Why do Filipinos still think 3G is expensive?

Even today, I still hear a lot of people saying or commenting hat 3G internet in the Philippines is still expensive. Yeah, it’s not that very cheap but I don’t think it’s expensive either.

Let’s skip comparing our local 3G internet rates to the rates in other countries and look at some domestic parallels.

Let’s look at Netopia, the most popular internet cafe chains in the country, and see how much they charge for rentals. Members get a discounted rate of about Php30 while non-members pay Php45, right? (or is it higher)

Regular internet shops (the mom-and-pop’s type at the street corner) charges Php20 for gaming and Php25 for surfing.

Pay-for-access WiFi Zones provided by Airborne Access and Globe WiZ charges Php100 per hour.

If we compare 3G internet at Php20 per hour, it’s not that bad. Actually, if you compare it to the examples above, it’s the cheapest. So, why there’s still the perception that 3G is expensive?

  • The WAP-era trauma. About half a decade ago, when WAP was first introduced, they cost an arm and a leg. I remember viewing my blog over WAP and posting a comment back then — those 3 page loads costs me Php100!
  • Reliability. If you surf on a net cafe, you’re pretty much sure you’d get a good if not fast internet speed. Over 3G, it’s a hit and miss.
  • Over-charging nightmares. Either your prepaid loads get drained up real fast or your postpaid bill is thru the roof — any one of these incidents could happen to you.
  • Coverage. Even if you’re subscribed on 3G, there’s no telling if your area is covered only by GPRS or EDGE.

The only compelling reason why I think 3G is cheap for me is because of mobility. Maybe someday, we’ll have an alternative option with mobile WiMax.

52 Comments on this Post

  1. John Alvero

    Some ideas for people to adopt 3G.

    1. Improve speed and reliability
    2. If prices can still be lowered, better
    3. Improve coverage
    4. Information dissemination

    With those four, i think in 2 or 3 years time. There will be a large 3G adoption here in the Philippines.


  2. Availability is my issue here, being in an area where 3G is not available. Only get to use it when there’s a connection. I don’t find this service expensive, though.

  3. the biggest single issue of slow 3g adaptability is the very unreliable “service”. fix this service and everything/everyone will follow.

  4. I think that 3G is expensive IF and ONLY IF the connection is slow and you are on “time charge”. I am a user of Globe Tatoo Kit and I used my postpaid sim in accessing internet. Yes, it is cheap that you have a wireless internet on the go for just P20 per hour. BUT sometimes, the connection is too slow that dial up connection is faster. In that case, definitely, 3G is expensive. I hope the telecom companies should continuously upgrade their facilities.

  5. drealmarlon

    Im using sun broadband wireless Php799 unlimited and i think the price is fair enough.Im very thanks that the ordinary people like me have a chance to get this technology even though there is a crisis here in our country.Sana lng palakihin pa nila yung network kasi dumadami na yung mga subcribers para hindi nagkakaroon ng bad service.

  6. Internet access through 3G is a good thing, the down side being its limited availability and slow speed. This issue on speed is what makes it “expensive” in the long run. Only when the providers address these issues could we say “praise be the 3G”. It’s been a while since we have this service, but it’s clear the telcos have not done any “addressing” to that effect. Or have I missed it? Don’t they know that when a consumer pays for something, he/she wants it N-O-W? After all, they are so quick to demand the “NOW” part when they send us the bill.

    Product superlatives from the telcos notwithstanding, 3G in this country as of now is next to worthless.

    In the meantime, lug that laptop to a wifi hotspot and do your browsing, or work your office computer to the bone for your http://www's. After office hours when the boss is gone, of course. LOL!

  7. Last part written in jest. Focus on productivity, folks!

  8. @ Jill

    wow, i really thought you were serious with the last part. whew!

    it should not even be called 3G if the speed limit is just at EDGE’s or GPRS’ rate. how could both smart and globe sell their devices when 3G isn’t available nationwide. oh it can go as fast as 2mbps! yes that part! very misleading indeed. someone would think that it runs at 2mbps when they made it clear that it can go as high as that when you are not looking.

    at least sun cellular pointed out that 3G service is only available in metro manila at the moment.

    shame on you GLOBE and SMART!!! shame on you!

  9. Israel Nicolas

    I think we are missing the point. It’s not because 3G is not cheap. It is because in order to have 3G, you need to have a laptop (and use it regularly) – this also means there should be a reason for the user to use it regularly. What is the percentage among online/gaming Filipinos that own a laptop?

    The article has a wrong premise. If I own a laptop, I do not think I will go to Netopia to surf the net lol! But you need to have a laptop first to consider 3G.

  10. Israel Nicolas

    ….. those who say that 3G is expensive take into account the lifestyle choices they make on a daily basis. Sure, on a nominal peso rate 3G is on par with internet cafes, and definitely cheaper than paid Wifi. But as a user, I find using 3G only when there is no Wifi, which is rare in places where I use my laptop (libraries, coffee shops, malls).

  11. @israel – you don’t need a laptop to use 3G. You only need a 3G capable phone.

  12. EDGE can carry data speeds up to 236.8 kbit/s (with end-to-end latency of less than 150 ms) for 4 timeslots (theoretical maximum is 473.6 kbit/s for 8 timeslots) in packet mode. This means it can handle four times as much traffic as standard GPRS. EDGE meets the International Telecommunications Union’s requirement for a 3G network, and has been accepted by the ITU as part of the IMT-2000 family of 3G standards. It also enhances the circuit data mode called HSCSD, increasing the data rate of this service. EDGE is part of ITU’s 3G definition and is considered a 3G radio technology — wikipedia

    Malamang 80-90% sa MM, EDGE lang ang 3G

  13. iMadrid

    3G here is expensive coz Telco’s are over-promising and under-delivering.

    If they just divert half of their advertising expenses into improving their netwoks. AND offer Unlimited Data plans even on prepaid phones.

    More people would use it and find value from it.

    But Telco’s would prefer to meter it and overcharge you. In other words SCREW YOU! We just want your money. We rather pay your idols for endorsements. Than provide you with better service.

  14. Only my last recourse.
    They have a long way to go.
    Telcos should address intermittent and dropped
    connections to make it more marketable.

  15. sana ginawa mo nalang why do SOME filipinos. wala ka din naman kinuhanan ng data. may survey ka bang ginawa?

    this blogger is a dumb@ass.
    poorly research post.

  16. because 3G must be free!!

  17. let’s put it this way… compare the monthly fees we pay on the 1mbps that are all either dsl/broadband to how much speed we are provided to residential homes abroad that runs on T3 lines and convert them…there you will find the difference

  18. Here in bacolod, 10php/hr nga lang ang sa internet cafe(gaming and browsing na),. medyo mahal pa ang 20php pra mag 3G sa smartphone q. tapos halos lahat ng schools and some other resto ay may free wifi na,

    mahal tagala pag 3G, kung 8php/hr cguro madami tatangkilik nyan.

  19. 3G is untrustworthy following TELCOs that implement it. (disappearing load/when disconnected=sayang ang load).

    Also, poverty?

  20. The time will eventually come when this 3G will get devoured by wifi. Used to be that 3G meant “hi-tech” phone, but phones are already on wifi now.

    So far it has been seen as untrustworthy and it seemed the telcos are not doing anything to improve it. Maybe the technology is unreliable in itself.

    But take heart, all our rantings would soon be over. Wifi is here!

  21. balahuraz

    Ouch! A wi-fi network with thousands of users haha.

  22. 3G internet ripped me off by whooping 50t pesos! I thought texting was the culprit of my sky rocket Globe bill when I go abroad. This time, in France, for 3weeks of my logging on YM and updating Facebook, it’s as worse as calling abroad and chatting for hours, that sucks!

  23. The Philippines GPRS/3G is up to 100 times more expensive than for example Switzerland! Here is why.. A flat rate of about USD9.00 in Switzerland will give you 250MB of download. In the Philippines, if you use the KB-base at PHP0.15/KB, and you download 250MB, it will cost you USD 834.00!! If you use the Time-Based at PHP5.00/minutes and assuming you are always connected, you will pay USD 313.00! With modern phones such as iPhone, if you want to use features such as Push technology and be updated regularly, you will be constantly connected even if the quantity of data is very limited. So it’s really impossible to choose between KB-based and Time-based. Flat rate should be possible! I can use my Smart Bro wireless unlimited for just PHP 1000.00 /month, so why Globe is charging me USD 313 for the same just because it’s through my phone?

  24. @Yuga- Thanks! I’m using Globe and they only offered me P0.15/KB or P5.00/15 minutes. Who is offering a flat rate? I’ll switch… :)

  25. OK thanks. When I called Globe last week, they told me to just disconnect GPRS/3G to avoid charges!!


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