Saturday, May 20, 2006

3G use in the Philippines

Since my last post from the states, i've been back here in the Philippines and it looks like the 3G bandwagon has gone into full swing here.

I've so far acquired the following to take advantage of the new service from globe and smart. I will also comment services/signal from each telco.

Things i needed:

- A 3G cellphone (for my pda and laptop)
- A 3G pcmcia pc card (for my laptop only)
- prepaid sim card from smart and globe

For the 3G Cellphone, I ended up buying a cheap one, the Sony ericsson k600i. They say the unwarrantied one costs below P10,000. I was able to get one for P9,000+ with 1 year warranty. Since ive had the phone, its done everything ive wanted it to do. Specifically connect to 3G networks to surf the net over 3G (HSDPA,UMTS,GPRS) speeds via bluetooth from my laptop or pda. Overall this solution save me tons of money after almost falling for the dopod 900 (P65,000) or any of the highend phones (i.e. Nokia 3G phones, around P30k+) which is really a bad idea since they are all first generation 3G phones as well. I'd hold off for now and buy the better ones later on, especially since both telco's are still further improving their network. I wont go into details about the Sony ericsson k600i, the only thing you need to know is that its compatible with whatever you want to do on a 3G network for a cheap cheap price.
I couldnt stop raving about the features, its size and most of all its cost to everyone who asked me for a 3g phone recommendation.

So here's the deal, i was able to connect the k600i to my pda/laptop via bluetooth. When it came to choosing which telco to try out first, i tried smart since it has the greater coverage. On my pda it worked terrific after setting the dialup number "*99**1#". So now i have a connection to the internet at 3G high speed on my powerful Dell Axim x50v PDA, what now!?? Only one thing to do! watch the NBA 2006 Finals on it! yep, using the 3G speed over my 3G cellphone and unto my pda via bluetooth using my slingbox player for windows mobile. I was successful in watching the nba playoffs from my car every morning on way to work. I would loose 3G signal along edsa from time to time in areas where they havent installed 3G cellsites yet, but its just a matter of time.

Here's a comparison of the rates from smart and globe:


P10 for 30 mins.
- this means that once you start surfing, you need to use up the entire 30 mins to make it worth it. even if your email was just 2 mins to download, you still have 28 mins to use up or its gone. Power users will get more bang out of their buck since this type of plan isnt based on the size of data, instead based on time. So no matter if your watching video or talking over skype or listening to internet music, the rate will still be P10 for an entire 30 mins.


Unfortunately globe is alot stricter when it comes to internet access on their 3G network, as I understand it.. only corporate customers can avail of internet over gprs/3G access through their get-visibility.com deal. Their plans for 3G internet access are listed their ranging from P2000 unlimited access to P1700 per kb access)

List of wireless internet speeds: (from fastest to slowest)

hsdpa (3.5G fastest)
umts (3G)
gprs (slowest)

HSDPA cellphones are on their way out soon, right now only 3G handsets are out here locally. Ive bought a hsdpa/umts/edge/gprs pc card (Globetrotter by option) dedicated for my laptop and so far its been wireless internet nirvana!! finally i can keep all my media files on my home network and remotely play them all back from my laptop or car or office!!

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