| Zee Yusri |
CLIENTS of Telekom Brunei Berhad’s (TelBru) broadband service will see a big change in pricing plans for their Internet subscriptions beginning March 1, in accordance with an earlier announcement on January 14, so that subscribers can choose a plan suitable to them.
Aligned with Brunei Darussalam’s National Broadband Policy aspirations to promote accessibility and afford-ability, the major amendment was announced yesterday at a press conference held at TelBru’s headquarters in the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex.
The new rates will be almost 40 per cent lower than the current broadband plans as the initiative aims to enable all Bruneians to access world-class broadband technology at more affordable rates, which is an important step towards realising Brunei’s vision of a smart society and enhancing its international competitiveness.
The change is aimed at improving penetration and adaptation of ICT among Bruneian households, that is intended for lower entry cost and increased awareness of thoughtful usage.
TelBru shared that 70 per cent of its customers will not pay more than what they are paying currently and there will be no bill shock with the price cap.
Following the earlier announcement on January 14, TelBru had gathered customers’ feedback which was supportive and encouraging.
As per the amendment, it is the customer’s discretion to purchase top-ups and there will be no disconnection or continuous charging after the free quota.
SMS or e-mail notifications will also be available to keep customers informed of their usage and they will have convenient portal accessibility anywhere, anytime with any device. In addition, there will be a self-service portal for usage viewing and top-ups.
Bringing forth the notion of ‘you use less, you pay less’, this transformation will allow customers to a specified amount of data quota for their selected bandwidth.
It was also revealed that once the data quotas of the selected plans have been used up, customers will not lose their Internet connection but rather have their bandwidth reduced.
For instance, customers will enjoy the low monthly rental of $39 with 45GB of data.
However, once that 45GB of data is used up, customers will still be able to use their Internet connection, but at a controlled (slower) speed.
In light of this new policy, TelBru will also introduce top-up plans for customers who are in need of an extended data quota. Upon finishing their bandwidths, customers may purchase a top-up plan of their choice to restore the reduced bandwidth to its original speed, as per originally subscribed.
TelBru described a scenario involving 1GB and 45GB amounts of data, where 1GB of data will get a customer nearly seven hours of web surfing, five hours of TV streaming with standard definition, five minutes high definition YouTube video clips some 27 times or five minutes of standard definition video clips some 48 times, 51 hours of Facebook access without video streaming, 20,480 text-only e-mails, and 51 hours of online chatting (video chat).
Whereas customers with 45GB of data will get 17 hours of YouTube videos where the average video length is four minutes long which is equivalent to 255 YouTube videos. It will allow 5,000 hours of web browsing of normal websites and 2,500 hours of website access with more content and images.
In addition it will provide customers with 12,000 video minutes or 8.3 days for video calls, 11,250 MP3 downloads where the average MP3 song length is four minutes, skype to skype voice chats worth 120,000 minutes or 83 days, and it will also allow for 585 hours of normal quality music streaming or 315 hours for higher quality streaming.
However, there will be a price cap for plans with bandwidths from 1Mbps to 10Mbps – where customers will pay no more than $280 a month, regardless of the frequency of top-up plans they intend to purchase.
These top-up plans may be purchased via TelBru’s eBill online or eBill mobile app. The top-up plans that will be made available are 10GB at $8 valid for seven days, 20GB at $15 valid for 14 days and 40GB at $25, valid for 21 days.
Effective on March 1, all eSpeed and HSBB customers will be automatically migrated to the new revised pricing plans and their March bill will show their new plans with their revised rental and data bundle package plan, as well as their data usage for the month. However, customers need to download and update their eBill mobile application as a new version will be available soon.
As TelBru’s broadband services have advanced over the years, customers’ outlooks of higher speed have gone up.
To cater to customers’ questions about the speed of their Internet connection, TelBru yesterday made clear that Internet speed is reliant on the number of devices connected to one’s network, as well as the rate of data consumption by each of those devices.
It was explained that with an average of seven to eight users with multiple devices connected to the same network simultaneously, an increase of bandwidth will ultimately be necessary to ensure faster connection.
TelBru also has arranged awareness programmes to make customers understand that when they have more users, they will need more bandwidth.
TelBru’s introduction to its new pricing plans is also part of its goal to inspire customers who experience unsatisfactory Internet connections to move up a bandwidth at affordable costs with fewer limitations on simultaneous active connections.