Prepaid Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Handphones

Previously, I wrote about the outrageous battles of publicity between our three telco operators.

It is a never-ending war that has conquered almost every single aspect of our lives. From newspapers, to TV, to the Internet, to cinemas, to billboards, to even the lamp posts on our streets, it is becoming almost impossible to get through a single day without encountering an ad for either one of Maxis, Digi or Celcom.
In a war where everyone is claiming they are the best, who exactly is the best?

No one seems to have a definite answer.
Which is why I decided that is gonna do something good for the people, and put an end to this bitter rivalry, once and for all.

I am a Celcom Postpaid user, which makes me somewhat of a neutral observer in this war between Prepaids. I am not endorsing anyone. In fact I have little to gain even if Xpax decided to grace me with sponsorship, simply because I have a phone allowance and my bills are already taken care of by my employer. Besides, it’s just too much of a hassle for me to switch numbers.
In the interest of finding out which telco has the better prepaid plan, I purchased four different SIM packs over the Christmas break. After extensive research, sleepless nights and countless cups of caffeine, I am putting Maxis Hotlink, Digi Prepaid and Celcom Xpax in the ring for a head-to-head triple threat, round-of-six prizefight.

And here are the results.
Round 1: The Cheapskate User
You are a cheapskate user if you own a phone mainly to let people call you.

You’re not the kind who make a lot of phone calls yourself. When you do, it’s just to say “Ma, I finish school already. Come pick me up liaw.” or “Ah boy ah, are you coming home to eat tonight?” If you wanna talk for longer, you’ll probably do that bloody annoying thing of making a miss call, then expect the person to call you back.
Sounds familiar? Then cheapskates like you should be looking at the low usage plans by the three operators on offer.

Call rates between the three are very similar. But the difference-maker here is that Hotlink’s credits last longer and expire later.
Say you spend RM15 a month, a RM30 reload would last you 2 whole months on Hotlink, compared to just 1 month on either Celcom or Digi. That makes Hotlink’s Easy Plan the clear winner this round.

Round 2: The Interstate Lover
You are an Interstate Lover if you often call to numbers all throughout Malaysia.

You don’t have a lot of friends locally, which is why you have to always call outstation to harrass people from another state. Most people would find you a freaking weirdo, because unless you’re a businessman how often do you make phone calls to people from another state?

Digi’s one flat rate nationwide comes in handy here. The only time Digi is more expensive is if you call outstation Celcom numbers extensively. Xpax would turn out cheaper in that case since you don’t have to wait till you hit RM30 a month to get 38c/min.

Round 3: The Clique Member
You are a Clique Member if you and your friends are like The Stellars. Or EPL football players.

Everything you do, die die must do together.
You go out for lunch together, you pose for the cameras together, you wear the same clothes together. Heck, you probably even share the same boyfriends together. (Ewww…)
In which case, I’m sure you have no problems sharing the same telco together.

If you and your bunch of friends are shopping for new prepaid lines together, Xpax is best.
All three telcos offer special low rates for your list of special numbers. But Hotlink Total’s Activ5 and Digi’s F&F only allow numbers belonging to their own network to be on the list.
With Xpax’s 8pax, you can add not just Celcom numbers but also TM fixed lines to the list and enjoy the low rates for up to eight assigned numbers. It’s a cool deal that even Hotlink’s super cheap 10c/min off-peak dwarfs in comparison.

With each of our big three neck-and-neck with three points each under their belt, just who will emerge victorious as the winner in the battle of prepaids?

Create polls and vote for free.
Stay tuned for the conclusion, in the next episode of… Prepaid Wars!

Contest Freebie of the Week:

105 Replies to “Prepaid Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Handphones”

  1. Wow, for once Im first.
    I gotta go with Hotlink. They set the Im quite close to them in terms of work!

  2. actually, if you’re in a clique, i think digi will be a better choice. because if you have mtv powerpack, sms is free to your f&f. you pay rm5 a month. all my girlfriends use digi because of that. haha.

  3. I think that unless if you r a new user, else it would be seriously a big hassel for u to switch number…
    You’ll have to tell the whole world that u switched and u might miss out some people and you can never change the phone number you filled in on forms (job application, government form bla bla bla)…Also you might have some credit left in your phone and you wouldnt want to lose it.
    There’s something that I think should be added, I know I’ve read this few years ago on newspaper but it should still stand.
    Say if you are using 012 penang but you are in KL currently, so calls make to 012 penang number regardless of where your friend is will be considered outstation call, while you use your 012 penang to call your KL number friends, it will not be consider outstation call.
    I used to use 016 and passed it to mum, so I’m gonna vote for DIGI =)

  4. hey Jagjit, the duration for hotlink is that long la as this is the new Total Plan.if u’re SMS Plan/Call Plan then the duration is as normal.
    Hotlink-more expensive but good in coverage
    Digi-good with cheaper call rate and more freebies….birthday week extra 50% of any top up!!!
    Xpax-cheap for family member usage or constant calling to TM fixed line.
    All got their pro and con too.

  5. wei
    why the hell you make big show as Xpax
    stone cold steve austin should play that role
    I dont use any
    coz when I use a cellphone
    i felt my head is painful.
    radiation… suxx EM waves

  6. Hey, don’t forget about coverage as well as network congestion problems . . . I’m a postpaid user, and Maxis can be a serious pain in the arse . . . I’m so not kidding . . .

  7. If Digi were a person, I would hate it. I have always hated Digi so I’m rooting for Maxis.
    Maybe you should have some Singaporean’s view on this. Theirs would be more neutral. =)

  8. very clever using the champs for the 3 big promotions of wwe to represent the major prepaid services in malaysia.
    go celcom … some how i just like this line despite the fact my friends have been begging me to change to a cheaper prepaid number

  9. I think one f&f sms for digi is rm0.03 and not rm0.01 eh.. Not that cheap. Btw, I’m voting Digi coz I’m using it. However, Digi kinda sucks when it comes to line problem.

  10. For student , using hotlink campus zone has an advantage compare to others. 1 cent to others hotlink users. Since i am student, i will use hotlink. And Hotlink undeniably has the best coverage

  11. Digi has lots of surprises for you. I like the birthday bonus where u get 50% extra of what u reload. digi rocks!

  12. Actually I think what matter is the connectivity around Malaysia whether they cover the whole malaysia or not.In matter of emergency,sometimes we desparately need to call somebody but there isnt any line..another thing is which one is most of our friends using..sms also will be cheaper..

  13. I’m a Celcom prepaid user…and the call rates especially the non-adjacent ones are really goddamn expensive πŸ™ Their only good thing is the network coverage.
    I have to give DiGi the thumbs up, and will migrate to it once the cellphone number retaining plan is implemented.

  14. Hey Kenny,
    Funny you how you write a bit about “hand phone attitudes” – I have a manager that reports to me who claims that her husband (who is working in India) sends a like so many thousands of ringgit each month (the amount by the way, changes every month) and she is earning RM6,000 a month, but yet when she calls me or any of her colleagues, the first thing she said when we picked up the phone is, “Call me back, call me back.”, then she abruptly hangs up.
    We are now so fed-up with her that we do not call her back and more…
    However, she has the chic to call us again and repeat herself and again hang up. When she calls for the third time, sheÒ€ℒll ask, Ò€œWhy you never call me back, huh?Ò€. Can you believe that?

  15. I prefer Digi. But to avoid the hassles of changing phone number, i have to stay with Hotlink which I hate a lot.

  16. all prepaid sucks…..go for postpaid more benefit!!!free sms and calls every month, plus the rates is even much lower than prepaid…
    “its truth that prepaid is used by rich people”

  17. i’m trying to think of this in a vodafone, telstra, optus and three mobile company here in Aus… nice topic! =) and lovin the illustrations!

  18. i think it’s rather unfair for digi to be compared to hotlink when hotlink total and easy are bundled as one

  19. Kenny: To answer your question in round 2… I am not a businessman by any means, but I do call outstation a lot because I’m a student studying in a different state! Meaning I’m from KL but I study somewhere else, so I call home and friends from a lot lar. πŸ™‚ Don’t jump to conclusions, haha. πŸ˜€ But don’t worry. I like your post. I am waiting for the last part! (Oh, btw, I’m also a Celcom Postpaid user. It’s great. Ha!)

  20. Personally I am using Digi, but when I use roaming for my Singapore line, I will definitely use Celcom. Why? It provides me with caller ID unlike Maxis or Digi…
    Digi is dirt cheap if close friends of urs uses it, no comments on the others

  21. hi kenny,
    to get 38c/min rate, you don’t have to wait till you hit RM30/mth. i was told by the cust svc at digi counter in kk (who was friendly, btw) that you can get 38c/min rate every time you reload RM30
    i am a maxis postpaid user but i also hv a digi prepaid no. last month, i spent a little over an hour on the phone with a friend in singapore around midnight and it cost me no more than RM6. so that’s like 10c/min. my friend’s number is a fixed line number.
    on which is a better prepaid, i suppose it depends on one’s usage (sms more or talk more). oh an also geographical factor. most people i know in kk would suggest digi but my kl friends say maxis is better. for coverage, it used to be celcom but digi & maxis are catching up fast. from your analysis tho, maxis looks like the winner
    oh well, like someone said, better use postpaid line

  22. Digi should be spending more money to upgrade its network…
    Dont really fancy celcom as it doesnt connect with youth
    Maxis is just ok…
    Afterall my vote goes to DIGI!

  23. im using the digi postpaid.
    my 2 cents worth..i dunno if the reception for postpaid n prepaid is the same but logically it should be la, but for my postpaid, the reception in many areas is damn bad ok. my digi in my room got no access at all whereas maxis n all got.
    anyway kenny…good post, a lot of effort. kudos kudos…though im not a prepaid fan, but if i was, i can see how u’d be damn helpful.
    would help the many youngsters n teenagers reading this blog.

  24. I’m using Maxis so I voted for Hotlink, Maxis. Anyway, my friends and I used to use Digi, but we all switched to Maxis. I made the mistake of topping up a day before one month since my last top up so they expected me to top up again. Cheebye Digi…Oh yeah, Hotlink is top in polls. Cool.

  25. jagjit..u r wrong… in easy plan.. rm30 is 60days rm60 is 120 days… in EASY PLAN~! …. y din compare the coverage ?? digi sure lose wan… digi line so cacat… celcom get da 1st , hotlink second , digi last~! then in the service…. celcom is da last…the service so pooorr,although coverage is gud..

  26. …n somethingz 4get to mention abt .. is.. DIGI din hav 3G~!! hahaha~~ digi user buy 3g phone oso no chance to use…..n digi coverage..reali damn suczkk.. all the way on highway will keep no line.. when emengency in somewhere no line… then how??? so better bring 3 prepaid number toghether.. hahaa

  27. i like digi… but too bad digi has no 3G
    so i switched to maxis… but i have another line for digi… 2 lines… i think cheaper…haha…

  28. Price-wise Digi is the best wei… look at all the outstation calls you can make, woohoo! But aiyoh, their connection problems can drive anyone up the wazoo. Inside same building talking on the phone walking walking suddenly no voice, suddenly got voice, suddenly sound like robot, suddenly cut off. Damn kanasai man.
    But all said, much love to Digi la. Because I’m a cheapskate. πŸ˜›

  29. For me, just stick at your current mobile network. If you really want to change then look at the 012:016:019 ratio in you phone list. Or have a rough idea how the ratio is. Mine is around 7.0:2.5:0.5 With that high number friends using 012 guess you can see that I’ll save more if I use Hotlink.
    So I think it depends on your peers. If most of your friends are using Digi… Digi then. If mostly are Hotlink… Hotlink then. The power is in your hand. πŸ˜›
    I’m a Maxis postpaid user now anyway so it doesn’t really matter to me. 1 more thing bfore I forget, starting from evening of New Year eve, DiGi has experienced network failure. Guess thats another explanation why I go for Maxis. How could you have network failure on such important day and it lasted half the day.

  30. When in M’sia, I use my S’pore roaming service…Haha. But being a sucker for advertisement, I prefer digi because it says it has the best coverage… True?

  31. I use DiGi just because of MTV Powerpack’s free SMS. Therefore, sms-ing my girlfriend becomes exponentially cheaper – in fact, it’s free! πŸ˜€
    Nice post!

  32. hotlink user here, wanted to change to total plan from sms plan but then i had to dial the stupid 1 300 number and after 1 minute i still cant figure out how and wasted some $ already by trying 2 times
    by the way, easy plan has no active 5
    been researching for the past week too and still cant decide which is the best of them all

  33. it’s a good review that u made there kenny..but i still prefer DG..refuse to go through the hassle of changing cellphone numbers!

  34. Has anyone mentioned that when you are at home, there are big chances that you don’t receive calls and message and the callers will be in a rather murderous mood the next time they see you?
    Cheap doesn’t mean it’s good. What is well-priced and has great reception? Back to the basics… a service that encourages a handphone to work like a phone perhaps?

  35. log on to to see the result of cyber sunday, and u will find out the winner is the ‘digi’ guy! lolx! all hail king ‘digi’! btw thanks to kevin federline for beating ‘hotlink’ guy when he was about to F-U ‘digi’. hahahaha!

  36. I think Vodafone should win. With a $49 prepaid top up, users can use up to $230 on calls, sms, 3G. Yippie…!!

  37. Maxis rocks my socks..haha. It saves me a lot with their 10c/min calls during off peak period, even if it means calling my activ5 after 12am. Most of them won’t be sleeping so early either.
    But even if we know who the clear winner is, most people prolly won’t change their numbers so easily, it’ll be hard for people who wants to contact them. Especially if they’re working..

  38. Eh, do one for normal users la..
    Anyway, this only proves digi’s “1 lwo flat rate” campaign doesnt SPECIFICALLY target any one of the niches you specified imho. Celcom would be so much more attractive with their lower call n sms rates only if the majority of my friends were celcom users. Hm..digi 48c/min vs maxis 50c/min. 2 cents diff, maxis credit last longer,im sticking to maxis.

  39. dude, i know i miscall you all the time k that’s because i’m jobless right now. you don’t have to “make 1 round n suk me” ma…. hahahah.. πŸ˜› Digi sucks man. Bad connection and sucky service.

  40. The winner is………Hotlink, DiGi & Celcom…..Why…..?….Because I’m using 3 of them……hahahahahahahahahahahah…….I’m the real winner……

  41. digi better la… unlimited sms to FNF numbers for onli RM5 per month… plus digi offers talktime advance service… veri useful when u’re in urgent need of credit…

  42. most of my west msia frens use maxis prepaid. so even if u hv 8 f&f for celcom, the frens tat u most called will be in maxis…see the point? means for a west msian who is studying esp, the 8 columns might not even be filled in coz there’re too few frens around using celcom. but i’m neither of those prepaid..hehe:)

  43. A lot of people just don’t seem to READ. Kenny as repeatedly said that DIFFERENT plans and DIFFERENT providers suit DIFFERENT users with DIFFERENT needs and DIFFERENT preferences.
    … and there are these bunch of people still arguing their plans are “better” than others. oh my Malaysians.

  44. adam ure a bloody noob ! Total plan and sms plan is rm 30 for 30days rm 10 for 7 days but easy plan is special whenever u top up its give u twice the active period

  45. From my experience
    Celcom + customer service SUX terrible put me on hold and the babi will ask another babi then wait again or if they cant solve it they end your call.
    Coverage wise outstation good in town sometimes cant call out! My dad using the 3G service to online internet via notebook damn slow he said he prefer dial up
    Digi – Cheap very cheap u know the coverage how terrible? Sometimes i call my fren digi enter voicemail i ask her why she said my hp whole day on! my fren hse no signal or sometimes 1 bar at my office toilet No signal cheap kau lan ar cant use also thats why so cheap and the customer service not consider good but better than celcom
    Hotlink / Maxis – Coverage in most town are excellent and 1 thing i love the most is their customer service man efficient and accurate
    My parents use Celcom i hav Digi and Hotlink currently so trust me and u wont go wrong.

  46. i hate people who do miss call or ask me to call her/him back all the time. if it’s really because he/she out of credit then it’s ok, but i hate those cheapskates!

  47. I love DIGI cos they set the trend…others merely follow. DIGI..first to intro prepaid services, first to intro credit balance check, first to intro credit transfer between hp, etc etc…
    My vote definitely goes out to DIGI.

  48. im guessing ur enjoying your attention here thus you wont give the finale outcome anytime soon then?
    i take hotlink man have u seen the new ads?

  49. oh and the new call me thingy bonus thingy is quite cool.
    rates are ok la depends on how u see it. Digi appears to be cheap, but it really isnt. Hotlink appears to look expensive, that too..isnt. Celcom? balik kampung please. The postpaid isnt too bad though. I feel they have actually improved (adv wise.)

  50. Like the way you present the whole thing. I would go with Hotlink as previously i used Celcom and Digi. Been a hotlink user for coming 7 years..nothing to complain about, steady connections, no network busy / congestions issue and love the extra credit bonus of every top;s like what they said… why settle for occassional rewards when you can get rewarded every time

  51. Who cares? as long as you can make a call for the paipman whenever you are shouting in the toilet for “Omg! Shyt-Xploding!!!” then every packages is fine.

  52. DiGi is the best telcos compared with maxis and celcom bt the network quality was very bad. i think if digi can improve the network i believe more people will choose DiGi and will make DiGi no 1 in malaysia because DiGi always the smarter choice. celcom and maxis useless an only know to sucks money. come on lets us change to DiGi. time to change.

  53. Digi Rocks! all my friends use digi in sabah.
    wanna know why i choose digi? the reason is digi is the smarter choice..
    about celcom last time i use celcom but unsatisfied with the customer services and the billing process..i choose digi because my friend who use celcom postpaid have to pay rm680.00+ and the crazy things about it is he only use it for 2 week..can you imagine that?.after been sue by the celcom company he been force to pay..the wierd this is the limit that you can use is RM150.00 how can it reach 4x more than the limit?? outstanding right?
    but the story not end there..after 6 month he complete pay the bill (dunno where it come from) the he recive a bill again from celcom to pay RM50.00 (then i started thinking celcom really like money than quality service) after ingnore the bill 1 month later he recive another sue letter by the celcom company again..
    do you all think it is fair to my friend??? he is a student and havent work and been sue 2 time by celcom…..thats y he ask we all to change to DIgi..

  54. actually if you see properly ….
    actually DIGI prepaid wins lar…
    it saves more money
    it is cheaper actually…
    spending 6 per day is freaking expensive than just spending 30 per month for digi prepaid AND after reload 30 got free % lor…it makes more sense…
    u brainwash or wat?

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