Home / Mobile Operators / Maxis / My experience with the Maxis 3G network- slow speed, poor coverage & needs a better network team [Comment]

My experience with the Maxis 3G network- slow speed, poor coverage & needs a better network team [Comment]

I ported to Maxis in August 2014, hoping to experience the widest and fastest mobile network in Malaysia, as Maxis claims. This isn’t my 1st time on Maxis as I have been experiencing the network from time to time.

Maxis-new-network-test-drive

Maxis employees taking part in the New Network Test Drive in early November.

Maxis claims that its widest & fastest network in Malaysia have the following capabilities:

  • Zero buffering on Youtube 96% of the time
  • Popular website page load in less than 8sec
  • Minimum 1Mbps Download Speed 80% of the time
  • Data Connection in 3G, 98% of the time

I was on Maxis from August 2014 to December 2014, these are some the issues that I’ve personally experienced:

Maxis has a slow & congested 3G network

This is the telco that used to shout about its 42Mbps network on 3G, followed by 75Mbps on 4G LTE but it is now promising only a minimum 1Mbps speed on its brand new network in Malaysia.

A new network that is slower?

There use to be a time where Maxis 3G was able to hit more than 10Mbps, but during the 4-5 months period with Maxis last year(Aug-Dec), the average speed I experienced on the Maxis 3G network was about 1-3Mbps, this appears to be the speed limit set by Maxis for the SurfMore plan, a postpaid plan targeted to heavy mobile Internet users. For me, the service from Maxis has deteriorated.

There were a number of areas where I can’t even get 1Mbps, or send out simple WhatsApp messages. One such area where Maxis 3G performed worse is at KL Sentral, located about 200m away from Plaza Sentral where the Maxis Network team is based.

I have no major issues with Maxis 4G LTE. It offers faster speed and decent coverage outdoor, but the speed appears to be inconsistent indoor, for an example inside the MidValley shopping mall.

Below are some of the Maxis 3G & 4G speedtest results that I have recorded. All speedtest are performed against local Internet servers.

Maxis3G-KL-Sentral-8Sept2014

Maxis 3G Speedtest at KL Sentral on 8 September 2014. 350Kbps download speed. There was a couple of time that 3G data don’t work at all due to heavy congestion.

Maxis3g-Redang13Sept-2014

Maxis 3G Speedtest at Redang Island, Terengganu on 13 September 2014. 280Kbps download speed. In comparison, Celcom 3G was hitting 10Mbps download speed at the same location.

Maxis3G-Setapak-Tea-Garden-Cafe-31Oct-2104

Maxis 3G Speedtest at Setapak Tea Garden Cafe at Jalan Genting Kelang, Setapak on 31 October 2014. 70Kbps download speed or no data at all.

Maxis4G-LTE-Majestic-Hotel-11Nov2014

Maxis 4G LTE Speedtest at The Majestic Hotel, KL on 11 November 2014. The 9Mbps download is a good speed, but at other areas, Maxis 4G is capable of delivering speeds up to 40Mbps.

Maxis4G-Midvalley-LG-11Nov-2014

Maxis 4G LTE Speedtest at Mid Valley Megamall (LG Floor) on 11 November 2014. Pretty good download speed at 38Mbps however the upload speed is less than 3Mbps.

Maxis4g-Starbucks-L3-KLCC-14Nov2014

Maxis 4G LTE Speedtest at Level 3, Starbucks, KLCC on 14 November 2014. 50Mbps download speed and 21Mbps upload speed.

Maxis3G-Connexion-Nexus-Bangsar-South-18Nov2014

Maxis 3G speedtest at [email protected], Bangsar South on 18 November 2014. Only 1.92Mbps download speed at an area which is recognised as the MSC Malaysia Cybercentre.

Maxis3G-KL-Festival-City-Mall-14Dec2014

Maxis 3G Speedtest at KL Festival City Mall, Setapak on 14 December, 2014. 160Kbps inconsistent download speeds.

Note: All the speedtest results above were sent to the Maxis network team.

Maxis Network Team needs improvement

I believe that a poor mobile network comes from a lousy network team. A little bird from a Telco network team told me that Maxis takes a long time to upgrade its base station/network. For an example, a Telco would normally start planning to upgrade a base station once it starts hitting the 70-80% capacity. In the case of Maxis, I was told that the Telco waits till the base station hits the 100% limit before planning for the capacity upgrade, resulting congestion and slow speed experience over a period of few months.

Apart from the poor network planning, execution and optimisation (in my opinion), the Maxis network team also took a long time to response to my network issues despite my direct communication with the Maxis Network Customer Experience team. The Maxis Network Customer Experience team handles all network complaints channeled via the Maxis Customers Service team. It took them a couple of days to weeks for a response like “The site is congested” with no further information like the estimated time to resolve the problem or other details. Sometimes there’s no follow up at all for certain cases.

In one of my case, Maxis dismantled a base station at Diamond Square, Setapak in September 2014. It resulted a blind spot (no mobile coverage) in at least 3-4 roads around Diamond Square. Maxis then relocated the site in early November 2014 but it only covered a small part of Diamond Square while the rest remained a blind spot till now with no basic 2G voice service. Maxis responded in December and said “We have conducted some optimization activities in past weeks and notice the overall coverage has improved. The coverage and capacity condition may improve once the sites surrounding are all LTE enabled in coming years“. In simple words, Maxis is saying that the area now has mobile coverage (when there’s no coverage in reality) and LTE should solve the coverage problem in a minimum 2 years. As per my understanding, it is more challenging to deploy LTE(using higher band frequency) compared to basic 2G coverage and Maxis can’t even do basic coverage at the area right now. The response from Maxis does not make sense to me as deploying LTE won’t solve the problem.

Some network problems, for example, coverage issues don’t get resolved overnight. However what I expected from Maxis is to plan for a fix, set a reasonable estimated time frame for the new base station and share these info with the customers. When a base station gets taken down, customers don’t get reception anymore and they get frustrated. It is the responsibility of Maxis to engage and explain to these customers, but I don’t see them doing it right.

Maxis Man vs Network campaign

In theory, a new network should mean a better service for most people.

Based on my observation, there were increased complaints on slow internet, poor coverage and drop calls over the past 6-months. These issues were not fixed, yet in November 2014, Maxis launched its new video campaign called Man vs Network. The Telco said “If you’re using the new Maxis network, we’re confident you can watch YouTube videos without buffering 96% of the time. In fact, we’d bet Morten Bangsgaard, our Chief Technology Officer’s life on it.

Unfortunately, the “bet” appears to be one way as Maxis didn’t want to hear back from customers. Comments were disabled in all the 3 Maxis Man vs Network Youtube videos despite older videos have comments enabled. Out of the 3 Youtube videos, two of those videos have more “dislikes” than “likes”.

Maxis-Man-vs-Network-Youtube

Fortunately for customers, Maxis wasn’t able to turn off comments on its promoted Facebook post.

On 27 November 2014, Maxis posted on its Facebook page saying  “If you’re on the new Maxis Network, rest assured that you’ll enjoy download speeds of more than 1Mbps 80% of the time. We’re so sure of this, we’d bet our lives on it. Watch as we put our network to the test!“. The campaign resulted higher expectation on the new Maxis network and more complaints.

To date, there are more than 1600 comments and increasing even as this article is being written right now. Below are some the comments over the past few days:

  • Jude David- How does betting on your lives help with the speed?
  • Aaron Neville Chin- Mana ada fast??Maxis ni..ntah company apa.mahal n mcm Chipsmore!now u see now u don’t.line tak stable langsung!
  • Austin Lai- I cant connect to internet since last wednesday. This is the 4th times within these 2 months.
  • Azman Mustapha- Membazir je pkai maxis.
  • Nurul-anak Ridza- maxis hampeh…jangan d percaya…kt bangsar pun line mcm siput…laju lgi siput…lau da xleh survive bek tutup je…grrr
  • Cron Kit- it is not true. Now most area inside LRT also no network. Office no network. Corporate line sucks.
  • Din Lobo- Mane best…, kejap ade kejap xde..,, nk on9 pn susah…rugi bayar bulan2..
  • Jmey Ali- Wei….maxis skrg ni manyak tipu oooooo,….line ada xada,pah tu slow gilo
  • Wan Asfa Laili- Maxis line is so slow….waited for years for u to fix the problem but till now it is still the same:(
  • Erry Gunners- wei maxis mkn duit haram ke apa !!! bnda sume kna caj kredit tp prkhidmatan mcm sampah !!! dh dkt sminggu lebih internet maxis x leh guna klu guna ‘ H ‘ … asal pkai network ‘ H ‘ je mula la nk emergency call sume ada .. buat internet dh abis bnyk kdit tp serupa x leh nk bt apa .. ni pon harap network ‘ E ‘ je yg leh online fb to pon guna opera mini …
  • Hezekiah Asim- I challenge Maxis to do this experiment again in Zoo Negara…with the life tiger. See the line fast enough or not…Hehehe…
  • Izhar J Izhar- Putrajaya Presint 9 phase 11b very little 3g coverage or no 3g coverage… How to surf?
  • BlackCat TrainheartNet- bet your life on it ?? madafaka where r u right now ?? lemme kill u or see u jump from building , idiota !!
  • Syaiful Azman- I’m very sure my speed always like urghhhhhhh… Stupid maxis…
  • Rotiplanta Kaya- this is b*llshit especialy in BM…pls improved your speed! Internet always DISCONNeCTED! Seriously u must take care of your loyal customers who support u
  • Nurhazman Ridzuan- This is Bullshit!
  • Amirol Amir- Coverage Maxis paling teruk di dunia..
  • Muhammad Fakhri- maxis line mcm hampeh…sibuk menyalak pasal 4G…puihhh
  • Jit Hau Lim- Get your Maxis Man come my house. I am sure he die d… All these test tipu wan la… Haiz…

Read the rest of the comments here [link].

Conclusion

There’s no perfect mobile network out there and there might never be one. All the Telcos including Maxis, Celcom, DiGi and U Mobile have their own network problems.

However as the Maxis CEO, Morten Lundal says it, Its NOT OK to be OK. If Maxis wants to claim that it has the best network in the country that meet “International Standards“, than it should be like one.

First, it should resolve those known 3G network issues that customers are experiencing. Perhaps set up a special team that engage with these customers, understand their problem and try to fix it. It is not possible to make all customers happy but Maxis should at least make the effort to communicate. It takes time to build customer loyalty.

Second, instead of making claims like “I’ll bet my life on the network“, Maxis should challenge itself to improve customer experience instead of avoiding them. Perhaps Morten Bangsgaard should have challenged himself to reduce network complaints by half in 6-months or he would resign. There has to be a meaning to the challenge or no one would take Maxis seriously.

Third, Maxis promises a minimum 1Mbps speed, 80% of the time. These expectations could fuel more complaints if customers don’t hit 1Mbps speed, so Maxis should give more priority on slower speed complaints. It would be great if Maxis could map out the areas where its 3G network are congested so that customers becomes aware of it. It is also another way of telling customers that Maxis is aware that these areas are congested and it is working to fix it. If the Telco could be more honest and upfront of its network performance, Maxis can establish a better understanding with its customers and this could also help reduce the number of network complaints.

Fourth, Maxis should educate customers about its mobile network. For example, they should teach customers about how to avoid drop calls, how to get better signal reception, or how to better manage their mobile Internet quota. Maxis could start this by making its marketing campaigns more educational instead of just trying to sell it products. By educating customers, it could help lower down the number of calls and complaints the Customer Service team gets every month.

For me, I think the best network also means having the best customer experience and the best network team. Unfortunately, I never experience this with Maxis, yet.

Premium pricing also comes with a premium service and premium network, not a lousy one, for now, Goodbye Maxis.

P.s: Out of the 4 mobile operators, only the Blue and Orange have a network team with passionate people. They take network complaints and feedback more seriously and responds to Kugan in about 30min on average.

Disclaimer: This is a commentary. MalaysianWireless should not be held responsible for any in-accurate information published in the article.

About Kugan

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