavy downloaders will use because even with rebates and valuepacks that offer data at a discounted rate, it’s difficult to match against the big quota low price offering of P1.

But before you consider it a close and shut case, we must point out that Yes allows you to carry forward all your unused data, talk time, SMS indefinitely. For example if you’ve purchased a RM68 valuepack which gives you 3.5GB of data, 150 minutes of talk time and 150 SMS, and you only use 1GB of data for that month, you can carry forward all the unused data, talk time and SMS to the next month and the month after that, provided you continue purchasing valuepacks each month. If you fail to continue to purchase a valuepack, you will lose all your accumulated data, talk time and SMS.

For low to medium users this is a great feature as it gives them the flexibility to use the data, talk time and SMS that they’ve purchased to the fullest, so we’ll give one point each.

Score: P1 — 2 | Yes — 5

At the end of the day
And that brings us to a final tally of P1 — 2 and Yes — 5.

So in the 4G space, it looks like things are not looking as rosy as it used to for P1. While previously leading in a one-horse race, P1 now have Yes to contend with. With more coverage, a better network, mobile data and voice plus multi-device connectivity using one account, there is a lot to like about Yes but it is not without its flaws.

Yes’ pay-per-use model is unattractive to heavy users and its customer service still needs a lot of work to get right, but even with these flaws in mind Yes delivers where it matters most and that is in its performance.

So in that respect and based on our own user experience, we feel that Yes is the better 4G operator. In fact, when it comes to mobile data, Yes probably is one of the best service providers out there.

Not bad for a brand that’s not even six months old.

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29 Comments for By the numbers: P1 4G vs Yes 4G

Derek Tan

I somehow feel your comparison is biased. YES is using a prepaid model while P1 is using a postpaid+prepaid. Out of the 150k subs, I doubt all of them are active paying subs. YES pre-activate a lot of students in local university and are all of them active paying subs? I guess not. So the definition of subs for P1 and YES are kind of different. YES claims they have the BUZZ phone but how many users are there (that are paying to use the service)? And for the plan and package, this is where i spotted the biasness, YES is definitely a loser in this category as it's the most expensive mobile broadband provider in Malaysia. I'm a loyal fan of your blog but this comparison you make is really disappointing. By the way I'm a P1 user for nearly 2 years now …

    anon

    U hvnt said anything about the 2 most important aspect in wimax: speed & coverage. Why cos P1 is surely worse. U cant deny it anymore…consumers knows best…

    150k subs? Buzz not a lot ppl using? so? bcos these TWO only reasons P1 is a winner. Coverage & speed can forget aldy?

    Bias or just plain stupid?

      ABC

      This Derek is a new breed of user that speed and coverage is no longer important in today's world.

    jon

    been using yes and its better than my unifi which is so inconsistent!

Vincent Lee

SOYACINCAU.COM is famous for bias with YES. I suspect they are YES personnel.

Please don't trust SOYACINCAU.COM.

Michael Tan

Derek Lai… Michael Tan…

Jason

Green Packet is a marketing company, they are good at securing Funds, create marketing buzz, etc, but extremely lousy with the most important thing- their networks. So, even they switch to TD-LTE, it will be equally bad. YES 4G is a bit expensive, but for light user like me, it suits me. I potong my Streamyx and save around RM55 per month. However, Customer service and web experience are still sub-par. I foresee eventually both will switch to TD-LTE, but not in the near future as LTE equipments/devices are currently few times more costly than wimax's.However, I really want wimax to succeed to break the 3GPP monopoly. Google and Apple please help.

poji

can't wait for LTE…….

Chorwin

Pretty good review, and I do feel the rating sound fair from consumer standpoint. Anyway, for Yes to grow the mobile service, it still need to roll out more phone model, instead of the buzz. They announce there will be android phone for Yes 4g, let wait and see it.

Guest

I bought the Yes Zoom package. Here is what I found out in terms of coverage and speed from 3 different locations. The test were done on different days and different time of the day and average out.

Kelana Jaya DL 4MB UP 1MB
USJ Taipan DL 0.8MB UP 1MB
Kota Kemuning DL 5MB UP 1.3MB

Awang

4G but not mobile? Something not right somewhere. How can this happen when.it has always been possible with 3G? How would this happen?

Passthru

IMHO, this is a somewhat unfair comparison of P1 and YES.

Coverage:
Yup, YES has wider coverage from the day 1 of their service. Spending RM2b+ gets you that, and a bit more. Where did that money came from?? Answer is that it's from you, from me, and from everyone in the peninsular Malaysia. How? YTL Power. Need to say more?

Mobility:
P1 launched their service 2 years earlier than YES. No WiMAX mobile phones in Malaysia at that time, and only 1 now. Where is that great need for mobility yet? Is your usage pattern in the mobility group or the nomadic group? Granted, YES is supposed to launch an Android WiMAX phone soon. But let's see the uptake first. Will it have a SIM card slot? Or will you be stuck forever and ever to YES if you have to stay with the phone that though subsidized, won't be cheap?
So why the hurry to award points in this one?

Devices:
A point each? Now, come on. Because YES has WiMAX phone, and P1 has WiMax-enabled laptops? Question: which one of devices mentioned can be quickly adopted by P1/YES? A WiMAX phone can easily be offered by P1. The WiMAX-enabled laptop, however, can't be supported by YES' network.
So, still a point each?

Plans and packages:
Again, a point each. Seriously? Quote: " If you fail to continue to purchase a valuepack, you will lose all your accumulated data, talk time and SMS." So you'll be stuck to the RM68 commitment. Eventually, elephant-glue kind of stuck.

Services:
No contest. YES is better.

Ok, rant over. Back to my UMBB.

    Thrusting

    Your point is P1 is better because there's no need for mobility and wimax laptop is more important? Those 2 can't fit in the same sentence. The RM68 is not a contract my friend, it will go back to prepaid rate after that.

Jamie

This entry is so biased I almost thought this a subpage from yes.com.my

Price factor alone will give P1 a 10 and 1 to YES. And what's more important if not price factor when it comes to consumer?

I am a P1 user, paying RM99 per month for 20GB usage. Yes, the stupid device is huge to bring around but seriously, how much do I have to pay YES for 20GB usage??

    Hadi

    Price is important but it is not the only factor. Being wireless, you also need to take account of performance and availability of service. These 2 alone, Yes is much superior and P1 being in the business for so long is lagging behind. Being a 4G service provider, I don't know why P1 cannot provide mobile connection. P1 will keep on disconnecting and reconnecting if you're on the train or car. If you can give P1 10 points for being cheap of offering 20GB, should Streamyx be given 100 points for unlimited?

    You also forget that Yes allow multiple login with just 1 account. With P1 you have to pay additional RM30 per month for extra modem. P1 also can't bring forward unused data which result wastage.

Paku

P1 10 points? They service keep down and always snail speed. Give me so many GB is useless if slower than 3G!

Paku

I dare all P1 subscriber to post their speedtest and see who is better! Prove Yes is slower before you make empty rants.

ahsiang

at the end of day, all have to un-potong to go back to streamyx, because streamyx not implement cap yet :P

Disgrunted

My only issue with yes is the pricing. It just cost too much for me but I still keep yes for emergency use when my streamyx fails it. I've been using it for 2 months and I had to say that it is faster for both downloading and uploading. What I like is it is almost everywhere. Last time when P1 launched their W1ggY, they claim to offer 10Mbps which is nothing but a lie. Then they give excuses that it is best case scenario and average is only 3Mbps. 3Mbps from 10Mbps is a big difference.

When yes was launched, I had the same stigma because they are using wimax. But later I was surprised that Yes is actually better and I can reach more than 10Mbps. Now I'm very convinced it is not the problem of the technology as Yes managed to deliver 10Mbps which P1 had failed with so many excuses given. I remember P1 to search for signal is harder than searching for water. Even my friends who use Maxis broadband laugh at me.

I hope Yes will bring down the price. Last time 10GB from P1 was RM149 for their so called 10Mbps W1ggy that is same price as Yes 10GB today. Maybe after several years they will start to reduce the price like how P1 did.

Peter Chua

Well P1 doesn't that bad. I'm still using P1 right now and it quite good so far.

EnufSaid

I remember there was a saying "Consumer doesn't mind paying for better speed broadband". Well here it comes the better and faster broadband, and yet you guys are still arguing about pricing. And some idiots doesn't know that mobility comes with a price to pay. Better speed saves you time and time is gold.

Jerry

when p1 reaches quota limit…the speed drops but you can still surf. When YES reached quota limit, there is no more connection. You have to reload to be able to be connected to the internet again. both concepts are fair for consumer market. BUT…with P1 at least you get to use the internet, but just that the speed is slow. better than paying more for as you use more.

    WTF

    BEfore p1 reach quota limit, already slow. Reach limit also slow. So slow better dont use internet

tokwanz

hi~ i had tried both of the device. I tried to find a way to change my streamyx – which is currently quite slow at my area to other service provider hopefully i'll be able to get more speed.
i download series of files using the three of them.. at my area here is the result
streamyx – 250-260kbs (2mb service)
p1wimax – 250-300kbs *using dx230
yes – 1.5mbs using hubble..
in terms of speed – YES prove to be the best.. but somehow it is expensive!!! :(
wish that they can lower down their rate

    mystro

    Yes is better then p1 in every espect except for pricing but atleast yes fulfilled its promise when it said its faster then 3G

Shahrir

ahahahahha.. very funny…….. some say YES… some say P1…….. right now i'm using YES…. and it's extreamly fast……….. i know that YES 4G is expensive, but the quality of the network (speed) makes my job on the go run faster…… Maintaining my customers data center at anywhare……. even i'm in toilet.. hahahahaha

Jonathan

I just bought Yes…. Hahaha

max

up to u. if u want high speed u can choice yes… if u want cheap u choice p1