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Choosing the Best Cell Phone Plan


In this era of modern technology, one will find it difficult to live without a cell phone.  So which cell phone plan is the best and value for money? Generally there are a couple of things that we need to consider such as the coverage, reliability, minutes, texts, data allowance and price.

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Though lower price and value for money is usually consider as one of the main criteria, but always make sure your device or plan has a good network coverage in your area. An example here is one of my friend who stays at Teluk Kumbar can only use Celcom as the service provider since the rest of the phone providers have pretty weak signal there. You can check the coverage maps here, but just a note of precaution is that the website data is crowd-sourced from a community of app users, so there can be some inaccuracies in the heat map. But generally the areas where expats live have quite a good network coverage across different providers.

So can I bring my cell phone from my home country to Malaysia?

To answer that you must first meet the requirements to use your cell phone in Malaysia or any part of Asia.

  1. The phone must be the correct hardware standard for the country you are visiting using the GSM cellular standard.
  2. Your phone must be multi-band or operate on the correct frequency.
  3. You must have international roaming or unlock your phone to work with foreign SIM cards. If not roaming, you must purchase a local SIM card and prepaid credit.

If you are on a tight budget and decide to go with option 3, you can go to any cell phone shops in Malaysia and get them to unlock it for a small fee. Alternatively you can try contacting your mobile provider in your home country if they can support you in this. Most likely your phone warranty will be voided once you unlocked it. So please take note!

 

Prepaid vs Postpaid

Postpaid plan – This plan billed users on a monthly basis, based on either the terms of contract or the amount of services they have used.
Prepaid plan – This plan requires user to purchase call credit before services can be used. So for example a customer will purchase a RM50 card from a cell phone shop or convenience store, allowing them to use RM50 worth of call time , text messages or data.

Which plan should I use, a Postpaid or Prepaid Plan?

Prepaid Plan is usually more for the seasonal or temporary users. Whereas, a postpaid plan is great if you want the convenience of having an ‘uninterrupted’ service without having to manage your airtime when it is about to finish. Because postpaid plans are ‘always on’ satellite service, you’ll never run out of airtime.

The other thing to take into consideration is your usage. If your usage is going to be high, my advise for you is to switch to a postpaid plan. Monthly call and sms rates for postpaid are usually much cheaper compare to prepaid plan.

Now things can get slightly complicated if you plan to factor in multiple lines of service for your family. Some of the postpaid plan has pretty good family plans.

 

Best Prepaid Plan in Malaysia

 Cheapest Prepaid Plan Without Internet Data

How do we decide which is the cheapest plan? For this we will assume the minimum quota which is 60 minutes of voice call, 50 SMS and 10 MMS per month base on the table below. You can refer to the column Cost Per Month (RM).

Tune Talk offers the lowest prepaid rate among all the major network providers. This is good if you are planning to make calls, SMS and MMS only.But if you disregard the MMS portion, then Celcom would come in as the lowest prepaid for calls and SMS, cheaper than Tune Talk by 40s cents. The only disadvantage is that if you make multiple short calls for less than 3 minutes everyday, the 28 cents rate will still apply.

Breakdown of Prepaid Plans in Malaysia

ProviderPlan NameStarter Pack (RM)Pre loaded Value (RM)Voice : Own (Per Min)Voice : Other (Per Min)SMS Charge : Own (Per SMS)SMS Charge : Other (Per SMS)MMS Charge : Own (Per MMS)MMS Charge : Other (Per MMS)Cost Per Month (RM)
Tune TalkTune Talk Prepaid520.10.16 0.050.05 0.250.25 11
U MobileU Prepaid Plan850.180.18 0.030.08 0.250.25 14.8
DiGiDigi Best Prepaid10.860.20.20 0.080.08 0.250.25 18.5
CelcomXPAX248.550.28/ 3 min0.28/ 3 min0.02 0.08 0.50.511.6

 

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Best Postpaid Plans in Malaysia

I have included a chart below of all the mobile plans from the 4 main telcos, namely Digi, Maxis, Celcom and U-Mobile. Firstly, before you go into deciding which plan to get, you will probably need to understand your usage patterns.

  • What is your average call and sms usage in a month?
  • Do you need a data plan (internet surfing)?
  • If yes for data plan, how much of internet data do you need? And does speed matters to you?

 Best Postpaid Plans for Call and SMS

If your mobile usage is only for call/sms and no other functions, than my verdict would be Maxis TalkMore28 or Maxis TextMore28 planMaxis TalkMore28 comes with 200 minutes and 100 sms free and TextMore28 comes with 100 minutes and 200 sms free. You only need to commit a monthly fee of RM28. Subsequent charges are only 12 sens(own) and 15 sens(others) on calls or sms. The only drawback is that it doesn’t come with a data plan. You will need to buy it separately. You can check the Surf On Demand packages from Maxis for additional internet data plan.

Best Postpaid Plans for Internet Data

The internet data plan caters more to those who uses the Android or iOS application such as facebook, whatsapp, twitter or viber as a mode of communication. So, how much internet data quota do you need? For normal surfing (without video streaming or downloading stuff), facebooking or whatsapp, you can probably get by with a data plan of 1GB. The best plan for internet data for me so far is Maxis SurfMore 30. It comes with a requirement fee of RM30, 1GB internet data with no additional charge if quota is exceeded. If you think 1GB is not enough, then you can go for the Maxis SurfMore 50 which comes with a 2GB quota. U-Mobile U28 is also another postpaid plan for internet data that you can consider. Though the price may be lower, but the network quality may not be as reliable as Maxis.

Best Postpaid Plan for Voice, SMS and Internet Data

If you averagely uses about 200 mins + 200 sms + 1GB of internet data, then my take would still be the Maxis TalkMore 28 plan. Even though this plan doesn’t come with the internet data, but you can purchase a monthly 1GB pass at RM48 with no excess payment after quota exhaustion. The min monthly total will come up around RM76 (RM28 for min + RM48 for internet data).

Digi Smartplan 58 is also another plan that is also quite worth it. At only a minimum monthly fee of RM58, you will get a 2GB internet data, 200 mins and 200 sms free. However, the drawback is if you use more than the 2GB internet data quota, then you will need to pay RM1/day. One thing to

Here’s the chart comparison showing all four major telcos.

NetworkPlanMin Monthly FeeBundled internetBundled Voice CallBundled SMSContract
DigiDigi Postpaid SimpleRM50RM28/Mth - 250MB
RM48/Mth - 1GB
RM88/Mth - 2GB
Internet top up @ RM1/hr
Max RM240/Mth
Worth RM100 (Combine with Voice)
RM15sen/min
Worth RM100 (Combine with Voice)
RM10sen/sms
Free
DigiDigi SmartPlan 58RM582GB
Subsequent @ RM1/day
200 mins (same ISP)
Subsequent - 15sen/min
200 SMS (same ISP)
Subsequent - 10sen/min
Free
DigiDigi SmartPlan 88RM884GB
Subsequent @ RM1/day
300 mins (same ISP)
Subsequent - 15sen/min
300SMS (same ISP)
Subsequent - 10sen/min
Free
DigiDigi SmartPlan 88RM1486GB
Subsequent @ RM1/day
600 mins (same ISP)
Subsequent - 15sen/min
600 SMS (same ISP)
Subsequent - 10sen/min
Free
MaxisSurfMore 30RM301GB
Exceed Quota - No addon fee @ reduced speed.
Charges
15sen/min (same)
15sen/min (others)
Charges
10sen/sms (same)
10sen/sms (others)
Free
MaxisSurfMore 50RM502GB
Exceed Quota - No addon fee @ reduced speed.
Charges
12sen/min (same)
20sen/min (others)
Charges
5sen/sms (same)
15sen/sms (others)
Free
MaxisSurMore 75RM755 GB
Exceed Quota - No addon fee @ reduced speed.
Charges
12sen/min (same)
20sen/min (others)
Charges
5sen/sms (same)
15sen/sms (others)
Free
MaxisTalkMore 28RM28Sign up for Mobile Internet Pass200mins FREE
12sen/min (same)
15sen/min (others)
100 SMS FREE
12sen/sms (same)
15sen/sms (others)
Free
MaxisTalkMore 48RM48Sign up for Mobile Internet Pass400mins FREE
10sen/min (same)
15sen/min (others)
200 SMS FREE
10sen/sms (same)
15sen/sms (others)
Free
MaxisTalkMore 78RM78Sign up for Mobile Internet Pass600mins FREE
10sen/min (same)
15sen/min (others)
200 SMS FREE
10sen/sms (same)
15sen/sms (others)
Free
MaxisTextMore 28RM28Sign up for Mobile Internet Pass100mins FREE
12sen/min (same)
15sen/min (others)
200 SMS FREE
12sen/sms (same)
15sen/sms (others)
Free
MaxisValue Plus Internet 50RM50250MB100mins FREE
12sen/min (same)
20sen/min (others)
100 SMS FREE
5sen/sms (same)
15sen/sms (others)
Free
MaxisValue Plus Internet 80RM80500MB300mins FREE
12sen/min (same)
18sen/min (others)
300 SMS FREE
5sen/sms (same)
15sen/sms (others)
Free
CelcomCelcom First PrimeRM4050MB Free
mBasic RM38 (1GB)
15sen/min (all)15sms/min (all)N/A
CelcomCelcom First PremierRM80100MB Free
mBasic RM38 (1GB)
12sen/min (all)12sms/min (all)N/A
CelcomCelcom First EliteRM150200MB
mBasic RM38 (1GB)
10sen/min (all)10sms/min (all)N/A
CelcommAdvance PlusRM683GB60mins Free
20sen/min (all)
60 sms Free
15sen/min (all)
N/A
CelcommPro PlusRM885GB60mins Free
20sen/min (all)
60 sms Free
15sen/min (all)
N/A
U-MobileU28RM281GB
Exceed Quota - No addon fee @ reduced speed.
18sen/min (same)
20sen/min (others)
100 sms Free (same)
200 sms Free (others)
Free
U-MobileU58RM582GB
Exceed Quota - No addon fee @ reduced speed.
100mins Free (same)
200mins Free (others)
18sen/min (same)
20sen/min (others)
5sen/sms (same)
12sen/sms (others)
Free
U-MobileU88RM883GB
Exceed Quota - No addon fee @ reduced speed.
100mins Free (same)
200mins Free (others)
18sen/min (same)
20sen/min (others)
100 sms Free (same)
200 sms Free (others)
5sen/sms (same)
12sen/sms (others)
Free

For a more updated comparison you can go to BolehCompare.com for comparison between different networks.

It’s All About The Network

Like I mentioned earlier when considering a phone carrier in Malaysia, you should always think about the network speeds, coverage and services. Based on my experience Digi has one of the slowest network speed  and poor coverage. Maxis and Celcom network speed are pretty much comparable. And the coverage for both telcos are good at both urban and rural area. Maxis and Celcom are definitely two telcos that are worth the take.

So there you go on the Best Cell Phone Plans that are available in Malaysia. If you do have additional thoughts on the best cell phone plan, then please feel free to comment below.

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