Home / Mobile Operators / DiGi / [Opinion] DiGi has the worst 3G network, poor service

[Opinion] DiGi has the worst 3G network, poor service

I have been a DiGi customer for over 7 years and watched this company with a few hundred thousand customers grown to millions of customers today.

I still remember the “glory days” of DiGi, a very successful mobile operator under the leadership of Tore Johnsen and Morten Lundal between the year 2003-2008. I would say that DiGi was feared by competitors back then because it had customers in mind when it comes to product, services and pricing. DiGi was known to be different because its prepaid service was as good as competitor’s postpaid offering with the best value for money in the market.

But the DiGi(old) back then is totally different from the DiGi(new) today. I would describe this using a single word called- worse.

DiGi has changed. There are a number of reasons to this and it is mostly because of competitions not only from the mobile operators but also from the WiMAX operators and MVNOs. DiGi wasn’t ready for this(competition) under the leadership of Johan Dennelind who took over as CEO in the year 2008. Since then, a number of “extremely good people” in DiGi have lost faith and left the company.

In my opinion, I would describe the DiGi today as a weak mobile operator with a lot of things to learn and improve. I’ve also not seen much improvements since Henrik Clausen took over as CEO of DiGi mid last year.

DiGi(2G,3G) Network/Coverage

After years of using Celcom, Maxis, DiGi and U Mobile, I personally feel that at the moment, DiGi has the worst 3G network in the country.

I’m saying this because I still maintain 3 accounts at DiGi not including the Broadband account that I terminated last month. A number of issues I face include drop calls, failed to receive calls, poor signal reception, lousy Blackberry service, slow Internet speed, among many. Overall, my experience on DiGi was bad over the past 1+ year and it was the worst.

I was in Port Dickson a few months back and DiGi did not have 3G coverage at all, instead a newbie like U Mobile has very good coverage. (DiGi launched its 3G sometime in December 2009 and U Mobile launched its network in September 2007. I’m comparing both because DiGi has certain benefits when it comes to network( expertise, existing 2G base station..etc) despite U Mobile having a head start to launch the service.)

Based on my experience in KL, U Mobile has better 3G coverage if compared to DiGi 3G especially when it comes to indoor coverage. And even until today, DiGi has poor 3G coverage(blind spots) in most part of KL which is the capital city of Malaysia. This is embarrassing as even popular  locations such as Mid Valley(Starbucks ground floor), KL Sentral(poor indoor coverage), Pavilion(LG food court) doesn’t have DiGi 3G and the list goes on.

I can continue to talk about DiGi’s 3G coverage up to the part where DiGi 3G network disappears at certain location and then comes back or the funny thing about making a complaint to improve the 3G signal at specific location and DiGi responded by taking down the base station.

Instead, I would like to talk about the importance of having a proper 3G coverage with data & voice for a mobile operator like DiGi.

Since DiGi launched smartphone devices such as iPhone, Blackberry and Broadband service, 3G becomes a must for these device/service to function properly.

Smartphones like the iPhone and Blackberry are “data hungry” mobile devices and it is built to work in high-speed mobile networks. What is the point of promoting and selling these devices in DiGi if customers can’t enjoy a good experience? With DiGi 3G “not available” at a number of areas, is EDGE good enough to watch Youtube on the iPhone or does it work well with Blackberry which uses data every minute?

How do you call it the best broadband without a proper mobile broadband network? DiGi’s Broadband Done Right marketing campaign may have worked, but consumers out there are not happy. DiGi brands their 3G as “Turbo 3G”, but the network is paralysed.

How to I drive a Ferrari from DiGi if there’s no road(Turbo 3G Network) as DiGi promised?

On average, DiGi Broadband(including DG Smartplan) gives you speeds up to 1Mbps and it doesn’t go up further. On top of that, a number of users has reported inconsistent speed(not stable) and frequent disconnection on DiGi broadband. Is this really “Turbo”?

Check out some of the complains here by DiGi users on LowYat forum:

Mobile operators like Maxis and Celcom are spending over RM1 billion each, every year to enhance their 2G/3G network for the past 2-3 years while DiGi spends only about RM700 million(2010-2011) to not only improve their poor 2G coverage but also expand 3G coverage to new areas.

The network collaboration between DiGi and Celcom is good thing but I personally feel that it doesn’t benefit consumers as the whole objective of this collaboration is to reduce cost for the operators. It will only benefit consumers in a big way if Celcom & DiGi are willing to continue spend as much as they would right now on the merged base stations, or in other words, the power of two.

Services/Customer Experience

As an observer in the industry and customer for many years in DiGi, I personally feel that DiGi doesn’t care about customers, anymore.

For an example, I personally have a complaint related to DiGi network since early January 2011, which I started experiencing it around Jun-July last year and this complaint is pending at the SKMM level, and yet to be resolved. Another example is here where this person makes a complaint and DiGi thanked him for the “feedback” instead of closely working with the customer to resolve the issue. DiGi also failed to apologize to the customer.

Here’s the latest example on why DiGi doesn’t care about customers- An announcement(notice) was posted on DiGi’s website(about 1 week back) saying that a maximum of RM8/day will be charged for prepaid data instead of the current RM5/day under the Internet Unlimited Max5 plan.

(RM8/day with 100MB of data. Celcom Daily Broadband plan cost RM5/day with 1GB of data. Which is most Affordable?)

Guess what, DiGi has lots of cash to “spam(SMS)” customers with its latest promotion or service almost everyday but it failed to inform prepaid customers about the change. At the time of writing, there’s no details about this change on the Unlimited Max5 plan page itself and its DiGi Internet page.

A company like DiGi(and some other operators) has failed to understand and deliver proper customer service. A customer usually doesn’t have concern of the other customers, they see DiGi as one company and this is an one-to-one relationship. Instead from DiGi’s perspective, they see all its 8.8 million customers as one(customer).

Maybe DiGi doesn’t see the change of its rate as something important to customers, because DiGi makes easy money anyway. But a few ringgit change matters to a lot of consumers out there in a country like Malaysia.

So it(DiGi) expect customers to call in or visit their website everyday for the latest announcement whether it is extremely important or not.

If you ask me, DiGi takes full responsibility at informing customers on any changes(big or small) made on its product and service and customers can be easily informed via SMS or email.

Note to DiGi- Feel free to visit Wikipedia to learn more about Customer Service

Conclusion

It’s a bad network, then DiGi should improve it. It’s not the best broadband service, so don’t claim that. Customers are important, so communicate with them.

Everything seems to be related here, from product, marketing, network to customer service. If DiGi is serious in this business then a change is a must. DiGi needs a new management team with people who are passionate, energetic and ready for challenges.

In the end of the day, there is no DiGi without customers. There are a lot of customers out there who are still being loyal to DiGi hoping that they would improve/get better (I stayed with DiGi despite a number of people around me have ported to Maxis & Celcom for a better service). Eventually, these loyal DiGi customers will jump ship one day and they will probably never come back to DiGi.

But I’m not talking about DiGi customers here. The bigger picture here is whether does DiGi value and care for customers the same way they(customers) are paying for the services.

If customers are important, treat us right and show us some love DiGi!

 

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy