I have an internet problem: I had my Sky Broadband disconnected because of consistently poor service, and PLDT hasn’t been active in processing my new DSL application. Desperate to get a reliable internet connection in the meantime, I turned to Globe.
(Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored article by Globe Telecom. GadgetMatch doesn’t accept paid reviews, and I have no affiliation with any of the internet service providers mentioned in this write-up.)
At first, I settled for turning my smartphone into a hotspot for my laptop’s internet access. While the LTE speeds it offered for my work and daily browsing were satisfactory, the heavy battery drain and occasionally poor signal weren’t.
Knowing Globe has a much stronger LTE signal compared to Smart in my area, I chose to go out and buy one of those Tattoo LTE Mobile WiFi thingies while waiting for PLDT’s service people to arrive — it’s been three weeks and counting without a cable internet connection for my home.
After visiting the nearest Globe store and talking to its staff, I ended up going home with a Globe Prepaid Home WiFi instead.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What exactly is it?
As its name suggests, Globe’s LTE-powered Prepaid Home WiFi is a modem-router combo you can leave at home. The device doesn’t have a battery, so you must leave it plugged into a wall socket at all times. It currently retails for PhP 1,495.
If you’re wondering, the prepaid LTE SIM card is already installed in the unit, and you’ll have to peel off the warranty sticker in case you want it changed. Globe advises heavily against doing that, though. In exchange, you’re given 5GB of free data valid for seven days off the bat.
Where can I get one, and what’s inside?
There was limited availability at first, but it seems like most Globe stores around Metro Manila already have it in stock. I can’t comment on its status in provinces yet.
The package comes with the unit itself — which is surprisingly light — along with three setup guides, an Ethernet cable for direct connections to the modem, power adapter, and a card containing all your SIM card’s information.
How’s it different from all other solutions out there?
Like any prepaid internet provider, you can subscribe to different kinds of promos once you purchase prepaid load. In this case, you have a choice of several GoSurf plans with varying data allowances, which are all found on Globe’s website or by dialing *143#. Be warned, however, that Globe’s SuperSurf promos won’t work with this device.
But unlike most mobile hotspots, you can’t take this to remote locations without access to electrical outlets. You could bring it to a cafe if you really have to, but you’d have to stick close to a wall, and look silly having a tallish modem beside you.
The box also claims having a 50 percent stronger Wi-Fi signal than Globe’s other mobile offerings. The range was indeed longer during my tests, but I wouldn’t say 50 percent is an accurate measure; I’d peg it at around 25 percent, or an extra bar of signal.
What’s the performance like?
That’s a tough question. It totally depends on your location, the number of users in the area, and how lucky you are in general. On a good day, LTE speeds can reach up to 10Mbps, which translates to downloading 1.25MB of data per second, but that’s if all aforementioned factors are in your favor.
In my experience, I normally get close to 4Mbps (0.5MB per second) download speeds and about 10Mbps (1.25MB per second) upload speeds on average — yeah, I can send files to online servers faster than I can receive them.
For comparison, that’s significantly faster than what I got on my Globe Prepaid-equipped smartphone during the same time, especially on the upload side. Here are results I got out of the Speedtest.net app:
To make things even more inconsistent, these are the download speeds I experienced on Fast.com, which is a good gauge of how strong your connection with Netflix is. Notice how much faster my smartphone’s connection is this time:
Again, take all of these numbers lightly. I can just as easily have no stable internet connection at all on certain days, or much faster speeds during off-peak hours. It’s a problem we’re actively dealing with in the Philippines.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
Subscribing to the perfect internet provider in the Philippines is hit or miss. It’s best to ask your neighbors how their experience with a certain wired service is before committing to one. If they can’t recommend theirs to you or a wired provider simply isn’t an option, then the Globe Prepaid Home WiFi is your next best bet.
It’s potentially better than mobile hotspots or your smartphone’s data connection, and can handle more users at a greater range. The modem is also easy to install — just plug it into an electrical outlet — and the bundled 5GB of data is a great way to test the service.
The primary downside is the cost per megabyte once your initial 5GB are used up. Since this a metered prepaid line, you’ll have to spend hefty sums to enjoy web browsing and online streaming without worrying about running out of data.
I could easily burn through a GoSurf plan worth PhP 1,799 for 10GB of data within a week; that’s how much my monthly bill for a PLDT DSL unlimited data plan would cost, and it even comes with a phone line.