Three weeks ago, I took the plunge and got myself a Freedom Plan from Smart despite my misgivings about getting a postpaid plan. I reasoned that there was no lock-in period and I can always unsubscribe if I didn’t like the service. There is also a limit of P600/month to ensure that your bill won’t go over P600. I figured if I opted to ditch the plan, I would only be out the P250 processing fee. The people who handled my application from Smart SM Centerpoint were very helpful, I was even able to choose a number I liked.
But just on the first day, I was already very happy with my Trinet 400! 2,000 texts to all networks, 500 minutes of Smart to Smart/TNT/Sun, and 150MB mobile internet. This plan was really very sulit!
The mobile internet comes in handy when:
- I’m going to an unfamiliar place and need to see Google Maps (works well with Google Latitude!)
- to keep myself always online on YM, to be notified when I receive emails (I only use my real email here, not the other email address that gets all the spam)
- to check out movie times, restaurant reviews and Google specs and reviews of something I saw on sale and was considering buying
- and if I was so inclined, to keep myself online on Viber or Whatsapp
- just minimize watching videos and other data-intensive stuff
To give yourself peace of mind and to make sure you don’t go over the 150MB limit, install the 3G Watchdog app (I am using Android). It’s free. Then install the big widget so you will always see your mobile internet consumption. You can set 3G Watchdog to disconnect your mobile internet when it reaches 99% of your quota (which you set in the settings). Also, install the 3G Watchdog Mobile Data Switch Widget — this will let you turn your mobile data ON and OFF with a press. If you go over 150MB, you are charged the regular rate of P10/30 minutes, but they tell me that you get a text notification when you are about to reach your limit. I have not experienced this yet so I can’t confirm.
The 2,000 texts and 500 minutes are as good as unli for me. Unless I spend every waking minute texting, I don’t see how I can use up 2,000 texts. It’s been 3 weeks and I’ve barely scratched 500 texts, and I have been texting at every need. I am not scrimping on my texts here! And my calls? A measly 1 hour! My mobile phone calls are usually the “where are you? I’m here waiting for you” type. Or, “Are you at the supermarket? Can you buy this and that?” Note to self: must schedule telebabad sessions before the month ends.
So far, so good. I find this Trinet 400 a keeper (until something better comes along). I think it is currently the best value in the Philippine telecoms universe. The call quality is definitely clearer than Sun’s.
I was so happy with my Freedom Plan (but unfortunately did not have many people in my circle on Smart), that I bugged DB to get a plan too. This is where we encountered a lot of problems. The first time at SM Centerpoint, DB showed his SSS ID and it was rejected. Huh? We thought we only needed a valid ID? Apparently, an SSS ID isn’t a valid ID. The only ID they accept is something that includes the person’s address. The second time, DB brought along his Globe DSL bill, which was 2k a month. We waited in line at Smart Megamall and when it was our turn, we proudly presented the requirements and then were told approval would take 1 hour! As in, leave your papers, come back in an hour. Now, DB had a very horrible experience as a Smart Bro subscriber for 5 years a long time ago. Being told this somehow made all the bad memories from Smart come back all at once and he just got up and crumpled his application form and threw it in the nearest trash can.
After some tantrums from me about not being able to call him Smart-to-Smart, he finally agreed to give it another shot. I prayed that the third time’s the charm. We were at SM Centerpoint again and hoped that the people who helped me get my Freedom plan the last time were there. Fortunately, one was there and he was very helpful. He processed our application right away. None of the crap we got from the Smart Megamall branch. But damn, that was way too much effort just to get a Smart plan! So if you are planning to get a Smart Freedom Plan, avoid SM Megamall. The lines are long and the service impersonal. Bring extra paperwork like a billing statement to verify your address. And if you are in the vicinity of SM Centerpoint, look for the helpful Grace Gonzales and Randell Chua.
Oh, one more thing that annoyed me — it seems you can’t pay for your bill in cash anymore. The cashier only processes credit card payments and such. At Smart Megamall, they now use that thing that looks like an ATM. I don’t like those things and try to avoid them if I can when at the bank. I would really much rather pay an actual bank teller person than drop my money into a machine. Anyway, same concept at the Smart center. And it can’t give you change (in coins). I assume you need to round up your payment where it can be paid by bill money, and any change is credited to your bill in the next billing period. But personally, I would really still prefer dealing with a live person who can give me exact change, including coins. Anyway, so for now I will be sticking to paying my Smart bill in banks and bayad centers.
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The Barat Queen
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