Wednesday, October 17, 2012

John Lee's Facebook complaint about SingTel goes viral

"Dear singtel, all my friends are complaining about your network. How could you setup a 4G network where your 3G suck big time and you want to lower our data plan but still charge us the same price and yet we still get many drop calls and slow network. You guys are taking money but not giving us the service so here I'm complaining right at your face and wait for your feedback ..." wrote John Lee in his open message to SingTel on Facebook. He must have struck a raw nerve since his message drew 12,889 likes (and counting) while 1,000+ people commented mostly agreed with Lee's feedback .

Although SingTel may have some room to improve its infrastructure there are also other issues which makes Singapore's data speed is painfully slow. One of course is overcrowding which we also see on the trains, buses, shopping malls and roads. Second is the as much as you can data plans which basically resulted in 10 percent of SingTel's customers consume 64 percent of the company's mobile data![1] Although there is not more of this kind of abuse as much as you can plans, the existing limitless data plans will continue to suck speed until they fully expire. There are also several other issues which are actually not issue I guess. One is that you cannot buy pirated CD in Singapore which is in my opinion a good thing but as a result people are downloading more movies that their counterparts in other countries. Second is that Singapore smart phone usage rate is much higher than any other country except Korea and Japan and I see most smartphone users watching full episodes of TV shows on mobile in the train.

 John Lee's Facebook complaint about SingTel goes viral
 John Lee's Facebook complaint about SingTel goes viral
Of course I do not mean SingTel does not have anything to blame here. They may be maintaining their network and investing to new equipment as less as SMRT is maintaining the MRT lines. I wonder how is the speed in Japan where population density and smartphone penetration is quite high.

As response to the comment SingTel's administrator wrote:
""We hear you. We would like to assure you that SingTel is committed to providing high-quality and consistent 3G and 4G mobile coverage to its customers. There are various factors that affect coverage, and these are due to the inherent nature of mobile technologies. These issues are not unique to the SingTel network and could affect customers of any operator. For example, users may sometimes experience weak reception in locations, such as basement car parks and lifts, where signals are blocked by walls and structures. SingTel has an ongoing programme to enhance and expand our mobile network. In the last 3 years, we have invested more than S$2 billion across our networks, including mobile. We are adding more base station sites islandwide and upgrading existing ones to handle more traffic.""[2]
I have the same speed problem with StarHub and actually it get's worse when you are nearer to city center (I guess due to the density of users there) and weekends. I do not think speed-wise M1 is different. I frequently travel to Ho Chi Minh City and there the internet I use is 10 times faster than in Singapore. You can drive faster on 4 lane (Saigon's network) when there are moderate number of cars than 16 lane road (Singapore's network) with a traffic jam.

[1] - SingTel 4G smartphones are on sale today
[2] - Frustrated Singtel user draws 10,000+ likes and 800+ comments and growing

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