Tag Archives: technology

Great Cheap Cell Phone Plan

I did a bit of research trying to find the right cell phone plan for myself in Malaysia. I actually was looking at different options. One was for a fancy smart phone (iPhone or Android) largely to use when I travel and to be able to stay up with some business. Both looking at the phone options and the plan options. And the also looking at a cheap phone with a cheap plan. The truth is it was quite hard to get to a decision with so many options. I used the soon to be iPhone 4s as a good enough excuse to wait on the fancy phone option.

I really don’t use a phone much. Frankly the biggest use I have for it is in getting taxis and ordering food – plus other errands but what I can do by email, I do. It is also convenient when you are meeting people somewhere to catch up with each other. Mainly I prefer email and other internet communication and don’t find most cell phone conversation of much value (it just seems like people think they have to talk since they can or some people seem to think they seem important if they ignore whoever they are with to talk on the phone). I would rather take in where I am, talk to who I am with, think, or just relax.

So I keep looking for the best plan for someone that hardly uses a phone at all. It wasn’t easy to find. Partially, I imagine you don’t make much money off such cheapskates so the service providers don’t waste much time marketing to them. Anyway I thought I found something good with Digi. And when I was talking with the person to buy my phone I thought I had it clear I could get the phone and pay some minimal amount and then just top it up and be charged for use.

But once I bought it they seemed to not understand such an option. Oh well, I sometimes seem to not quite communicate perfectly so I guessed I mis-remembered and didn’t understand what they said at first. So then essentially I needed to pay RM 30 a month for service and that amount would be charged against as I talked (or IMed). But I needed to pay RM 1 everyday to maintain the ability to make calls. This was annoying but seemed to be the only option. So I just kept piling on the RM balance since I don’t use close to 1 RM a day on average.

Well I found the offer again earlier this week and it is perfect if you hardly use the phone, like me. You pay just RM 30 for a year. Then you still get charged for all your calls but it isn’t much at all.

So if you want a low use, cheap, cell phone plan option in Malaysia, get the Digi Super Long Life plan: a feature where you can extend your talktime validity to 1 year for just RM30. That means your phone number stays valid, you can make and receive calls and texts (to make outgoing calls and texts you also need a balance, but you can add to your balance whenever you want). Remember the plan name, so when you go to buy your plan you can make sure you can get it setup right from the start. It is really a fantastic option for someone like me, that uses the phone very little. My guess is if you use it less than an hour a week, on average, this is a good option. I am really not sure the exact breakpoint, whatever it is, I am nowhere near it.

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Danga City Mall in Johor Bahru

View of Inside of Danga City Mall

Inside the Danga City Mall in JB - unfortunately the upper floors have far too many vacant store fronts.

The Danga City Mall is my favorite mall in JB. It has several very nice small restaurants and a high number of technology stores. The top floors also include a bowling alley, paintball arena and archery range. Unfortunately the mall also has quite a few empty shops. At least for now it also has my favorite store, the Treasure Store (which has lots of great used english language books): the Treasure store is moving to Permas Jaya next month.

photo of authorized Apple reseller store in Danga City Mall

Ascentouch (authorized Apple reseller) part of the large IT Valley area in Danga City Mall, JB Town.

The IT valley has the richest collection of technology stores in Johor Bahru including Samsung, Sony, HP, and Ascentouch (Authorized Apple reseller) used computer stores, computer repair, computer equipment stores. They have the normal assortment of phone stores and internet providers.

The restaurants offer some really good food very inexpensively. Two of my favorite are JB Station Kopitiam and Agena Sea (which moved next to the exhibit hall recently). On the lowest level there are about 8 good restaurant choices including Hokka Hokka Japanese Food, A1 Cafe. And there are probably about 8 more upstairs, including a small Italian restaurant which is decent (and better than I would think it could be for such a small location) though the seats are not very comfortable (more suited to drinking than eating). There is also a small grocery store that has some things but it would be better if it were a bit larger.

photo of the bowling alley

Bowling alley in the Danga City Mall - there is also a paintball arena.

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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.

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