Monthly Archives: September 2011

Android Mobile Phone Options in Malaysia

When looking at smart cell phone options in Malaysia the choices really boil down to iPhone v. Android (in my opinion). Here I will look at some Android options. Celcom, Digi and Maxis are the largest service providers in Malaysia (U-mobile is another option). For me the Celcom monthly prices seem to high. I am not planning on being a heavy user, they may make more sense for heavy users.

Samsung Galaxy S2

4.3 inch screen. 1 Gb of RAM. 16 Gb of included memory, can add another 32 Gb. Runs Gingerbread, Android 2.3.

Digi: 12 month, RM 48 plan (1Gb) RM 1,699 upfront payment – 24 month, RM 68 plan (3Gb) RM 1,349 – RM 88/mo (RM 1,349 upfront). Digi offers unlimited data roaming for RM 36 a day in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and more.
Maxis: If I understand RM 58/m (500Mb), RM 78/m (1.5 Gb), 88/m (3Gb). Additional RM 500 deposit for non-Malaysians.

HTC Sensation

Digi: 12 month, RM 48 plan (1Gb) RM 1,799 upfront payment – 24 month, RM 68 plan (3Gb) RM 1,399 – RM 88/mo (RM 1,349 upfront).
Maxis: If I understand RM 58/m (500Mb), RM 78/m (1.5 Gb), 88/m (3Gb). 12 month 78/m RM upfront payment RM 1,799. Super deal if you go for 88/m and 24 month contract RM 999. Additional RM 500 deposit for non-Malaysians.

Comparison of hardware and performance between Samsung Galaxy and HTC Sensation.

HTC Wildfire S

Digi: 12 month, RM 48 plan (1Gb) RM 849 upfront payment – 24 month, RM 68 plan (3Gb) RM 499.
Maxis: If I understand RM 58/m (500Mb), RM 78/m (1.5 Gb), 88/m (3Gb). 12 month 78/m RM upfront payment RM 899. 78/m and 24 month contract RM 599. Additional RM 500 deposit for non-Malaysians.

Huawei IDEOS X3 is a decent looking budget Android option (RM 599). Review at LiewCF. It runs Gingerbread (Android 2.3). 3.2 inch screen.

The cell phone providers don’t seem to offer the Huawei directly so I guess you need to buy it and then get a plan with them separately.

Related: P1 Broadband Wimax in Johor Bahru, MalaysiaKindle DX with New E Ink TechnologyDroid Incredible

P1 Broadband Wimax in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Update: P1 is unreliable, do not consider them for anything but a backup. Once they provide historical and real time uptime and real speed data from a 3rd party then you can think of considering them. In 6 weeks they have been down multiple days for multiple hours. One day for 1 hour would be bad. Being down several hours in a month would be very bad. They have been that unreliable and down multiple weeks (I think 50% of the weeks) for multiple hours a multiple days. Extremely poor. They don’t even have bother to apologize and explain each failure (at least 3 long term very serious failures in 6 weeks). As I stated in the last update, that tells you enough them to avoid P1, if you are smart. And it also explains why they keep failing over and over and over (when they don’t even acknowledge the causes of the failures, maybe they don’t even figure them out).

Finding a decent provider isn’t easy, the reviews online make it seem like P1 is as good as any provider (maybe Unify is best but it is offered on in very limited locations).

I needed broadband internet for my condo in Johor Bahru. In looking at the various options they seemed pretty similar. P1 offers the highest speed I saw 5Mbps and 30Gb a month (for the RM 139 a month plan) and so that seemed best to me. They also offer a 7 day trial period which was nice. And you can use it in 2 hours (after some setup by their system to activate your modem), which is nice. You can check out if your area is covered.

My speed was pretty bad at first. I was able to get support through Twitter. After awhile they said they would monitor the modem from their side. Then they said they made tweaks to the modem and things actually do seem better. I really wonder what they do to speed it up? The speed is still not near 5 Mbps. If I average 1.5 Mbps I would be surprised. I have only had it for about a week now so I do need to get more data. Today it has been above 2 Mbps for much of the day so if that continues it could be good (I even had 2 tests where it was nearly 4 Mbps – the average today may well be above 3). But it does seem 5 Mbps is much more a marketing gimick that what you can expect. But I don’t know if p1’s difference from their marketing is any more exaggerated than anyone else. Also I probably need close to 30 Gb so that factor matters to. If I could average 3 Mbps and had very little downtown (99.5% uptime) I will happy.

I have had several 10 or 15 min times already where I was trying to get online and couldn’t. I am hoping that is maybe initial setup issues (though really that doesn’t make much sense which is why I am just hoping). p1 has been good enough that I am passing the 7 day mark without cancelling, hopefully I won’t regret it.

I think I would have gone with Unify. They are a land-line provider which should be more reliable (historically the problem with landlines has been slow customer service and high fees, Unify is meant to address these issues and seems to be doing better on those scores). Unify’s VIP 5 plan offers 5 Mbps download and 60 Gb per month. Really I think if I was smart this is what I should have done. It takes awhile to setup and I think the upfront charges are more. I might even get Unify on top of p1 (just because I am so reliant on the internet to do my job). I really can’t have outages or it can be a serious problem. Probably it would have been smart to get the Unify package and then the a cheaper p1 plan. Oh well, trying to do all the things I have to do to get setup has been pretty stressful, making a few mistakes isn’t so horrible. I’ll just have to earn more money so I can afford to add Unify (or maybe I’ll find just P1 is enough).
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Residence Pass for Talented Expats

I wrote about the Malaysian Residence Pass for Skilled Professionals previously. I found some up to date links to the official site, with some updated information (do see my original post, as the post shares information I don’t see on the official site now – that information may not be official but it does provide some good ideas on what was being thought of when the program was originally announced).

One part of the plan for long term economic growth is to focus on workers with highly valued talents globally: technology, engineering (oil production, construction, manufacturing…), higher education, health care… From the official TalentCorp site (this is the organization the government is putting in charge of implementation of the efforts to attract and grow talent):

a nation’s economic growth would hinge on its ability to attract, nurture and retain top talent. Malaysia has thus far achieved some success in steering its economy to current levels. Going forward, talent is expected to play a key role in supporting Malaysia achieve its objectives of propelling the economy to a high-income status.

Major cities around the world have thrived because of talent and their ability to capitalize on the best and brightest minds around. Malaysian professionals from abroad and top foreign talent complement the Malaysian talent pool, providing variety and diversity in terms of expertise and experience. Our local pool must be enhanced with the best skills and talents that can be tapped globally.

We welcome talent to Malaysia, which offers a host of opportunities for talent to develop and enhance their skills and experience in key sectors of the economy. The Malaysian Government has rolled out various initiatives and programs to engage top foreign talent in the long term.

As I mentioned the Residence Pass (which offers a long term visa without being tied to 1 employer – for skilled professionals) program was signed in April of 2011 to attract and keep top talent in Malaysia. Since my original post the program is officially providing the new passes. However, at this time, it is limited to those expats already with a current visa and having been in Malaysia on such a visa for the last 3 years.

Obviously this is a very small percentage of the talent available globally. So the program will obviously need to expand to be more useful. But I don’t see any details on when that will happen. I have asked but have not received a response yet. Please share information you have that others would find interesting.

As I said before, I think this effort to attract, retain and encourage the development of internationally valuable talent is a very wise move by Malaysia. I have written about the importance of science and engineering to economic development on the Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog for years: How to Build a World Class Technology Economy (2006)The Economic Benefits of Engineering Excellence (2007)Keeping Out Technology Workers is not a Good Economic Strategy (2009)Science and Engineering in Global Economics (2006)Asia: Rising Stars of Science and Engineering (2007).

Related: Penang Condo MarketStrong Singapore DollarSingapore Ranks Highly as an Expat Destination