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Compared: Which fibre broadband provider cost the most to terminate within contract?

Most fibre broadband plans in Malaysia typically come with a 24-month contract in exchange for free router with no additional upfront payment required. But what happens if you need to terminate your fibre broadband during the contract due to unforeseen circumstances?

To find out, we’ve compared the contract termination policies of our main fibre broadband providers such as TM Unifi, Maxis, Time, Digi and Celcom. The information are obtained from their respective FAQ and T&C, with additional clarification from the broadband providers themselves.

Unifi

TM Unifi is Malaysia’s pioneer nationwide broadband provider and they have fibre access to about 5 million premises in Malaysia. When it comes to termination, TM has updated its termination penalty which varies depending on when you subscribe to their Unifi Home Fibre plan.

As clarified by TM, users who subscribed before 2018 would only need to pay a one-off RM500 penalty if they wish to terminate within the 24-month period. However, subscribers from 2018 onwards, you’ll have to pay the remaining months of their package subscription.

That’s a huge difference under the revised terms and you’ll have to fork out significantly more if you terminate much earlier during your contract period. For example, if you’re on a plan that costs RM199/month, the penalty would be RM1,990 if you have 10 months remaining or RM995 if you have 5 more months to go.

For those who are on Unifi Lite (aka Streamyx), the penalty within contract is a one-off RM350.

However, if you are terminating because you are moving to an area without Unifi Fibre broadband coverage, TM will be able to waive the penalty charges for you. If you’re in this situation, you can request for a waiver and this provides flexibility especially for customers staying in rented homes.

To terminate your subscription, do note that you must provide a 30 day notice and you’ll also need to return the BTU (Broadband Termination Unit), which is the device that is connected between your wireless router and the fibre port. If you fail to return the BTU at your nearest TMpoint, there’s a penalty of RM500.

Maxis

Maxis is probably the biggest challenger to Unifi as it boasts having the widest fibre broadband access in Malaysia by tapping into TM’s HSBB, Sarawak’s SACOFA, Celcom Timur Sabah and TNB’s Allo fibre infrastructure.

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Similar to Unifi, it appears that Maxis has also revised its termination penalty for subscribers that are still on contract. As listed in their T&C, Maxis Fibre Broadband users that subscribed before 23rd November 2020 would only need to pay a one-off penalty of RM500 if you terminate before your 24-month contract is up. However, subscriptions that start on or after 23rd November would require you to pay either RM500 or the remaining months in your subscription, whichever is higher.

Just like the previous Unifi example, if you’re paying RM199/month for your broadband plan, you would need to fork out RM1,990 for penalty if you cancel with 10 months remaining in the contract.

Unlike TM, it looks like Maxis isn’t too accommodating if you’re moving to a new location without coverage. According to its T&C, Maxis will terminate the service if they cannot provide the service to you at your relocated premise. As a result, you may be required to pay the early termination charge as provided in the above mentioned Clause 14.

However, on the bright side, Maxis doesn’t require an early notice for termination but you still need to return the BTU to the Maxis Centre. It is also worth noting that if you fail to return the BTU, the penalty is lower at RM200.

Time

For Time Fibre Broadband customers, the termination fee during the contract period is a one-off RM500. However, you would still need to provide an advance notice by informing Time over the phone or by dropping them an email.

However, if you plan to relocate to a new area without Time fibre coverage, the penalty will still apply if you terminate within the contract period. For those who can’t commit to a 24-month contract, it is worth pointing out that Time also offers a contract free subscription option. To sign up without a lock-in period, there’s a one-time charge of RM400 (100Mbps and 500Mbps) or RM500 (1Gbps) during the sign up process.

If you wish to terminate, you’ll need to provide a 30-day notice but those with a contract-free subscription, a notice period of 7-30 days before your next billing cycle is required.

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What’s interesting is that TIME doesn’t require you to return the BTU if you cancel within or after the contract. The devices are practically yours to keep which makes the termination process much easier than TM and Maxis.

But take note that Time may charge you for additional device penalty if you take up any special device offers such as the Free Mesh WiFi promo.

Digi

For those who don’t know, Digi also provides home fibre broadband and they are offering some serious competition with lower monthly subscription fees. Looking at the FAQ, Digi appears to be the most consumer friendly option for early termination.

If you cancel within the contract, the penalty is also a one-off RM500 and you can cancel at anytime by walking into any Digi Store without any early notice. If you are moving to a new location without fibre coverage, Digi says customers can request for a penalty waiver and they will review the request on a case by case basis. Another great convenience is that you don’t have to return any device including the BTU to Digi.

Celcom

Celcom is also quite similar to Digi where they are only charging a one-time penalty of RM500 for early termination within 24 months. If you’re moving to a location without fibre coverage, Celcom will also be able to waive the RM500 penalty upon request.

Unfortunately, Celcom Home Fibre customers are still required to return the BTU but you don’t need to come to them. The blue telco is making the process easier by arranging a TechXpert to pickup of the device from your home. If for any reason that they couldn’t collect the BTU from you, there’s a penalty of RM200.

Side by side comparison

Among all telcos, it appears that Time, Digi and Celcom offers the lowest cost for termination within contract. Whether you’re 12 months or 4 months remaining, all you’ll need to pay is just RM500. For newer subscribers on Unifi and Maxis, the new policy now requires you to pay the full remaining subscription fee of your contract which can be very costly.

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Fortunately, most providers except Maxis and Time have a clear policy that allows you to request for a penalty waiver if you move to a location without fibre coverage. This is fair considering coverage isn’t the customer’s fault and the provider should be responsible for not having their service available in more premises.

Also worth noting is that both Unifi and Time requires an early notice which is something you need to think ahead before cancelling your fibre line. Another hassle you would need to deal with is the return of the BTU. This is a tedious process as you would need to take time off from work just to return the device at the service centre. Only Unifi, Maxis and Celcom requires the BTU back but it is good to know that Celcom offers a pickup service from your doorstep.

Paying for remaining months in the contract is unscrupulous

The policy of demanding full payment subscription for the remaining months is totally unfair to consumers. Why would customer have to pay full amount for something they no longer use? This type of policy would only make sense for device instalment contract like a smartphone, as the customer will be able keep and use the device after early termination.

The one-off penalty of RM500 should suffice to cover the provider’s cost for installation and free router/devices to the customer. The policy to demand payment for the remaining months only benefits the provider as they will gain the same revenue as if the customer continued with the 24-month subscription.

Another policy which we find weird is the need to return the BTU. Why can’t the customer keep it even after the 24-months contract is over? If there’s a cost to it, they could just factor it with the contract and this would also make the termination process seamless with one less step to worry. Besides, what would the provider do with the old BTUs?

What do you think of the termination policies for customers within contract? Let us know in the comments below.

Alexander Wong