In the run-up to Sinulog, the biggest festival in Cebu, I was invited to a demonstration of Globe Visibility, Globe’s HSDPA or High Speed Downlink Packet Access mobile Internet service.
The service, marketed by Globe with buzz phrases such as “3G plus,” “better than 3G,” and “mobile broadband,” promises download speeds of up to 1.4mbps. In the limited time that I observed the demo, Globe Visibility was browsing at breakneck speeds. Heck, it was even faster than the faltering and intermittent Globelines Broadband connection I had at home.
During the demo, a member of Globe’s technical staff tested the connection using their in-house browsing speed monitor and it registered 595.5kbps. I checked several sites and most load very fast.
What should be stressed though is that the speed is for downloading. Its upload speed is way slower. You may get blazing access when viewing web sites or downloading files but sending and uploading files is something else. You won’t get speeds you might have been used to getting in cabled connections. I wasn’t, however, able to try uploading a file because I had to leave early for desk work in the newsroom.
What’s great about the service is its pricing, you can have unlimited HSDPA, 3G, GPRS, and Wi-Fi browsing for only P2,000 a month. I was told during the demo that the initial payment to enroll into the service is only a one-month advance in the monthly fee. But a colleague who called up Globe a week or two later was told she’d have to pay one month in advance and another P2,000.
A member of Globe’s tech staff who led the demo said he was able to use HSDPA the entire time he was in Cebu–from the airport in Mactan Island to his hotel in barangay Mabolo to the venue of the demo, a restaurant near the Waterfront hotel and the IT Park in Barangay Lahug.
He said this shows that you’ll get even more than your money’s worth especially if you’re in Metro Cebu because of the wide HSDPA coverage. The service uses the slower, way slower, GPRS connection if it’s out of HSDPA coverage. Who’d want to surf websites using GPRS? I don’t. I’d rather look for an Internet cafe or a Wi-Fi hotspot, even if it’s several kilometers away. But the option is there if you need to connect to the Internet, no matter how slow it is. (An aside: in case you’re interested, I’m mapping Cebu’s Wi-Fi hotspots.)
I checked with PLDT WeRoam, and found they now offer HSDPA access under a different package. I’ll get more info Monday as Smart has invited me to a demo of their HSDPA service.