When Maxis first launched the Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited plans claiming that it was “Truly Unlimited Internet” and “Unlimited Calls”, for an affordable price, I just couldn’t believe it.
I mean, its the mighty Maxis, and everything cost a premium. Plus I didn’t expect Maxis to respond to the U Mobile GX30 prepaid plan (unlimited Internet), although Maxis took around two years (and nothing yet comparable from Xpax and Digi).
So I went through every terms and conditions, including the FAQ page of the Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited plans and I couldn’t find anything that limits the Internet speed and usage.
This is what Maxis wrote in the FAQ section of the Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited Plan:
“There is no quota limit to the Unlimited Internet Passes, you will enjoy high speed Internet and upon reaching the limit for Fair Usage Policy, you will surf on reduced speeds”
What this means is that you could consume as much data as you want, and since Maxis claimed that this is a “Truly” Unlimited Internet package with speeds up to 3Mbps ad 6Mbps, the fair usage policy here is technically unlimited. No other usage policy were mentioned.
The press announcement sent to MalaysianWireless on Thursday also clearly talks about unlimited Internet. This is what Navin Manian, Maxis’ Head of Hotlink Consumer said, “With Hotlink, there are no limits to what you can do,”
But about a day after launching the new Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited plan, Maxis started to limit Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited with usage caps that wasn’t there during launch.
As of today, the Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited plan was quietly updated with the following FAQ:
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What is the Fair Usage Policy for Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited and how does it work?
We offer unlimited internet with Fair Usage Policy (FUP). Upon reaching the FUP limits, users will be informed that they will be surfing on a reduced speed until the pass expires.
The FUP limit varies for each internet pass; 5GB for daily pass, 15GB for weekly pass and 50GB for monthly passes for high speed internet and there’s no quota limit for surfing on reduced speed.
The reduced speed is capped at 512kbps which allows fairly good user experience for video streaming on standard definition, social media apps, internet browsing, etc.
All of a sudden, there’s now a maximum 50GB usage cap on Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited plans and speed limit of just 512Kbps, misleading consumers into believing that this was a “truly unlimited” Internet plan with speeds up to 3Mbps/6Mbps.
With these changes, the Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited plans are now Limited plans with quota.
Why did Maxis mislead users about its Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited plans during launch? Was this rushed? Was the Hotlink team confused?
Last month, MalaysianWireless wrote that Maxis has never been able to sign up more prepaid customers since the third quarter 2015 (3Q15). The Telco had 8.85 million prepaid subscribers (RGS) in 3Q15 and it gradually decreased over the past 4 years, now down to 5.88 million in first quarter 2020 (1Q20).
The Hotlink Prepaid Unlimited plan was supposed to help Maxis gain more prepaid users. But misleading customers into signing up would only break trust.
Perhaps the Maxis-Hotlink team should take a step back and look at what they have done. To be honest, a 50GB quota at RM35/RM45 a month is a very good deal, but Maxis should have disclosed this since Day 1.
Now its too late for a damage control.
Disclaimer: This is a commentary and does not necessarily represent the view of MalaysianWireless.