‘Free’ internet: Is it worth it?
Telecom rivals have announced their aces for all their prepaid subscribers this week: Smart with free 30MB mobile internet everyday until November 30, and again Globe with free Facebook starting next week. The next question that comes to mind: Are these really beneficial, or are they charge-bait promos that will give us more headaches?
Free internet is… well, free internet. Promos like these would greatly benefit those who are active online, as they can easily check on their own circles, and get updated wth the latest happenings. More browsing time online would mean more chances to reach your loved ones, or check up on very urgent matters that may arise from our everyday lives. With the start of the telecommunication networks’ free internet promos, what would we be seeing in the coming days?
- More frustrated postpaid customers. The new data promos (Smart’s free internet, in this case) only affect the prepaid sector of the networks. Postpaid consumers are left out once again, complaining over our comments and social media channels. These are some, if not all, the same postpaid suscribers that were also complaining about the forthcoming…
- …More congested mobile internet connection. With the addition of the prepaid subscribers to the mobile internet traffic, we can expect slower internet connection as it will be shared by more subscribers than the usual. The slow connection just got… slower. Smart by the way mentioned that their network is ready to accommodate the increasing congestion. Quoted tweet is from is Abbie Real, Social Media Manager for Smart/Sun/TNT.
— Abbie Real Dimaano (@AbbieReal) September 26, 2014
- Overspending by charge-bait outbound links or surfing over the limit. If you are careless about tracking your online activity with your smartphones, you might get charged with prepaid credits as your data activity is bound to be more than what is free. That includes watching videos or clicking outbound links inside the facebook app, or visiting websites that are data-hungry, or by simply leaving your sync settings on. We’ve ran down some tips on how to save your data in the long run here, which might help you minimize your bandwidth spending.
- A cover-up to the present-day issues plaguing the internet service industry? Let us not forget that we are still the country with the slowest internet speed in the ASEAN region. Recently, PLDT was called up to the Senate for hearings about IP peering issues. Is Smart’s free internet (and subsequently, Globe’s Free FB) move a way to eliminate the bad publicity their company (PLDT) has been getting as of the late?
- Not everyone has access to the internet, so this won’t be easily utilized. A research conducted by Gallup in 2013 revealed that 4 out of 5 Filipinos do not have access to the internet. That may not be the case now, as local brands like Cherry Mobile, MyPhone and Starmobile paved the way for the masses to purchase internet-enabled phones and smartphones at more affordable prices.
At the end of the day, is all the effort done by the telecoms to provide ‘free’ internet worth it? Maybe. A winning situation for prepaid users who do not spend much on internet packages, and the losing end is the postpaid segment of the telecom market who actually pays for the ‘unlimited’ internet service. This is based from previous experiences with promos like these: when someone gives out something for free, there is and there will always be a catch to it. The thing is, this should not be the telecom’s favor for us but rather our right from them. We have to assert our right to equal internet for all… and maybe a faster one too.