Which mobile data plan is right for you?

Don't spend more than you have to, choose the right mobile plan

I've been locked-in to a Maxis Talk More 28 plan for almost 2 years. It expires at the end of August, and I couldn't be happier. But with the freedom to choose comes the freedom to choose poorly.

We know how much you hate choosing a phone plan. But now's a great time to do it. Telcos are introducing cheaper plans with higher data quotas. When the telcos start to get competitive, the customer wins.

Celcom and Digi first battled it out, then U Mobile entered the fray. It was a bloodbath.

The dust is starting to settle. Celcom and Digi's promotional plans have expired. U Mobile's promotion is still going. Sluggish as ever, Maxis joined in days ago.

Now it's time to survey the wreckage.

[Image source: Free Range Stock]




Even outside of the promotional period, Digi's plan is still competitive with the other plans. Smart Plan 50 comes with 2GB of data, which is on par with Celcom's cheapest plan, but below U Mobile's promotional one. Smart Plan 50 also looks like a better deal than Maxis GO, because there are no conditions attached to the usage of the data (see below).

Maxis GO and Smart Plan 50 are the same plan on paper, same call and text quotas, with a small difference in monthly commitment. If you exceed your data quota, you're connection will be throttled. You can continue surfing at regular speed by using the Opera Mini internet browser. Otherwise, top-up data starts at RM0.50 for 100MB of Facebook data that expires in 24 hours.

More info on Digi's postpaid page.

U Mobile

U Mobile's promotion is still available until August 31. U28 has half of the talk time of other plans, but compensates with a lower monthly commitment (almost half of the other plans) and double the number of texts (triple, if you count texts to other U Mobile numbers, but who counts?).

The promotional quota of 3GB is valid for the life of the plan. But if you switch plans, you can't get the promotional quota back. The next cheapest plan, U Mobile P50, offers a 5GB quota, but no texts come with the plan. If you use up your talk time minutes, an additional 30 minutes of talk time is made available to you, but these additional minutes apply to U Mobile numbers only, not to all networks.

Get more info on U Mobile's postpaid page.


Maxis GO is being advertised as 2GB plan, but this isn't strictly true. Normal usage applies to the first GB, but the second GB is available 2-7 a.m only. Night owls like myself might find it useful, but it may be useless for you daywalkers.

As lovely as the extra GB is for me, the Surf More 50 plan still looks more attractive. First, Surf More's full data quota is available at all hours. Second, pay-as-you-go data under Maxis Go costs RM30 for 1GB. Under Surf More 50, you can buy 1GB for RM15.

Check out the Maxis Go website here.


Celcom offered a RM38 mobile data plan for a limited time. Since the promotion expired, Celcom has removed information for their First Basic 38 plan from their website. Celcom's next cheapest plan is First Basic 85.

The plan is the same as Digi Smart Plan 50, except for one key feature, called Optimiser. Depending on your usage, you can get an extra 600 minutes of talk time and 600 texts, or 3GB of data and 3GB of Wi-Fi. You can get one or the other, and once per billing cycle only.

Check the site for details.

Which plan is right for you?

Two years ago, the cheapest data plan on Maxis came with a 2-year contract. Now, I'm happy to see that all of these plans are contract-free.

The best plan here appears to be U Mobile, according to the numbers. But the numbers may not be what's important to you. Check your network coverage on Open Signal. It would suck to get a cheap plan, but no signal at the office. Maxis has the widest coverage, of course. Celcom is a close second.

Something must be said for Digi's plan structures. I love how they keep it simple. The basic allocation for the plan is what you get. No more, no less.

How much data is too much?

If you don't know how much data you use per month, consider installing an app like My Data Manager or Onavo Count. Phones come with basic monitoring of data usage, if you don't feel like installing yet another app. If you find yourself exceeding your quota, you could set up a mobile data limit.

Here's a handy dandy table to make it easier for you to compare. So, what're you waiting for?