I have been a loyal Globe subscriber since 1999, starting with Islacom, until it was merged with Globe, finally becoming a postpaid subscriber after I joined the workforce and had enough money to pay for it on my own in 2003 (which was also the first and last time I blew nearly Php 30,000 on a brand new phone – this was 2003, 30k was a big hole in my pocket).
True, I did have a Smart postpaid for about three years but I used it simultaneously with my Globe line.
And yet, even after ten years, my belief that Globe sucks has not changed. Why?
a) Signal – this ain’t a big secret. Whereas if you’re a Smart subscriber, you have signal even when you’re inside the deepest part of your house or in a cave (yes, a cave – tried this in a cave in Bulacan),with Globe, I barely get one bar in our condo or in my parents’ house in QC. And my parents’ house is a bungalow in a large subdivision with hardly any interference with signal.
There was an urban legend when I was still working at Globe (yes, haha, I used to work there but left after seven months) that this was because Globe refuses to just put up cellsites – the joke was Smart puts cell sites even on coconut trees while Globe would build gated spaces for their cellsites. Another urban legend was that the Ayala’s refuse to pay rebel taxes that’s why their cell sites are often bomb targets. I don’t know if these are true, but fact is, signal sucks.
b) Hidden charges – you know those irritating texts from four-digit numbers asking you to join text contests or download or sends trivia? No, they’re not for free. They charge you. And what’s even more annoying is when you try calling up Globe to stop these spam texts, they will ask you which promos you were receiving because, apparently, these things need to be shut off one by one based on their “codes” or whatever. Isn’t that stupid? How can you keep track of all these spam?
c) Internet browsing – this last item is what irritated me the most. Two months ago, I got the shock of my life after I got a text from 290 that my bill is already Php 7,000! And 5k of that was due to browsing. Now, I don’t normally surf using my phone; I have the laptop for that. Here’s what went down: one particular day when Joey was confined at the hospital, I surfed for about 3-4 hours in the afternoon watching Car’s music videos on Youtube. Just that one day. And then I got a text from 290 saying I already accumulated Php 5,000 on browsing charges, and asking if I would like to switch to time-based billing? WTF??? Apparently, the default is per KB charging and you need to have time-based activated separately. Geez. Couldn’t they announce this? After changing the mode of billing, my succedding browsing charges was only less than Php 500 – this after almost a month of browsing intermittently.
I’m actually used to getting a huge phone bill – I average 2-3k a month and about 5-7k when I am travelling and 10k when Ipe was in the US. But these were all roaming-related so I get it. But to have to pay 5k for browsing is ridiculously insane (emphasis intended) – especially when my 24-hr 2mbps broadband connection at home is only Php 1,450 including cable tv.
The only good thing I like about Globe is the roaming services. They cover more markets than any other network in the country, and it’s easy to subscribe to this service. Plus, in countries where special units are needed, you can get these from Globe offices in the country, rather than in roaming partners in your destination country. Understandably, this is Globe’s pride since it is dubbed the businessman’s phone; if you analyze subscriber demographics, Smart has mainly prepaid subs, while Globe has mmore postpaid subs (most of which are in the NCR), and naturally, businessmen or young executives travel a lot and need good roaming coverage.
Now, why do I stick with Globe? I honestly don’t know. Maybe because I was so used to it, and my family (both Ipe’s and mine) have been Globe subscribers since pages and beepers gave way to cellphones. It’s only sentimentality that ties me to it and it is being put to the test constantly.