For more than two years now, three major Filipino telecommunication companies have been marketing their brands of mobile wireless broadband.
I have bought all three brands and have stopped using all but one. The reason is simple, the first two are totally useless in my area.
The first of the two that I have stopped using hardly gets speeds higher than 45Kbps in my corner of Sampaloc, Manila and if broadband is a relative term, then this one really is probably a relation so distant that you'd wonder if it was still in the same order of species.
I bought it because it seemed to have a better prepaid pricing scheme and the unit was cheaper. The user rate was pegged at 5 pesos for every 10 minutes of use, better because the competing brand had a rate of 10 pesos per 30 minutes.
Now, this is better because there are times when I only need to log on for 10 minutes, just to browse through my e-mail. If I were to use the competing brand (10 pesos for 30 minutes), I would have spent 5 pesos more if I didn't use all of the thirty minutes.
But then, with speeds so slow you'd wonder if it was really broadband, you'd probably use up 30 minutes anyway just trying to open your e-mail.
Eventually, I let my then two year old son use it to poke stray kittens and worms in the garden.
To be fair, a few friends say that the device actually works great in certain areas of Makati City, Taguig, Las Pinas, etcetera...
Here's how I think Saan got it's name...
A Saan user received a call from a friend while he was walking down the middle of a street. He picked it up and on the other end of a line was a friend shouting frantically. Because his friend's voice came through so badly garbled, he could only make out one word and that was hole.
The five minute conversation went like this: "Butas? Saan? Saan?" (Hole? Where? Where?)
Seconds later, he fell into an open manhole and was never heard from again.
Like Tato, Saan offered a great price scheme. The so-called VALUE or CHEAPER proposition got me. It actually offered unlimited broadband use for one day at 50 pesos!
The thing seemed to be a White Knight and it worked quite great for a few days. Then for some reason unknown to me to this day, it just stopped connecting.
The last time I saw it, my kid's Nanny was using it as a wedge underneath a door to keep it open.
The one that I am currently using is only slightly better because the service is intermittent and the quality of that service ain't all that great.
Sometimes it just refuses to connect to the server. Yesterday was a particularly annoying day because the plug-it unit just refused to connect and only kept getting a GPRS signal which also failed to connect me to the internet.
Some times it connects to the server but in spit of indicating that it is receiving a 3G or HSPDA signal, the speed that one actually gets is just 54 to 75 Kbps -- only very rarely does it get speeds of up to 2 Mbps as advertised.
There was one time that I thought I was experiencing its "super fast speeds", but then I realized that my laptop apparently picked up a wi-fi signal and connected automatically to it.
So, I guess, advertisers ought to craft more truthful claims by making use of the words "sometimes", "in certain places", "when doing a certain yoga position", and "by hanging outside your window while doing an Indian Squat with a fork in your ear".
TO BE CONTINUED