Wednesday, February 3, 2010
wi-tribe 4g - new ISP in the philippines
wi tribe website
There has been a lot of buzz about this but the website itself has few details. Special thanks to the tipidpc wi-tribe thread here, otherwise we would have few details. Well actually, there are more details now feb 3, 2010 compared to 2 days ago. For example, they now have a page where they give the price and speed (see below).
For reference, this is the pakistani version of wi-tribe.
This is the modem they offer, a Motorola CPEi 150 802.16e wimax modem.
Based on the PDF specs of the modem which you can DL from the wesbite above, it is a modem only. No wifi. Only 2 ports, an ethernet port and a power port. No provision for external antennas. The internal antennas are high gain and have a up to 2km range. I'm sure many people will want to hack this to place a bigger antenna anyway.
Wi tribe calls it the boom modem <link>.
The pakistani website clearly shows a usb modem so maybe in the future wi-tribe will offer it too.
So is this 4g? Probably not. The modem is wimax-E or 802.16e. Only LTE Advanced standardized by the 3GPP and 802.16m standardized by the IEEE are considered full 4g, see here. 802.16j is the latest and 802.16m is not released yet. LTE advanced should be out 2010. So maybe technically this is only 3.9g. Well, its close enough.
Looking at their website, at the moment they only offer 1 plan . 998 pesos a month, 1 mbps. 24 month lock in or pay an extra P 5,000 for a 12-month lock in period and P 2,500 for a 6-month lock-in period. That has to be a typo but thats what the website says. Anyway, 1 mbps is ridiculously slow for 4g. 1% of full 4g speed. I can get inconsistent actual speeds of 1-1.4 mbps with my 3.5g smart bro share it.
update: no info yet as to why the throttling is so bad. I'm guessing they are afraid of network congestion and cant afford to upgrade their equipment.
Actual users in the tipid pc wi-tribe thread are reporting speeds of 300-1200 kbps. So it seems this ISP is not immune to the "up to" disease prevalent in philippine ISP's. we are left wondering what will happen to the speeds if a lot of people sign up and network congestion occurs.
This is their fair Usage Policy.
Theres a lot of depressing stuff in the fair usage policy, specially for heavy users.
I have no idea if they use a shared, static or dynamic IP.
Oh, one big drawback a 3 gigabyte per month cap. After 3 gigs, you get throttled to 256 or 512 kbps (not realy sure which it is at the moment). AFAIK its nowhere in the official website but the 3gig limit is in the unofficial website.
higher caps in pakistan, 7-17 gigs. The euphemism used is "volume".
IMHO the fact that they did not mention the cap in their official website reeks of dishonesty.
In the tipidpc wi-tribe thread, one poster claims that there will be other plans with higher price that have either higher or unlimited caps. Well, there are no details either in TPC or on the official website. Maybe the other plans are not out yet. There are other unconfirmed reports that you can pay a small amount to have your cap raised for that month only.
The modem is usable anywhere in the philippines with a signal (its not area locked). But unfortunately, again, the wi-tribe website does not give us covered areas.
update: there seems to be a 1-2 week trial period. Cant confirm it yet.
update: I always support a free market but this dishonesty and secrecy is coming from this new player in the philippine ISP market is very disheartening. I hope they learn from their mistakes