Here Comes the Pain

This is not entirely unexpected but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant.

I’ve been using Smart mobile in Manila, pre-paid SIM card – LTE service, unlimited internet, costs P50 per day (about US$1) with discounts if you’re registering for multiple days at a time.

We went out to the house today. It’s a new house on a new street in a new phase of the subdivision. There are two wires running to the house for electricity. That’s it. The houses in the older phases have a choice between Sky and PLDT for cable and internet. The houses near me all have small satellite dishes for Cignal, a company offering most of the popular cable channels. No internet service.

I tried using OpenSignal and Speedtest to check the signal for 3G/4G at the house. No 4G anywhere. The 3G was so weak that Speedtest basically didn’t run (except from the 1st floor balcony). Using my phone as a hotspot, I was able to load Gmail and Facebook on my laptop. But  I don’t believe I’d try any downloading or streaming.

I’ve found some cell coverage maps and they just about tell the story. The red arrow is pointing  to the approximate area where I will be living. It’s borderline zero coverage.smartGlobe is ever so slightly better, at least for 3G:


The 3rd largest provider, Sun, has no coverage for miles around me.

Even in my current service apartment, which is on a main business street in a business district, internet is not great. The building is using Eastern Telecom and I’ve got a 2 Mbps WiFi connection. But that’s giving me a download speed of an average 75 Kbps on a file that has more than 7,000 seeders. Switch to my mobile phone, where Speedtest tells me I should be getting around 5 Mbps, and torrents are coming in even more slowly than the WiFi connection. Perhaps the mobile companies are throttling on certain ports.

Meanwhile, the pricing is quite odd. At Globe today, I see they are using the label “Tattoo” for various Internet connectivity services. A pocket wifi thingie with internet costs P999 (under HK$200) per month on a postpaid account, but is capped at 5 gig per month. If Apple releases an iOS update, that’s 4 gig used in one day to update our four iOS devices. So that’s useless.

Except if one does not postpay, if one prepays – again P50 per day, P200 for 5 days, and I think it’s P999 for one month – then internet usage is unlimited.

I suspect that what I’m going to end up having to do is to hunt around near my office for the best 4G signal and then stop in the nearest coffee shop for an hour each day before going home.

There’s an answer for everything, just sometimes the answer isn’t so pleasant.


3 thoughts on “Here Comes the Pain”

  1. In have no idea about availability in the Philippines, but if lines of sight are any good, your best hope for your home might be some tiny independent provider offering fixed wireless service.

    1. Yes I did. About two weeks before I left I did it via private sale. Another couple of days and I would have brought it around to dealers but this way I got a little bit more.

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