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Sunday, 27 January 2008

M1's spotty 3G coverage

Most times, when people compare mobile phone telcos in Singapore, I can only think of one company: M1. Its price plans are reasonable, its islandwide reception is excellent, and I've never had problems using its roaming service when overseas.

Having said that, there is one sore area that has bugged me for two years: its 3G coverage, or rather, its non-existent 3G coverage in certain parts of the island. My biggest peeve is that I can't get a 3G reception at the Shenton Way / Raffles Place area. As soon as I enter this "dead zone", my 3G Internet connection dies. It just disappears. It doesn't matter if I was surfing just fine along Nicoll Highway. As soon as I cross Fullerton Bridge, 3G reception vanishes. Which doesn't make sense since I'm in town and reception should be optimal there.

This has baffled me for the longest time. Surely the spotty coverage would've been solved in two years, right? Also, M1 provides islandwide wireless surfing through its 3G network, so that means that it should be a reliable provider anywhere. My other theory is that if I can get normal mobile phone coverage, then I should also have 3G reception. (Of course, engineers will tell me that having one service does not necessarily mean having the other due to different technologies involved. But try telling that to a layman.)

Then why is it that I can't get a decent 3G connection? Why do I have to hope and pray that my download goes through every time? This is an especially sore point because M1 has enticed me with free video streaming for one month. But if I can't connect to the network, then this freebie is basically worthless. (Perhaps that's why it's free!)

3G has been around in Singapore for a few years already, and telcos are already promoting the next version, 3.5G. Meanwhile, 3G seems to be languishing. Which is sad because the government and telcos had been hyping it up for the longest time.

I still trust M1 and would continue subscribing to it. I just wish that they'd fix their 3G network as soon as possible. At least before they roll out their 4G network.


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