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Open Letter to Smart Communications Inc.: Please Don’t Let Smartbro / myBro Sucks!

Dear Smart Broadband Inc.,

First, my apologies for the term. I can’t seem to find a better word to describe my disappointment of your broadband service, which you failed to fix since I raised my concern several months ago. I am referring to your Smartbro canopy product, now better known as myBro Canopy.

Smartbro / myBro Speedtest

I’m a huge fan of Smartbro since its inception, in fact, I often recommend your product to those seeking advice which broadband internet plan they have to choose for their homes. I have heard complaints just everywhere about your “most reliable” broadband internet service, but I simply can’t be convinced for such claims. I wasn’t convinced because I had good experience of your Smartbro Canopy before, at least with the accounts under my name. Just to let you know, I had one Smartbro Canopy account before which I transferred to at least 4 locations within Cebu province because of the nature of my job back then. Specifically, I had it transferred to 2 locations in Lapu-lapu City and 2 locations in Minglanilla, Cebu. I was really satisfied with the performance of that connection, even if I had it transferred to several locations. Yes, I kept on paying that Php 1450 relocation fee because you simply don’t allow your subscribers to switch with other myBro products even if needed.

In November last year, I opened a new account so I have a new Smartbro Canopy broadband internet installed in my permanent address in Minglanilla, Cebu. But since my contract at that time for the other connection in Lapu-lapu City was still to end in February this year, I had it cut and paid the pre-termination fees. My previous connection here in Minglanilla Cebu was still within the acceptable download and upload speeds; unfortunately, that’s not the case with the new connection I have.

I thought you would be able to fix the problem, but you can’t. The worst is, you really have a poor customer and after-sales service! I wish I’m only one of the million subscribers who can attest to that, because I won’t be surprised if I’m the 999,999th of that million subscribers. I had so much patience for your very poor customer service, and your claim for myBro to offer the most reliable and consistent signal is true lies. I don’t mean to malign and criticize myBro spitefully, just that what you promised to offer really doesn’t deliver. Don’t believe this? Well, I decided and managed to take down notes every time I talked to your CSR’s and TSR’s through the *1888 hotline, and I wish you could use this for traceability just in case you want to investigate this issue further.

Here’s the timeline of activities with my comments; you may refer to my account with Service Reference Number (SRN): 1011293592.

April 30, 2012:
-I called myBro hotline regarding the status of my request (fix poor connection) with report no. 387573750.
-I was told there’s going to have an update within the day and follow up the request with report no. 387575994.

May 9, 2012:
-I decided to call myBro hotline again after a week so I could check if my previous request was fully resolved.
-I was told my canopy antenna is connected to a base station with 7 “sections” and I’m in the most traffic section. The technical support group will then conduct what they call as “re-homing”.
-Follow up with report no. 388719981.

Comment: I have no idea what “re-homing” exactly means, but I think it’s when my canopy antenna is linked to another access point, or moved from the most traffic section to the less-congested section of the 7-section base station I’m in. Though I’m not sure what “section” means to a TSR’s perspective, I think they meant to say about “sectorized or sector antenna”. I’ll be using “sector” here instead of “section”.

May 10, 2012:
-Another call to myBro hotline was made to follow up the request.
-I was told then the “re-homing” was done already, but I complained since the connection was still poor. -According to the agent I talked, there’s a high traffic issue within the area that needs to be resolved.
-And then a new Report no. 389004535 was provided.

Comment: There’s always a high-traffic issue. But are you saying that after “re-homing” and pointing my canopy antenna to another access point or another sector antenna of the base station, I’m still in the most traffic sector? If a base station has 7 sector antennas and I was originally at sector no. 1 (already congested), and you moved my connection to sector no. 2 which turned out to be congested as well – what’s your next troubleshooting approach then? Move to sector no. 3,4,5,6 or 7? I don’t understand if that’s even possible if you only have single base station covering the area where I’m located.

Because I was not convinced Smart’s technical support group would be able to fix the problem on that particular location, I decided to take the connection to a new address where my own family are going to live after my first baby’s birth. And to my dismay, just yet another story of Smart’s poor customer service.

August 7, 2012:
-I went to Smart Wireless Center in SM Cebu to request for relocation; paid the relocation fee of course!
-I was told to expect a call or text from Smart within 24 hours.
-Around 5PM of the same day, Smart tried to reach me on mobile and landline, but failed to talk to me. A relative told me then the call was about the schedule for relocation.

August 8, 2012:
-I called myBro hotline to check the status of the relocation request and I was told they were supposed to provide schedule the other day. But since they weren’t able to contact me, they’ll have a contractor relocate the connection on another schedule. When asked if they can provide contractor in the afternoon of August 8, I was told no available contractor until August 9th.
-Smart’s agent confirmed the contractor will report “as early as possible” on Friday morning, August 10th.
-Report no. 402875002 was provided for reference.

August 10, 2012:
-Contractor sent SMS notification at around 12:54PM; said no one at home when they got there.
-Contractor said they need a taller ladder to get into the roof of the second floor where they are going to install the canopy antenna.

Comment: On August 9th, Smart’s agent confirmed the contractor will report “as early as possible” in the morning of August 10th. Well, we’re busy people and when you say morning, we could expect a contractor to report between 8AM and 12NN. But what’s 12:54PM? I know how it works for Smart with regards to jobs like this; you simply hires third-party contractors. My advice is, please make sure your contractors are always committed to providing good service to your subscribers as well. Being on-time is just one. Because on my own experience, they don’t! Heck they don’t even have a hammer and ladder to complete their job.

August 11, 2012:
-I called myBro hotline at around 9:20AM to follow-up reinstallation.
-Agent said the reinstallation was rescheduled but with no exact date and time.
-Agent contacted Smart support group for available schedule, unfortunately, there’s no schedule for reinstallation.
-Agent requested schedule from support group for August 13, Monday; but still for approval.
-I was advised to call myBro hotline the following day (August 12, Sunday) to confirm if the requested Monday schedule is approved.
-I asked why they can’t make it on August 11 (Saturday) or August 12 (Sunday), the agent said there’s an on-going caravan and all the contractors are on-site so they can install immediately once customers apply for new myBro connections.
-Refer to report no. 403335049.

Comment: The request for relocation of my connection has been on queue since August 7, 2012. Seriously, Smart support group can actually allocate a contractor to do the job if they really care for their subscribers. I mean, it’s an after-sales service right? Doesn’t it mean for priority as well? Why the heck would Smart allocate all the resources, in this case the contractors, to cater new subscribers who would sign-up at the caravan when they knew an existing subscriber also has pending request that needs a contractor? Does it mean taking priority for new subscribers and leaving existing subscribers behind? Poor customer service, eh?

August 12, 2012:
-I called myBro hotline again to see if Smart support group already approved the new schedule for reinstallation (August 13, Monday).
-Agent can’t confirm the schedule yet and I was advised to wait for feedback within 24 hours.
-Report no. 403335049 was provided.

August 13, 2012:
-Smart contractor showed up at my new address.
-Connection between the canopy antenna and base station was established.
-Still slow and intermittent connection; for observation in 24 hours.
-Contractor said I have to make a call to myBro hotline for tweaking of the connection.
-Same report no. 403335049.

Comment: I learned that the job of a contractor is just to install the canopy antenna and establish connection to the base station. Regardless of whether you’re getting the desired internet speed or not, the contractor’s job is already done. My question is, why would Smart let me observe the connection in 24 hours? Does it really takes 24 hours to stabilize the connection between the canopy antenna and the base station? I don’t think so. Waiting that long is a waste of time for me.

August 17, 2012:
-I called myBro hotline again and I was told the canopy antenna “might” need adjustment.
-The agent made a request to Smart support group to make adjustment on the antenna.
-The agent also performed basic troubleshooting to fix the slow connection.
-Two report nos. were provided: 404307474 (for the antenna adjustment), 404308514 (for the connection problem)

August 18, 2012:
-Still poor and slow internet connection.
-Needs adjustment on the antenna
-Report no. 404509890
August 19, 2012:
-I called myBro hotline again to check the status of the previous request.
-Agent said the adjustment was done and the antenna is already stable.
-Checking base station for possible issue that causes slow internet connection.
-Report no. 404550468

August 21, 2012:
-Still poor and slow internet connection.
-Called myBro hotline again to follow-up previous request.
-Agent said there was a “technical activity” at the base station on August 19th
-Agent made another request to make remote antenna adjustment
-Agent said network adjustment is still on-going
-I was advised to observe performance within 24 hours
-Refer to report nos. 404771773 and 404771500

August 22, 2012:
-Agent said antenna adjustment was already done, but still slow and intermittent connection.
-Agent said network adjustment which could solve the problem is still on-going
-The same report no. 404771500.

August 23, 2012:
-Very slow and intermittent connection
-Agent said this is due to high usage (Seriously?)
-Report no. 405187572

Comment: With those series of report numbers, it’s very obvious what the problem really is. The bottom line at this point is myBro offers a very poor, slow, and intermittent connection. Smart’s support group have already isolated the canopy antenna and did basic to advanced network troubleshooting down to my computer. I’m tired about being asked repeatedly regarding my CPU usage ‘coz every time TSR’s ask for that, I don’t even break the 15% mark. I’m tired about being asked what Operating System I’m using ‘coz that troubleshooting approach is so stone-age. The point is, once you see history or series of complaints, CSR / TSR should look into it and avoid repeating the same approach. In other words, my computer and canopy antenna doesn’t have any problem. I’m not a telecom expert, but believe me – the problem lies in the network or base station covering the location I’m in.

Smartbro Trace Route

I understand Smart has invested billions of pesos for network modernization program, and the telco has already completed the installation and optimization of new base station equipment across the country, but why I’m still getting throughput comparable to dial-up speed? I’d probably understand that if I’m located somewhere off from an urban area, but hey, this is Cebu and we could have the internet just everywhere.

Now, would you still claim that myBro is the most reliable fixed-wireless broadband internet and delivers consistent signal? Here’s what you claim in your updated website.

myBro Canopy Package

You see, you promised to offer speed of up to 1Mbps. Though you’re always using that “up to” marketing gimmick in your advertisements, I actually understand what does it means. I don’t expect you to deliver 1 Mbps for such particular plan, I just want you to provide even the minimum acceptable speed of a broadband internet. But you know what, here’s just what you truly deliver!

Smartbro / MyBro Speedtest ResultSmartbro / MyBro Speedtest ResultSmartbro / MyBro Speedtest ResultSmartbro / MyBro Speedtest Result
And as far as your claim for most reliable and consistent signal is concerned, this could belie such claim. That’s exactly what I get for 999-pesos a month.

Smartbro / MyBro Ping Test

To be fair, it does sounds promising that you’re the first telco in the Philippines or even in Asia to bring LTE technology. It’s very promising, indeed. But to be honest, I don’t need it yet. And I don’t think majority of your myBro subscribers are ready for it as well.

So please, don’t let myBro sucks! Keep your words and continue delivering what you promised!

Published inLIFE GOALS