PLDT: Where the least efficient way of upgrading internet services is via the online application system. 

29 Mar

I don’t want this blog to be a repository of my gripes. However, even something as basic as getting a decent internet connection is so fraught with frustrating wrangling that one cannot help but compare how shitty services are in the Philippines and this is why we can’t ever aspire for better things as we are getting left behind by our Southeast Asian neighbors. 

Anyway, I was gonna write/gripe/complain about internet services. Just a background: I live in a small town in Cavite, where the only service available was with Smart. We subsribed to a Canopy internet connection. It was slow and shitty, but one gets used to it. Years later, Smart merged with PLDT and our Canopy connetion was  upgraded without my consent to PLDT Ultera, which is an LTE connection. Now, it was (a bit) faster but it came with a very unpalatable catch: there is a 30-gigabyte data cap. I’d understand if it were for mobile data, but home wi-fi? It’s ridiculous and mind-blowing. Okay, not so much because you can top it up for a pretty penny, but you can only do it twice every billing cycle, for a grand maximum of 50 gb per month. Once you use it up, maybe you’ll be better off imagining like it’s the early 90s and there is no internet and the blackouts stretch for hours every night. Anyway, believe me, I’ve come to that point where I was totally cut off because the quota was maxed out and due to my house’s location in the boondocks, I couldn’t even use mobile data. I called customer service to ask if I can somehow get connected again and they said no, I have to wait for the next billing cycle. 

And then all of a sudden the Canopy connection didn’t seem so bad anymore. 

Anyway, a family with multiple mobile devices and a Netflix subscription cannot live on 50gb alone. Even by myself I cannot do that. So I opted to upgrade to another subscription, Plan 1299 which comes with a landline and no data caps. I go home to the Philippines usually only one to three weeks at a time, and I get so lazy going anywhere, so I took advantage of PLDT’s online application system. I filled up the forms, uploaded the necessary documents, and even left money in case (wishful thinking) the phone and new connection gets installed. After all, they said they’ll get back to me in a few days, maximum a week. That was December 27, 2016. At midnight, March 28, 2017, after several emails asking for updates, a representative got back to me writing that due to prolonged process or aging for more than 30 days (are they talking about cheese???), my application had been cancelled and that I should just apply again. What the fuck, really, it took them three months and another nagging email from me this morning to tell me that? 

Okay, I just wrote another grumpy email in response just now (foregoing the expletives). The thing is, I have no choice. I can get myself red in the face complaining but in the end, I am a trapped customer. The duopoly of PLDT-Smart and Globe has ensured that me and my ilk are well and truly fucked and there is nothing we can do about it because they got rid of all the competition. I have no choice but to apply again. And perhaps when they feel like it, make me wait and tell me to fuck off months later. 

In terms of reliable internet connection, anywhere else is better. Indonesia has many companies offering the same service that it is very easy to just switch to another provider if you are dissatisfied with the one you have currently. I have a 4G subscription with Indosat: a 5GB mobile data package for 30 days that costs me less than the equivalent of PhP 200. For comparison, in the Philippines I use Globe GoSakto50 for 1GB and it lasts only three days…. I don’t even get to use it all up because the connection is very often spotty that something like ordering a Grab or watching a video on YouTube without it buffering is near impossible. And then there are no such things as two-year locked in contracts for home connections in Indonesia. Grass is greener on the other side, but in this case it is very true. The lack of a decent internet connection is a source of immense frustration when I come home, among other things lol. It sucks so much. 

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