(If you are interested to get a Gadget Plan some time in the future, be sure to read until the end.)
Gadget Plans are very popular today in this generation, especially with young professionals. All of the three biggest Telecommunication Brands (namely Sun Cellular, Smart, and Globe) offers the most popular Gadget Plans nationwide riding the excitement of the people towards this kind of marketing strategy.
Based on my observation, there are three (3) reasons why Gadget Plans are very popular today in the Philippines:
- Easy Application Process
Required documents depend on the TelCom, somehow, I am not going to talk about the required documents in describing the EASY application process of Gadget Plans because their required documents are the usuals. I am going to talk about the absence of Credit Cards in the deal. This is what made me decide before that I wanted to avail a Gadget Plan. Unlike other installment transactions in other establishments, Gadget Plans applications does not require the applicant to own a Credit Card. Since many of the young professionals today cannot afford to own a credit card, this installment plan is such a good opportunity.
- The “light feeling” of the installment payment scheme
Usually, Gadget Plans are paid monthly from 1-2 years. That already includes the monthly amortization of the gadget and the services consumption.
- The convenience of having Internet Connection and Mobile Services anytime, anywhere
Having access to the internet and mobile services anytime anywhere is a necessity for some people these days. Gadget plans give people the chance to have high-end gadgets with internet and mobile services in an affordable price.
As for me as well, these are the reasons why I fancied to get a Gadget Plan myself.
After a year of working as a professional, I wanted to have a high-end gadget but I cannot afford to pay high-end gadgets in lump sum amount and I also didn’t have a credit card yet that time to be able to avail installment plans in stores. So, I availed Sun Cellular’s Samsung Galaxy S5 Gadget Plan. I have been using their services for 7 months already. As a customer, I’ve had my ups and downs with the whole plan. For this article, let me share to you my observations and my experiences as a gadget plan user. I am hoping that this article will guide and help you.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 Postpaid Gadget Plan’s package included the following:
- Handset for Php 700.00 amortization monthly
- Samsung Galaxy S5 (All colors were available that time)
- 16GB Phone Memory
- No external Micro-SD Card
- With Charger and Earphones
- Bundled mobile and internet services for Php 999.00
- 1.5GB Internet Bandwidth cap per month
My expected total for my monthly payment was Php 1,699.00. The package looks affordable and sulit at first but unfortunately, my heart sank the day I claimed my handset. There is an additional item in my package. Something that they did not tell me when I inquired about the plan and during the application process. A required addition to the package was:
- 1 Broadband sim card for Php 600.00 monthly
They only told me that I can disconnect or deactivate the subscription of the additional broadband sim card after 3 months. They even emphasized that I should call them right away after 3 months to disconnect the subscription to avoid additional charges. I just can’t get the point of telling the customers to disconnect right away if we do not want extra charges because requiring us to add an additional broadband in our package is already an additional charge. Something that we didn’t think upon applying. A total of Php 2299.00 is not affordable and specially not sulit anymore.
Moreoever, for you to be able to claim the package, you would need to pay the first 3 months of your subscription (Php 1699 x 3 = Php5097.00) plus the first month payment of your additional broadband (Php600) so in total, you would need to pay a lump sum amount of Php5697.oo before you can get the package. In exhange of that, you will not be paying the subscription for 3 months and the additional broadband for 1 month.
The Internet and Mobile Services
The mobile and internet services for High-end gadget plans are paired with the mobile and internet plan 999. That allows the user to surf wherever in the net. It also allows the user to use whatever applications and download applications as well. Just as long as you do not exceed the 1.5GB bandwidth. And then I remembered that they said that it is an “unlimited surfing” plan but yes, they have a 1.5GB cap. But I didn’t have any problem with it because that much bandwidth is enough for me in a month so I am just comfortable with the service.
Their internet speed is fast enough for me to surf the net, conveniently use my social media accounts and lifestyle applications, and stream videos and music online. I don’t have problems with their Internet services. It is fast here in Cebu City. Though their internet service or signal is low in Hilongos, Leyte (my hometown) and I usually have connection problems there, but I also understand that there are still other parts in the country that still need improvements with regards to this. So no problem.
As for their mobile services, I don’t know if their “Sun-to-Sun unlimited texts” are really unlimited because whenever I check my bills, aside from those transactions to other networks, all sun-to-sun texts and calls are also counted as if there’s a specific limit for it.
I usually go out of the country and ever since, I always make sure that I activate my roaming services because I cannot contact my parents using the internet. I have always adored the roaming services for prepaid subscribers because I can still use the regular promos available locally. For my out-of-the-country trip this year, I tried using the roaming services for postpaid subscribers. Because I could not avail the regular promos for prepaid subscribers, I needed to get myself ready for the cost. Firstly, I researched the price ranges per text or per minute of the calls. For text messages, prices ranged from Php23.00 to Php25.00 depending on the country. Calls on the other hand ranges from Php40.00 to Php50.00 per minute, again, depending on the country. So I was all set to use the feature wisely.
Comparing the two roaming services, I cannot help but notice that the service prices for postpaid subscribers differ greatly from the service prices of prepaid subscribers. That would be because the “Sun-to-sun unlimited texts” for the postpaid subscribers will be forfeited or would no longer seem unlimited. Based in my observation, there’s no such thing as “unlimited Sun-to-sun texts” for postpaid subscribers, if you remember what I said at the mobile services section regarding my observations on my bills. If you are in the Philippines, your text and calls consumption will only be cheap so it will not exceed your credit limit. You won’t be able to notice that it is not exactly “unlimited” just like what they usually tell people. Somehow, in abroad, postpaid subscribers will be using their services with the international prices. The cost would be too expensive, thus, there is a great possibility to exceed the credit limit available for the subscriber. I have experienced that I exceeded my credit limit and it was very frustrating that they were not able to notify right away. Please refer to the next section for my experience about this.
I cannot help to see the injustice in it. Inside or outside of the country, postpaid subscribers are encouraged to spend more just because they are stereotyped as people who can afford.
Perhaps these are done to compensate the very affordable promos they give to prepaid subscribers? Whatever the reason is, the system is still unfair for postpaid subscribers.
First thing would be their on-call customer service hotline service. Their agents are very good and very polite. Whatever my problem is, they can always solve it. I really appreciate their agents. Thumbs up for them! Somehow, I must emphasize that there are too many sales talks throughout the call starting from the automated sales campaign to the offers from the customer service representatives. Honestly, it is very time-consuming to always listen to them when I just want to get to the meat of my problems.
They let you choose if you would like to have the hard-copy bill or the e-statement. That is a very good effort for the environment! Their bill, online or not, arrives on time.
I am also happy that, just like other companies, they also have an online portal where users are automatically added to the system and users can log-in using their mobile number and check out their accounts online anytime, anywhere. That is a very good effort!
Their real-time system is NOT, even once, real-time. Let’s start with their payments accreditation scheme. Their turnaround time to post customer payments in their system is, I dunno, DAYSSSS or WEEKSSSS? Usual turnaround time for transactions for other companies are 24 to 48 hours and that is a very acceptable turnaround time. In this advanced society, it is very hard to think why such automatic and paperless transactions take a very long time to post in the system. Turnaround times of transactions are very important things for customers. That would be because some services will not available if the payment or a specific transaction has not been posted in their system. I have experienced a turnaround time of 2 weeks before my payment has been posted when I was trying to reactivate my account. It was two weeks of no internet service. *sighs
Let me also bring back my story when my International Services consumption exceeded my Credit Limit when I was abroad. I intentionally set my Credit Limit to Php4000 so that I would not pay more than I can afford. I needed my mobile services very much that is why I decided to use up all my credit limit. When my services were cut-off, I assumed that I will only pay Php4000 since that was the credit limit that I set up. Somehow, when I went back to the country and checked with them with how much I must pay, they told me that my payment due is almost Php15000. I was speechless. I asked them why my payment due reached that high when I only set my credit limit to Php4000. They then told me about their “real-time system” which I believed did not work properly. I mean, what is the purpose of putting that limit there when it is not even followed? Speaking as a Programmer, if their system is really real-time, it should be checking my credit limit everytime I do a transaction and it should, logically, let me stop using the service once I reach my credit limit. But what happened? It was either their system allows the user to exceed over the limit or their system is very slow that the postings of user transactions are very late. I was very frustrated then.
- Am I Happy with my Gadget Plan subscription?
No, I am not. I am thrilled to end my contract with them.
- Do I recommend Gadget Plans to people?
The answer is NO. In general, it is not a practical thing to do. You can absolutely find a wayyyyy better alternative if you need a high-end gadget with internet services. Suggestions? If you can afford to buy gadgets in a lump sum amount, that would be better and just purchase a prepaid sim card since you can just avail their internet and mobile services promos. If you cannot afford a lump sum amount, another thing is if you have a credit card, you can avail installment plans in credible stores around the city. If you do not have a credit card, you can let your friends with credit cards do an installment plan for you. But if you also do not have a friend with a credit card, the best thing is to wait until you can SAVE UP for your dream high-end gadget! Have patience and discipline. Don’t be fooled with the “luxuries” that Gadget Plans can offer you. You can absolutely find way better alternatives! You can do it!
Sun Cellular mirrors majority of the companies today. Companies that are not people-oriented. They are the kind of companies that exist to solely earn money and make their company grow. You can see that from every inch of their products and services. Their products are not made to serve and make people’s lives easy. Their products are made to encourage people to spend. It is manifested in the way they respond to their customers. They are more active in reminding people to pay their bills than to help people with their technical problems. They are more active in giving sales talks to their customers than asking the customers about our opinion on how to make their services better. Can you see the difference? The truth is, the people of the Philippines are only using the 3 biggest Telecommunications companies in the country because WE, the people, doesn’t have a choice. If we would have a better alternative, these companies would run out of business.
My experience with Sun Cellular has given me a lot of lessons in life, especially in terms of practicality, patience, and discipline. I hope I was able to give you some thoughts to think about and I hope I was also able to share the things that I have learned.
Thanks for reading!