Compared: Fibre broadband services in Malaysia — TM vs TIME vs Maxis vs Celcom

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UPDATE: We’ve updated the comparison to include TM’s new 100Mbps UniFi Pro plan.

UPDATE 2: Celcom’s Home Broadband joins the fray.

After the initial telco price war, it seems the battle has spilt over into the realm of fixed broadband services as the big-three fibre broadband service providers in Malaysia clash. The question is, which one is the best for you?

Don’t worry because, as usual, we’ve got you covered.

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We saw strong offerings from the four major players in the fibre broadband industry, but as with most plans, there are pros and cons to each plan. Let’s dive into each one and see if we can find which is the best.

TM UniFi

TM kicked things off by upping their UniFi game to the current UniFi Advance plan which offers 30Mbps download speeds for RM179. If you desire more speed, you can opt for the upgrade to 50Mbps for RM50 extra. TM also have a new UniFi Pro plan that offers speeds up to 100Mbps.

Much like the original VIP UniFi plans, you will also get a free HyppTV subscription though only for the base channels. If you’re a big TV or movie buff, TM’s UniFi also offers a 1-year free subscription to local streaming service iflix worth RM96. With iflix, you get access to a moderately large catalogue of old and some relatively new shows that you can binge, including exclusives like Mr Robot.

Opting for the UniFi Pro plan gives you additional benefits on top of those that you get with the UniFi Advance plans. Firstly, the UniFi Pro plan comes with a free Voice Call voice bundle (worth RM20) that gives you 600 mins of calls, beyond which you will be charged 10sen/min to mobile and other fixed lines (calls to TM fixed lines remain free). You also get a free 3-month access pass to Viu — a streaming site that offers Korean dramas, varriety shows and other asian programs.

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There is a caveat, however. With UniFi Advance and Pro, your download and upload speeds are not symmetrical, meaning for the base RM179 plan, you will be getting 30Mbps download speeds but only 10Mbps upload speeds. The same goes for the 50Mbps which have its upload speed limited to 20Mbps and the 100Mbps Pro plan which has it’s upload speeds limited to 50Mbps.

Do keep in mind that these prices for the UniFi Advance and Pro plans are still under a promo price (original prices: RM199 (30Mbps), RM249 (50Mbps), RM329 (100Mbps) so the original prices are a tad higher. While TM has extended the promotional period for the UniFi Advance plans in the past, it remains unclear if they will do so for the “early bird promo” price for the UniFi Pro plan.

TIME Fibre

TIME, on the other hand, released their latest range of broadband services with symmetrical speeds of up to 500Mbps for RM299. If you don’t want to pay the premium for 500Mbps, they also have lower tier plans rated at 100Mbps and 300Mbps that costs RM149 and RM189 respectively.

With TIME, you don’t get many luxuries in terms of add-ons, just raw Internet speed. In this aspect, TIME is unmatched by the other local fibre broadband operators, but, they have their hands tied when it comes to coverage as TIME’s services only extend to 250,000 ports nationwide. Most of TIME’s ports can be found in apartments and condos so if you’re living on a landed property, odds are, you won’t be able to subscribe to TIME.

MaxisONE Home

Maxis are notorious for not participating in price wars, instead, opting to improve customer service and reliability. With that in mind, Maxis launched their latest MaxisONE Home fibre broadband plans which focus on customer service and installation experience.

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What they’ve come up with is the Maxperts which, in their own words. are a “SWAT-like team of Internet experts” who specialise in optimising your Internet connection. We can see how this is useful for those who are less than tech-savvy, but if you are anything like us, the services these Maxperts provide become much less valuable as you could probably do the optimising yourself.

In true Maxis fashion, their fibre plans are the most expensive in this comparison. For the base 20Mbps plan, Maxis are charging RM170/month while the 30Mbps plan is going for RM220/month. You will also have to be subscribed to a MaxisONE Plan (excluding the MaxisONE Plan Lite) before you are eligible to subscribe to the MaxisONE Home.

To make matters worse, the prices mentioned above are after a special promo discount for MaxisONE Plan 128 and above customers. That means, if you’re a MaxisONE Plan 98 subscriber, you will still have to pay the full price of RM198 for 20Mbps, RM270 for 30Mbps and RM398 for 100Mbps.

Speaking of the 100Mbps plan, this plan is only available within Maxis’ own area of coverage (which reaches 75,000 ports) and does not extend to the ports they share with TM. Besides that, you will have to be a MaxisONE Plan 158, 188, MaxisONE Business and MaxisONE Business Extra to be eligible for the RM330/month price.

Celcom Home Broadband

Celcom became the latest player to join the recent home fibre network race when they released their Home Broadband service. After their earlier agreement with TM, Celcom can now utilise TM’s HSBB network to provide home fibre broadband plans to their customers.

Their plan offers a speed of 10Mbps for RM145/month. The caveat is that this plan is only available for Celcom FIRST Gold subscribers in the Klang Valley area.

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That said, the plan itself isn’t that attractive. If you’re only interested in paying the bare minimum for fibre Internet connectivity and are a Celcom FIRST Gold subscriber, then perhaps this plan could be for you. Celcom are also offering a 50% discount for the first six months of your Home Broadband subscription so that could be quite attractive for the user on a budget.

However, if you’re a moderate or above user, you’d be better off topping up a little bit extra for two or three times faster speeds with Maxis Fibre or UniFi. You could also just top up RM4 for 100Mbps if you happen to find yourself within TIME’s coverage area.

Conclusion

In all honesty, these four companies aren’t exactly direct competitors because (especially in the case of TIME) you either have one or the other. Besides Maxis, Celcom and TM, these services rarely overlap.

That said, it is worth taking a look at who can provide the most well-rounded package out there. If it was up to me and I could choose between these three services, I would pick TIME. I’m a heavy Internet user so all I care about is Internet speed and stability — I don’t need all the extra goodies like IPTV bundles and calls or streaming subscriptions.

But, I’m willing to bet that not many share my usage habits. So, if I were to consider the average household — including family members, guests, children, etc. — TM’s UniFi Advance and Pro plans provide the most well-rounded fibre experience.

They’ve got free iflix (which my mum loves to watch old movies on), clear free-to-air TV channels (which my dad loves), and a fast enough download speed + low latency for my gaming needs. A decent compromise that will probably tick the most boxes for the average family.

Which plan would you pick?

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