On the 13th I wrote a blog post about Globe services. I tried to keep the tone neutral, to be fair. We’ve been having some problems with them, but I wanted to give them a fair chance to get their shit together so the post was mostly just about what they offer in terms of Internet services. However, every single day we seem to have an issue with Globe and their response is less than adequate, even for a provider in a 3rd world country.
Globe’s WiMax Rip-Off
My biggest issue right now is with Globe’s WiMax service.
We had two choices when we signed up. We could either pay 795 PHP per month for a 512 kbits/s plan, or pay 995 PHP per month for a 1 MB/s (~1024 kbit/s) plan. We figured it was worth the extra 200 pesos for double the speed so we went with the higher plan.
WiMax is high speed broadband, or so they claim, and for a while it was fantastic. When it was first installed, the morons put it on the side of the house, under the eaves, so the signal was bad. When we finally got it installed correctly on the roof and our signal strength went from 36% to 100%, it was like I was in the US somewhere. Well, ok not that great, but it was close. Everything was fast and download speeds were reasonable at 100 kbits/s, on average, meeting the rate quoted in our plan.
So here’s the fucked up part. Everything went to crap after we had the service for about two weeks. On the 8th, our connection speed dropped from 1 MB/s to 300 kbits/s. Now, just to make sure you understand, that’s 1/3 of what it should be, and is lower than the lower tier plan, which is supposed to be 512 kbits/s. So, we’re paying for a higher tier plan and can’t even get the connection speed of the lower tier plan. What kind of sense does that make? I’ve contacted their customer support numerous times, in numerous ways, to try to get this fixed, but the answers are getting increasingly stupid and I think we’re just being screwed.
Globe has a Twitter account, @talk2Globe, and I figured why not give it a shot? It’s easier to communicate in type when you’re talking to someone that has trouble understanding English, which is the impression I have of Globe CSRs after having dealt with them many times previously. Either that or they’re trained to make conversations intentionally more difficult than they have to be So, the day after the connection slowed down, I DMed their Globe account with the details of our problem.
The following day I received these DMs from Globe:
So, I messaged them back letting them know I’d checked all of those things before messaging them and that the problem was ongoing.
They replied with this:
That’s a reasonable request, so I went ahead and used Speed Test and sent them the results.
As you can see from the results, the speed seems to be fairly well capped at .30 Mb/s down, or about 300 kbits/s. That’s constant. It’s still this way now, as of the 21st (keep in mind the times on the Speed Tests are in GMT, not local Philippines time):
I sent links to these Speed Test results to Globe via DM. This was their response:
This is the first time I heard Globe say that 300 kbits/s is an acceptable speed for their WiMax, and while that might be completely fine if I had the 512 kbs/s plan, I expect more from them when I have the 1 MB/s plan. I expect at least more than I would get from the tier below me. Common sense tells you that 1 MB/s is the maximum, but not the speed you’ll get all the time. Common sense also tells you that you should get 1 MB/s at least most of the time. Unfortunately, I’m not getting it, period. Ever. I can’t even break 512 kbits/s.
So, I let the Globe guy know his response wasn’t satisfactory, because there’s no way we’d be getting 1 MB/s speeds consistently and then suddenly be completely capped at 300 kbits/s.
“We hope you understand.”
Ya. I do understand buddy, but I’m not going to let your company keep screwing me.
I resolved to call the hotline, lodge my complaint again and also lodge a complaint against this Twitter imbecile.
Call to the 211 Customer Service Hotline #1
Right after sending my DM replies to Globe’s Twitter account, I called the hotline. I explained the problem to the CSR and he walked me through their standard trouble shooting techniques. Then he got smart and had me access the modem’s information page. He had me read off some numbers on the page and told me that one of them, either the ‘RSSI’ or ‘CINR Reuse’, he didn’t specify which, wasn’t within acceptable limits. Right on. So then I told him about how inept their Twitter CSR is, and asked him why the guy wasn’t trained to find the same things that he did.
Then we agreed that he’d send out some technicians to look at my set up and figure out what the problem is. These technicians showed up on time the following day (the 12th) and checked everything out. They looked at the figures on the modem’s info page, ran some speed tests, and then told me that the problem is with the tower that our modem connects to. They said they’d submit the report and have it checked out.
Call to the 211 Customer Service Hotline #2
On the 14th I called back and asked what was going on since our service hadn’t improved. I was told that the tower in our area would be serviced on the 16th and to just monitor our connection speed. We were told to be sure to call back if nothing improved, but then, despite the fact that there was a verified problem, she also reminded me that 300 kbits/s is “an acceptable speed for WiMax.” I told her we had a perfectly good 1 MB/s connection until it suddenly dropped off, that it was a verified problem, and that I expected my regular speed to return to 1 MB/s since I knew it was possible, and it’s what we are paying for.
Call to the 211 Customer Service Hotline #3
I kept an eye on the connection speed and nothing happened. It stayed slow and steady at 300 kbits/s. On the 19th I called back again, asking what the problem was and when I could expect my connection to return to the speed we’re paying for. That’s when I had to argue again about the supposed acceptability of 300 kbits/s for WiMax speed.
I asked them how it was possible for us to have 1 MB/s speeds for two weeks and then for it to suddenly drop off and stay capped at 300 kbits/s. I asked why I would pay for a 1 MB/s plan when they couldn’t even offer the speed for the lower tier plan. The moron couldn’t seem to understand the concept, so I had to make it really simple for him. I asked him:
“If you went to the gas station and paid for 10 liters of gas and they only gave you 3, would that be ok with you? Would that be acceptable?”
The analogy isn’t quite right, but it’s close enough.
I’m sure the person on the other end of the line finally got what I was talking about, but instead of agreeing with me, he just went back to quoting company rhetoric about 300 kbits/s being acceptable for WiMax. Do they really think we’re going to pay 995 PHP per month when they can’t even give us the level of service that people paying 795 PHP per month are getting? It’s not an issue of it occasionally being 300 kbits/s. It’s ALWAYS 300 kbits/s.
The call ended with them assuring me they’d send someone out to look at our connection again. Those people were supposed to show up yesterday, but didn’t. They called at 6:30 PM to tell us how deeply sorry they were and that they’d come today instead (Saturday, the 21st). Thanks a lot. I’m glad I wanted to sit around the house all day Saturday waiting for them after doing the exact same thing on Friday.
It’s really possible that there’s something wrong with the tower, considering the response from the 1st call about there being something wrong with the RSSI or CINR Reuse figures, and they’re just too inept to figure out how to fix it. Or it could be that they know what’s wrong with it but won’t spend the money to repair it. Neither would surprise me, but it’s still not acceptable.
However, I think there might be another reason for it. I think Globe did this on purpose so they could accommodate more customers using that same tower, without upgrading their hardware. Since we got our WiMax set up, I’ve seen other Globe antennae popping up in the neighborhood. From a greedy, ‘fuck-the-customers-let’s-make-money’ perspective, it makes perfect sense. What doesn’t make sense is that my connection would be perfectly good and then suddenly drop off, never to rise above 300 kbits/s again. If my connection regularly hit 1 MB/s but sometimes slowed down to 300 kbits/s, I would understand. That’s definitely network congestion and I can live with that. What I can’t live with is that either my connection is being forcibly limited at so low a speed that it’s in the next lower tier of service, or they’re too stupid to figure out how to fix their own hardware.
However, I’m not going to just stand around and get screwed. One of two things is going to happen: they’re either going to fix my connection and get it back where it should be or they’re going to shift us down to the lower plan. We’re not going to pay for what we’re not getting. It’s just too bad we’re locked into a contract.
In the meantime, I’m going to make sure to cost them as much money as possible by constantly calling their tech-support line and constantly having house visits by their technicians. I’m also going to start visiting other people in the neighborhood to see what kinds of speeds they’re getting on their connections. If their speeds are being capped too, then that’s all the more ammunition I can use to blast out their corrupt business practices on my blog.