Sunday, May 16, 2010

You Are Being Used as a Cash Cow—The Real Scoop on Smart Bro

As a user of Smart Broadband's SmartBro, I am very much frustrated of SmartBro's speed, performance and reliability. SmartBro is claimed to reach speeds of up to 2Mbps yet I'd be very happy if I could get even a quarter of that. Upload speed is even more problematic. Most of the time, 5Kbps is all you can ever get. This is frustrating if you ever need to upload something—like a photo—on sites such as Facebook and Flickr. Even simple web browsing could result in a connection timeout because of this slower than slow upload speeds. And surfing the Web, it seems like I'm not the only one having problems with SmartBro. The number of anti-SmartBro posts is significant but the multitude of comments thereon is even more telling.

Smart Broadband's Smart Bro Share-It, Plug-It and SurfTV broadband Internet are all based on HSDPA so I searched around for information about this technology and why SmartBro, which is based on it, is so slow. I found that HSDPA is a protocol in the HSPA family and is not slow per se. Using this technology, down-link speeds of 1.8, 3.6, 7.2 and 14.0 Mbit/s (Mbps) could be realized. So, if HSPA is not slow and SmartBro is based on it, then why is SmartBro's speed so slow? Smart Broadband will not give you a straight answer here so here’s an interesting theory.

Obviously, to properly implement HSPA, you need to have the proper equipment and infrastructure and I imagine that these equipment and their installation do not come cheap. The lack of these equipment and the insufficiency of Smart's infrastructure could only be the reason why SmartBro is so slow even if you are just 50 meters away from a tower in an area well-covered by HSPA signal. The potential speed of HSPA networks could not be realized if one does not properly implement them.

But the fact that Smart Broadband cannot properly implement HSPA is not the problem. No one can fault them. Like I said, these equipment are probably expensive. The problem is that they mislead the public into thinking that they have the capability to deliver speeds of up to 2Mbps and charge accordingly. Now this is fraud.

The reason Smart Broadband is doing this could only be because they reckon that by selling a poor product for the price of the real thing using flashy promotion and marketing, they will soon have the cash they need to hopefully fully implement HSPA and customers would be none the wiser.

Let us say that I am Smart Broadband. It would roughly go about like so: Hmmm. This HSPA thing is amazing; maybe I can make lots of moolah if I offer this service in my network and call it SmartBro. But it seems like I need plenty of money to buy all the stuff to make this happen. Oh, I know! I don't have to buy all the stuff in one go. I would just have to buy enough to make HSPA work even if it is just slow and unreliable (because it is still incomplete). Of course, it won't attain true HSPA speeds of 2Mbps—more like dial-up speeds. However, I'll just pretend it'll reach 2Mbps and use obscure language like "up to" to cover for me. Anyway, those dumb people won't know the difference and as long as I market it real good, have a nice jingle and hire celebrities, they'll come rushing in with their money. Now, since I charged them for a Mercedes while actually giving them a Hyundai, I will use the difference to fully implement the service. Gosh, these people are building my business for me at zero cost. Am I a genius, or what?

Smart is using you as a cash cow to finance their business so that they will be richer and you, poorer. You were made to pay a fee that would cover the cost of a fully operational HSPA network. But since theirs is half baked, their actual cost is way lower. The difference is what would allow them to slowly build up their network. They are milking you.

In away, you are like a bank loaning them money; only, the bank earns interest and has a security—you don't. You get problems instead. It could also look like you are an investor investing money in Smart; only, you neither earn dividends, have voting rights, perks nor even a small stake in the company. Sorry, but you simply got punked.

I don't know if your are okay with being being used by large, rich corporations to further enrich themselves. I'm not sure if you are willing to close your eyes on expensive, inferior products so long as they are aggressively marketed and promoted by popular celebrities. You can simply continue patronizing SmartBro even after knowing how much of a fake it is. If you are a Smart Broadband employee, you can even go on tweeting about how great SmartBro is even if you know deep inside the falsity of such a claim. But you can also stand up and refuse to be used. Show them that you are not as dumb and gullible as they thought you are.

Tell your friends and acquaintances just how bad this service is. Put up a blog, tweet about it, mention it in Facebook. Tell people the truth. Do your part in preventing and ending shady business practices such as this. In truth, this service is hardly distinguishable from a scam. Do everything in your power to end this.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Smart Bro Resellers in the Malls

You might think that the posts I make here about Smart Bro problems are exaggerations. Nothing could be further from the truth. But if this is the case, then there is one simple test you can do. You will have fun in the process and might be able to save some unsuspecting Smart Bro applicant from the clutches of evil.

Just visit the malls any time you get bored or get caught by the scheduled brownouts at your place. But do not forget to bring your laptop with you. Luckily, you will chance upon Smart Bro resellers hawking Smart Bro Share-It, Plug-It and Surf TV devices and services (and boasting how their Smart Bro rocks up to 2Mbps). Here, your fun begins.

First, you have to wait until there is quite a crowd around the Smart Bro booth or stall. You will be able to help the maximum number of people this way. Get in and let the Smart Bro person commit to their false advertised speed. (Sir, this really reaches 2Mbps!)

Then, whip out your laptop or netbook and ask for a speed test trial. If they don’t agree, it only means that they are aware of the lie they are spreading and are afraid of being proven wrong. Visit, (and click “Speed Meter” at the topmost menu), or any other speed testing site. On a good day, it will only reach 0.2Mbps (200Kbps); On average, it will chug around 0.1Mbps. However, if you are lucky, it will reflect its usual day to day speed of 0.05Mbps (dial-up speed). Show the results to the people around and wipe the lie off the Smart Bro person’s face. Hopefully, you will be instrumental in their decision to apply or not to apply for Smart Bro services.

Although I want to, I cannot take credit for this trick. I just saw someone do this at a Smart Bro booth and then it gave me an idea. Nothing is more fun than exposing the lies that Smart Broadband Inc. makes about its Smart Bro Share-It, Plug-It and Surf TV Internet. And if, along the way, you can help others from suffering the problem that Smart Bro is, then so much the better.