Brunei Telco Wars 2022

September 1st brought a UNN upgrade and now our telcos DST, Imagine and Progresif have updated their home broadband plans. Below is a summary of the changes for each telco and the latest plans

Pick My Provider https://bruneigeekmeet.com/pmp updated to help pick which provider could suit your needs (view old plans here)

Summary

DST

  • Straightforward upgrade: same price but with either more data (100GB) or faster speed
  • Good
    • Webpage seems to have all necessary information
    • Simple 5 price points and decide if you want more data / more speed
  • Bad
    • 2 year contract
    • No Nationwide WiFi
  • Ugly
    • No real “Unlimited” plan as all plans are throttled after a certain data usage
    • Extra data only being 100GB feels small and doesn’t feel like it differentiates enough between
    • Message is confusing
      • saying all plans have 100Mbps but there are plans with less than that
      • most plan details show a breakdown based on 100Mbps then “Other plans” then “Unlimited” instead of showing the 5 price points

Imagine

  • Upgrades in general get extra data and extra speed benefits
  • Good
    • Actual unlimited plans
    • Nationwide WiFi and explicitly mentioning multiple device support
  • Bad
    • 1 or 2 year contract
    • Unclear throttling info for data based plans (should be same as previous of limited to 1Mbps)
  • Ugly
    • Dowgranding plans once contract runs out and not directly mentioned on main page
    • Online chat system is not great and got no response (previous chat system was better)

Progresif

  • Consolidated plans typically with more data / speed at same price
  • Good
    • No contract needed
    • Actual unlimited plans
    • Nationwide WiFi access
    • Has 100GB for $10 data add-on with long 60 days validity
  • Bad
    • Some lower plans now pay more
    • Unclear throttling behaviour for data based plans (had to ask them as not on website)
      • no Internet for “Entry-Level” plans
      • limited to 512kbps/1Mbps for the rest (was told 2 different values from 2 different sources)
    • $10 line fee now for all plans
    • Online chat system is not great and got no response from multiple messages sent
  • Ugly
    • Now with excluding $10 line fee
      • Feels like they are the same as competition and lost an edge
      • Adds confusion for previous customers where it was previously included in the plan
      • So it is less “Simple keeping”(one of their advertised phrases in the past)

Details

DST

  • Comparing to previous plans
    • In general same price but with either more data (100GB) or faster speed (so you only get 1 benefit)
    • Exception: Infinity 38 will get faster speeds when choosing more data (previously 20Mbps now 50Mbps)
  • 5 price points and each has an option for supersize (more data) / superspeed (faster)
    • I did not understand this until I saw the following sign at a store

Imagine

  • Comparing to existing plans
    • Upgrade gives 100GB more with faster speeds at same price
    • Exception: 1.6TB data plans quota has no data change but $4/month cheaper
  • When plans are out of contract you get less data / slower speed
    • Based on their Instagram post as could not find an info on their website
      • 800GB quota and lower: less data
      • 1.6TB data: less speed (100Mbps -> 50Mbps, 200Mbps -> 100Mbps) and $4/month extra
      • Unlimited data: plans less speed (100Mbps -> 50Mbps, 200Mbps -> 100Mbps)
      • To keep 200Mbps extra $200/month
    • There is mention of less data in Broadband FAQ but no details
      > WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF MY CONTRACT PERIOD ENDS?
      > You will automatically be moved to a no contract plan, but with less data. There will be no changes to your monthly rental. To continue enjoying more data, simply renew your contract to 12 or 24 months.
      > HOW LONG CAN I STAY UNDER A NO CONTRACT PLAN?
      > You can stay for as long as you wish. However, you will enjoy more benefits i.e. more data or savings when you renew your contract.
  • Nationwide WiFi available
  • Has real unlimited connection
  • Data based plans should throttle on exceeding data
    • No mention in website, had to ask in person and they did not know the speed
    • Likely 1Mbps as was previously
  • 1 or 2 year contract
  • Online communications not so great
    • Thier ima chat system has had a downgrade since the last time I used it
      • Says “Type a message” but you have to click buttons as they have disabled actual chat?
      • Personal identifiable information is sent in the clear in the address bar
      • Never got a response
    • Instagram direct message reply took 23 hours

Progresif

  • Consolidating multiple plans to single new plan
  • Comparing to previous plans
    • In general twice speed and slightly cheaper
    • Lower tier previous plans now pay more
      • Previously: One Home 50GB @ 20Mbps for $30 / One Home 250GB @ 20Mbps for $38
      • Now: Fibre 125GB @ 50Mbps for $35 / Fibre 250GB @ 50Mbps for $45 (Data add on 100GB for $10 valid for 60 days)
  • Now all prices **exclude** $10 line cost
  • No contract required
  • Nationwide WiFi available
    • Was told in store that it is only for a single device and multiple devices can be registered but needs to be done in store
  • Online communications not so great
    • Thier “Ask Tia” chat system has never given me a response
    • Prior to this recent upgrade it just said “Message sent” so I presumed it was an email and I would get a reply. Never received one
    • This time around it loads a chat interface but still I never got a respons
    • Instagram direct message reply took 31 hours

Pick My Provider

Ever since we got the revamp internet plans from DST, Imagine and Progresif (which I call the #BruneiTelcoWars) thanks to the work of UNN there have been several comparisons around and now is my turn with Pick My Provider https://bruneigeekmeet.com/pmp


Features

  • Find top 6 cheapest plans based on expected data usage
  • Shows top 3 cheapest per provider
  • Supports some filtering (e.g. minimum speed / contract)
  • Search Home Broadband (i.e. fibre), Mobile and Mobile Pay-As-You-Go
  • Displays information in tables for quick scanning of information
  • Plans are linked to source telco for more details
  • Copy link to current search to share with others

Most things are there and one current known issue is that Mobile Pay-As-You-Go search does not currently look at the number of days the data is valid: so a search for 1GB can show an addon that is only valid for 1 day. Hope to fix this one day down the road

Brunei Car Prices and #fixBruneiWebsites

Summary

  • You can currently find the latest of Brunei Price Controlled Car Prices at
  • #fixBruneiWebsites
    • Let us the community highlight Brunei website issues and tag them on your social media platform of choice
      • Suggest a solution if possible
      • If not, people curious to learn / offer a solution can reply to the post with an answer 🙂
    • Let’s use this as an opportunity to learn and give back to the companies that do have an online presence and let’s make the Brunei web great 🚀

 

The story

Did a Google search for “brunei car prices” which brought up a couple interesting results of actual approved prices for cars

Google search for "brunei car prices".png

 

It showed that the most recent one was June 2018 but curious as what is the latest version if any. As the results are coming from www.depd.gov.bn, did a search for “brunei car prices depd” and found the Motor Vehicles pagedepd old page.png

Which doesn’t seem updated since 2016Depd old motor vechicles page.png

Dead ends

As the PDFs show that there were more recent ones they had to be somewhere, so digging we go

Home was not useful.png

Sitemap does not help.png

Success!

More digging around and found the Competition and Consumer Affairs Department page that has the latest list on the right along with other price controlled items such as Cooking Oil and Formulated Powered Milk

Found on Competition and Consumer Affairs Department page.png

There is also the Price Control Goods page which has links to Clay Bricks and OthersPrice Controlled Goods page.png

And as it turns out it was under “Consumer Affairs” on the Department of Economic Planning and Development home page. In hind site, it makes some sense but isn’t too obvious

Consumer Affairs link on home page.png

 

What can we learn?

So from this I wondered what we could do to learn from this but instead of just complaining, what are the steps we can do to improve this. I have seen a couple websites and in Brunei that don’t seem to emphasise their web presence or just have things set up weirdly and thought it would be great to use these as learning opportunities for the local tech community in general so I’m going try a #fixBruneiWebsites journey

  • Let us the people of Brunei highlight website issues and tag them on your social media platform
    • If you can, try to offer possible solutions
    • If you can’t that is ok too 🙂
  • Then anybody who’s keen or interested could look up posts with the hashtag and could offer and answer and reply back to the original post
  • Take a look at the hashtag on
  • We can have sessions at BruneiGeekMeet for any new #fixBruneiWebsite issues and discussions

Learning takeaways / solutions for Brunei Car Prices listing

  • Have a strategy that allows you to scale
    • While I don’t know the full reasoning why the old page didn’t get updated, it could be that the way it was set up didn’t allow them to make changes easily or locked them into a certain format
    • The old Motor Vehicles page had individual pricing based on car brand. Perhaps it was too much work to break things down and upload individual files
    • There is no current Motor Vehicles page but now it is just a single PDF which helps consolidation and provides simplicity of uploading a single file which is great
  • Don’t be afraid to change things up
    • If things didn’t scale well initially, I feel that modifying the old existing page could have been something they did and not just let it go untouched
  • Update old pages
    • It could be something as simple as a link to the new current page to allow people to get the latest information
    • Or they could do a permanent 301 redirect or a temporary 302 redirect on the old page so that it automatically redirects to the new one
  • If you have a Sitemap make use of it / update it
    • This would be similar to the point above but Sitemaps are even more important compared to regular pages as they are used in SEO and help your page be found by search engines. While this Sitemap was an HTML page and not a XML Sitemap: HTML Sitemaps are still useful with the added bonus that it helps visitors to your site discover more things
  • Detail features of sections on a website
    • The “Consumer Affairs” link on the homepage isn’t a super obvious choice that it would lead to prices
    • Perhaps a shot

 

So I hope you come and join me on this #fixBruneiWebsites journey!

Mapping Brunei

A talk I gave at Brunei Geek Meet on the 29th April 2016 as a follow up to our Data Hackathon about my journey of creating a Brunei map and and bus routes

Mapping Brunei Slidedeck Screenshot.png

slides.com/thewheat/mapping-brunei

Links from the talk

Mapping Brunei, Hackathons and Beyond

Friday, Apr 29, 2016, 7:00 PM

Fantasea (formerly Au Lait)
Ground Floor, Seri Q-Lap Mall, Kg Kiulap Bandar Seri Begawan, BN

4 Geeks Went

Following up from a data hackathon and a community outreach program, there are things to tell and discuss!Agenda• 7pm: Event Kick off• 7:05pm: Mapping Brunei: The Journey and some Tools and Tricks for your Mapping needsTim will recount the arduous gathering data process from the previous data hackathon http://www.meetup.com/BruneiGeekMeet/event…

Check out this Meetup →

Brunei Map – Mukims & Kampongs

As part of Brunei Geek Meet’s Data Hackathon

  • Managed to gather data from the Survey Department http://survey.gov.bn/web/survey_department/map
  • To map out kampongs and mukims in Brunei
  • Webapp allows you to search for kampongs / mukims and explore the neighbourhood around any selected area

brunei_map

Demo: http://thewheat.github.io/brunei_map/
Repo: https://github.com/thewheat/brunei_map

Is Brunei Mobile Data Really that Expensive?

I’ve heard complaints that DST, one of the Brunei mobile telcos, rip people off with regards to charging for data. Let’s see if that’s true.

So I compared Brunei’s cellular data from DST and Progresif Cellular to different telcos in 4 countries

And I’ve come up with this spreadsheet.

On a cursory glance, it seems that

  • UK has pretty good prices in all data tiers
  • we have one of the worst excess data charges
  • DST pricing isn’t that great when data usage is under 5GB
  • with plans using more than 5GB of data (and especially > 10GB data), DST is actually very good so long as you stay within the quota amount

Hope to do more in-depth look soon

New Telbru Internet Plans (eSpeed / High-Speed Broadband)

new telbru internet rates

new telbru internet ratesThe Telbru eSpeed/High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) Internet rates have arrived and price wise they are going in a good direction, quota wise not so much, but here are the facts that you need to know.

  • Base monthly rates have been reduced
  • Some plans have quotas
  • If you exceed the quota you will get throttled but you pay no extra (you will still have an Internet connection, just slower speeds)
  • Throttled speeds are “about 20% of the subscribed plan package
    bandwidth throttling
  • Extra quota top-ups can be purchased if you exceed your quota which will restore your speed
    quota topup
  • Price caps are only for those who purchase multiple extra quota top-ups
    price cap
  • At the switch over, you will get the same speed but at the new reduced monthly price (and quota’s if applicable)

How to check your data usage

Notifications can be sent to you via your preferred communication channel (e-mail/text message) when you have used 50%, 80% and 100% of your quota volume

https://www.telbru.com.bn/page.php?c=193

Read more on Telbru’s site

Possible Issues

  • Is the data metering real time?
  • Are both uploads and downloads counted?
  • Best effort Internet: which sounds very similar to the eSpeed problems on yesteryear

My bandwidth at home cannot even reach 1Mbps, is there a rebate?

There will be no rebate given on your rental charge or quota. Our broadband service is best effort service. If your average broadband speed is low (approximately one megabit per second or less) we do not recommend you to purchase higher bandwidth or quota packages.

“Intro to Dart” @ Dart Flight School, Brunei 2014

On the 15th of February the Google Developer Group (GDG) Brunei held a Dart Flight School at DST’s Signature Store.

Dart is a new language that learns from Javascript and adds features that are missing in Javascript such as classes and optional static typing. It aims to provide a better developer workflow and efficiency, better performance vs Javascript and can compile to Javascript in order to be deployed anywhere.

I prerecorded an “Intro to Dart” video just in case as with all things, technology can be troublesome at times =)  There is also a 4 hour long Hangouts on Air recording of the entire event

Intro to Dart slide deck

Dart Flight School

The code labs served as a way to learn Dart and it is even deployable on Heroku. We also covered a bit of Angular JS with a work in progress AngularJS intro project on GitHub.

All in all, Dart seems compelling that it is more performant compared to Javascript, can be compiled to Javascript so you reap the development benefit while still maintaining deployability via Javascript, having a single language for both client and server and adding ‘modern’ features added to Javascript make it easier to develop in. Certainly an alternative to Javascript+Node and perhaps something to use in a future project.

Brunei Geek Meet and RHoK (Random Hacks of Kindness) Brunei

Image

Today marks the first meetup of Brunei Geek Meet (http://www.meetup.com/BruneiGeekMeet/), a meetup where I hope to start fostering the meetup culture that I’ve been experiencing here in Melbourne. We aim to be run by the community for the community. I believe that everybody has something to share and I want Brunei Geek Meet to be a platform for people to contribute to the community as a whole: be it as a learner, as a presenter, as a mentor, as a discussion starter, etc. We are more technology oriented (but are open to geeks of any kind!) and we intend to have talks, code labs, hacknights/days and other events where people can attend, learn and contribute in their own ways.

I am also please to announce that we have a license to hold a RHoK event in Brunei. With the tagline “Hacking for Humanity” RHoK believes in providing a platform for people (particularly technologists) to do social good and make the world a better place.

Image

This is done by hackers working to solve a community problems which can be used in the region of the problem, and even to a bigger audience of the World. When I first attended RHoK, it brought me back to the days I was working on the SMARTER eCVS and I want RHoK Brunei to be of the same nature: for us to see a local need and for technologists to team up to work on a solution.

With that, I would like to extend an invitation to any individuals or organisations that are facing or know of problems that could use a technological solution to get in touch with me and so we can kick off some discussion on how the developer community of Brunei could help. My contact details are tim@thewheatfield.org / @thewheat. I truly hope that you can be a part of RHoK and help contribute to the betterment of the Brunei developer community by providing a real world problem that we, as a community, can get together and help solve.