We have been using the Smart BRO Prepaid for the past 3 weeks already and the comment that we can best describe the service is : UNSTABLE.
We used the Php4,500 device on 3 different laptops and on 3 different desktops… in different locations and the service is still UNSTABLE.
When using the default UMTS Preferred network setting, you will not be able to browse continuously because of unstable speeds and sometimes the pages do not load. We called-up the Smart BRO customer service and they answered the phone right away. We got this usual “fix-it” advice from them:
“On Network Settings, choose GPRS/EDGE Preferred instead on the UMTS Preferrred.”
We tried out the GPRS/EDGE Preferred settings but still the connection was totally unstable. The customer service rep asked us how many “bars” did we have in the signal strength and we answered that it is “full-bars” or “full-signal strength”.
The next solution was to try the GPRS/EDGE Only settings. When doing this, it became more stable but much much slower. As we were doing all these experimentations, the customer service rep was patiently and politely waiting on the line to see if evrything was okay. She said that maybe the 3G connection in our area is not strong. But we said that we are in the heart of Makati… isn’t 3G supposed to be strong here? We even said that we are right beside the window and signal strength for 3G is strong. Anyway, we knew that it was not the fault of the customer service rep and just thought that things will improve over time.
We then experimented with the UMTS only setting. This was almost totally useless. Even though there were 3 bars on the signal-strength meter… pages would not open most of the time. We had to try 3x to load the page. Although, if the page did load, it loaded the fastest as compared to the other settings.
To summarize, we tried all these settings with 3 different laptops and 3 different desktops in various locations… Makati, Greenhills, Quezon City and Ortigas. The issue is still that Smart BRO Prepaid is an unstable service. We do not know if the service has been oversold versus the capacity to provide 3G service or bandwidth or download space. We just hope that Smart BRO Prepaid would improve in their service.
If you ask us if it is faster than those pre-paid cards… yes it is but not 7x faster as advertised. And while your pages are slow-loading with the Smart BRO Prepaid, you know that your precious load (money) is being eaten-up.
Great customer service though… but it is the actual service that we really pay for, right?