Choosing your (next) mobile phone company in Malaysia

I have been with Maxis for many years on a postpaid plan, and they never offer any good deals, and my Internet allowance is a paltry 250 MB per month, which only really covers emails and not much else.  More Internet with them is very expensive. So I decided to change and get more Internet for around the same price.  But I want to keep the same numbers I have –  changing is known as porting the numbers.

  1. I found a comparison web site:  http://www.lowyat.net/2015/05/the-complete-list-of-postpaid-voice-plans-in-malaysia-and-what-they-offer-celcom-maxis-digi-and-u-mobile/
  2. After reading this and comments on lowyat.net I decided on Celcom or U Mobile
  3. I went to the mall and talked to different companies, including Digi.
  4. I checked the companies’ web sites.  It seems they only really have 3G cover and not 4G.
  5. I decided on Celcom’s Basic 38, where I get 3GB of data.  I check with Celcom, and they say I just fill out the form, pay RM500 per line deposit plus first month’s charge, and show them my (old) passport (the same passport I used when I got the Maxis lines – not my new passport.)  Then I will get a text within 24 hours.  I get a SIM card for each line – whether full size or micro-SIM depends on your phone.  It sounded too easy.
  6. I talk to Maxis’ store in the mall and ensure I have nothing to tie me to them. To get back my deposit (RM500 per line) they tell me I have to go to their office on Northam Road. This is not accurate and was a waste of a trip.

So, this being Malaysia I didn’t expect it to go smoothly – and it didn’t.
Wednesday:

  • My bill with Maxis is up to date except for this month’s bill, which I’ve not yet received. Maxis and Celcom said no problem.
  • I fill out the form with Celcom and I give the numbers that I want to port – they say wait for a text within 24 hours. Show passport and pay as mentioned above.  I receive SIM cards.
  • My wife gets a text on her phone in the evening saying to reply with a Y if I want to change mobile companies before 1400 the next day, but I don’t get a text.  She doesn’t notice and I don’t know.

Thursday:

  • I hear my wife’s phone get a text and I see that the change was rejected due to no reply.  Then I see the earlier text.
  • I phone Maxis and they say call Celcom and get them to resubmit the form
  • I call Celcom and they say they will
  • Then I get a call from Celcom where I submitted paperwork saying that Maxis want me to pay this month’s bill and then they’ll resubmit
  • I go to Maxis and pay
  • Then I drop in to Celcom and say I’ve paid. He says he’ll resubmit.
  • A couple of hours later I get a text from Maxis on both phones asking to confirm. I reply Y
  • I get a confirmation text from Maxis

Friday:

  • I get a text from Maxis saying good-bye.  And another text from Celcom saying SMS confirmation to change SIM card will be sent within two days.

Saturday:

  • Nothing.  Note to self – start procedure on a Monday so I have all week for it to go through.

Sunday:

  • Lunchtime – got text from Celcom that the service is activated and to insert the SIM.  I shut down the phone, inserted the SIM, and started.  It picked up the signal and data signal immediately. But data speed in not 4G, but HSDPA, I guess.
  • But on doing this it had reset the keyboard, the wallpaper and phone app to default. And possibly other things I haven’t yet noticed.   So I had to set them up again.

A week or so later:

My bill for the last month came. Of course, I had already paid it.  I went to Northam to get back my deposit, and they told me the following.

DEPOSIT RECOVERY PROCEDURE

  • Wait until the final bill comes.
  • Phone 123 – for Maxis.
  • They will deduct any amount owing from deposit, and post a cheque for the balance.

NEXT TIME

So, once I have decided on the company, next time:

  • Start a week before the end of the billing cycle.
  • Make all the phone calls I need to.
  • Go to the current mobile company and pay to date, and not use phone thereafter if possible, except Skype etc.  Phone them also and ask the deposit recovery procedure. (At least one second opinion saves trouble.)
  • Sign up with new company and monitor mobile for texts like a hawk
  • Collect deposit at the appropriate time
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