Warning: This post is quite long so I ask your indulgence. I have been a subscriber of Globe mobile close to ten years. Globe was the best thing that happened to mobile telecoms in the Philippines, being one of the first companies (well they bought Islacom along the way) to introduce SMS or “texting”. I could still remember my first Nokia SMS-capable mobile phone – it was big, heavy, bulky, enough to knock a cellphone snatcher unconscious.

People used to ridicule Smart users who were still using the analog technology – and I was one of them. While Globe was deploying more Digital cell sites, Smart expanded its nationwide coverage for its analog service, dominating the mobile market in that segment. But it was a good strategy, soon when Smart is almost anywhere in the Philippines, it offered digital mobile service and all of a sudden, Globe had a serious, even threatening competition.

Today Smart is a big player in mobile telecoms, including its 3G services. But I’m not going to talk about Smart in this article. I used to have a Smart-sim powered PLDT we-roam and I was happy with the service. Globe on the other hand was a big disappointment. When it introduced its Globe Visibility using 3G technology, I was one of the first people to recommend it to a client whom I had a project two years ago. After presentation of justifications, the client approved my request of procuring more than a dozen units. We deployed the Visibility units in about 12 locations in Central Luzon – where we were doing a pilot project of the client’s Sales and Distribution system, which will serve as the model for a nationwide roll-out (with over 100 locations).

We used the Visibility to transmit data to and from the main office in Central Luzon and its sales locations – and we found out the 3G service was below par. There were instances the client could not connect thus delayed much of the transmission and consolidation of data. So with much disappointment we decided to choose PLDT We-Roam using Smart for the rest of the 100 locations. Although there are glitches at times, but the Smart-powered WeRoam is far more effective – wherever I went, from North to South Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Now going back the Visibility and the 3G services of Globe. Did you know that you are billed, by default Php0.15 per kilobyte of usage? If you happen to browse Bloggista.com using your 3G-enabled mobile phone, the home page is about 46KB to 50Kb, so that would mean you’ll be billed Php7.50 for browsing this blog on your phone. Why would you use a mobile phone to browse the internet anyway? Well the future is mobility. Soon most transactions can be done using your mobile phone. But companies like Globe took advantage of the unsuspecting subscriber by not openly explaining how much would be billed for every single use of the service.

What’s more unacceptable is the fact the 3G service of Globe is below par. If you use it as a modem of your notebook PC to connect to the internet, there are times, and lots of times, that its not connecting, but still you’re billed! If it can connect, on several occasions, it takes ages before a page gets loaded – but still the KB counter is running – and you are charged for each KB count! Absurd! And to think charging 15 centavos per KB is absolutely an OVERCHARGE and unfair charging.

And the service? It sucks! Why? because more than half the time, browsing the internet using my Samsung 3.5G-enabled phone with this service I always get a message “Content Not Found” and you are already charged! Rival Smart charges its subscriber Php10.00 per 30 minutes of usage, that’s comparable to paying Php20.00 per hour on internet shops, and their 3G service is reliable – maybe not working at times, but not as bad as Globe’s. Globe followed suit just this year – and they have had grand advertisements telling people they’re now charging Php5.00 per 15 minutes of usage. But for an ordinary subsriber, what you don’t know is that you have to do some configuration change before you could be charged Php5.00 per 15 minutes. You have to send Globe a text message ‘TIME’ and send to 1111 to switch to time-based charging.

How about using your 3G phone as a modem? It doesn’t work at least with my Samsung phone. But what’s the difference between using a Nokia or Samsung phone when using it as a modem? I have used the same phone with other networks, it works. It used to work before with Globe but after they announced their 5/15 service I could not connect anymore. Did I seek the help of their Customer Support? Yep, I did. I dialled ‘211’ and this was what happened:

Me: Hi, just want to know if you have changed configurations when you introduced the TIME service. I am using a Samsung 3G phone, I got the configurations on my phone.

Support Guy (SG): Thank You for calling … blah blah blah. No Sir, we haven’t changed the configurations. What is your phone model again?

Me: Samsung blah blah blah.

SG: Do you have the right configuration settings?

Me: Yes. I received several messages regarding the configuration settings when I inserted my Globe SIM card.

SG: Maybe you’re not in the service area Sir that’s why its not connecting.

Me: I am in Makati. The signal is full bar, 3G.

SG: Do you know how to setup the dial-up connection in your PC?

Me: Yeah, I got the CD Installer and these are the settings… blah blah blah….

SG: Yes Sir, those are the right settings. Were you able to connect that phone before with Globe?

Me: Yep, I used to have a Post-paid plan, but I decided to use the Pre-paid plan instead. Why? Is the service not available with Prepaid Subscribers? Your ad says it works both for Post-paid and Pre-paid subrcribers.

SG: Yes Sir, you are right. It works for both types. But Sir, maybe there is something wrong with your phone, that is why its not connecting.

Me: I don’t think so, I have another SIM Card from U-Mobile, my phone is Open Line, and I was able to connect to their 3G service.

SG: Okay Sir, maybe your SIM card has a problem, or it doesn’t have enough balance.

Me: I just loaded 300 pesos, and yeah, I got another Globe SIM card, it has 500 pesos load balance, and still same problem – it doesn’t connect when dialling the service.

SG: Okay Sir, honestly, this is the situation. We have problems right now with the 3G service. Our Technical Team is currently working on it, and it may take weeks before the service is operational again. So you cannot use the dial-up service at this time, but you can use your phone for browsing, but not as a modem. Thank you for calling – and have a nice day.

Me: ???????………

So, there… right after I put down the phone, the TV commercial was that of Globe advertising the TIME service to both Post-paid and Pre-paid. Isn’t that false advertising?

Globe used to be a great company – but now it sucks. If you’re using its 3G service or using your phone to browse the internet, chances are, you have been cheated too. They have cheated me before with 14,000 pesos of charging for just browsing my Yahoo emails – a browsing experience that raises your high blood pressure because of frequent disconnections. Check your bills – or check your prepaid balance before you connect, and after you connect. I find it absurd for us consumers paying for such a poor, inefficient service. How many subscribers are using Globe? If they have over 10 million subscribers, imagine how much they are making for every text message sent? Imagine how much they are profiting from cheating with this 3G disconnection issue?

Today mobile communications is essential. Each person is empowered with these technologies – mobile phones, 3G service, internet. But being charged for a service not delivered, or not efficiently delivered is totally outrageous and is not fair. Would you stop using what these technologies could offer? That would be a stupid idea – better switch to a reliable and fair service provider.