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[UPDATE] Hotlink quietly slows down internet for users to 512kbps after 8pm, blames it on MCO

[ UPDATE 01/02/2021 13:15 ]: Maxis has issued a response on the matter and clarified that the “FUP due to MCO” response was a miscommunication. However, it admits that Hotlink users are subjected to network traffic management from 8pm to 12am. More details here.

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If you thought Hotlink’s Prepaid Unlimited 50GB Fair Usage Policy (FUP) fiasco was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. It appears that Maxis is now throttling all Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited users to a measly 512kbps for 4 hours per day.

A user had brought this issue to our attention after getting confirmation with a Maxis customer service representative on WhatsApp. According to the representative, the new “Fair Usage Policy” was introduced due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) and users will be limited to just 512kbps from 8pm to 12am daily. This appears to be applicable to both Unlimited 3Mbps (RM35/month) and 6Mbps (RM45/month) users.

One of our colleagues had recently noticed that he couldn’t stream HD videos on his Hotlink unlimited 6Mbps plan in the evening. Initially, he thought it could be a network issue but now it is clear that Maxis has been throttling the speed on purpose.

To make matters worse, you are still throttled even if you’ve purchased a data add-on. From the looks of it, it’s clear that most users were caught unaware of the new policy. Imagine paying for 6Mbps but you’re only getting 1/12 the speeds from 8pm to 12am.

According to the Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited page, users can expect HD (720p) streaming on the 3Mbps plan and Full HD (1080p) on the 6Mbps option. The supposed 512kbps throttling between 8pm to 12am is not mentioned anywhere on its website, T&C and FAQ at the time of writing.

SEE ALSO:  MCO violators can be fined up to RM10,000 from 11th March under amended Emergency Ordinance

The current FAQ clearly states that the FUP for high-speed data is limited to 5GB for daily pass, 15GB for weekly pass and 50GB of monthly pass. There’s no mention of any time restrictions and users should be getting their full speeds if they didn’t hit the specified quota.

Source: Hotlink Facebook

The new throttling policy in the name of FUP is totally unfair to consumers. This is a clear violation of the General Consumer Code and MCMC should take further action to protect consumers. Not only did Maxis failed to inform customers of the new policy but it isn’t mentioned anywhere on their website, FAQ and terms and conditions.

It is appalling for Maxis to quietly restrict users and to use the MCO as an excuse. The MCO is meant to restrict movement to contain the pandemic, not for telcos to impose data speed limits.

It seems that Maxis is freely imposing restrictions according to their whims and fancies. If their network struggles to cope with demand during the MCO, perhaps Maxis shouldn’t have offered unlimited plans in the first place. Why promise something that they can’t deliver?

We’ve reached out to Maxis for clarification and we will update this post once we have more info.

If you’re unhappy with the policy, you can file a complaint with the MCMC via the Aduan SKMM portal under “Misrepresentation of Service” for false advertising.

Thanks @leekokwan for the tip!

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Alexander Wong