Review: Smart Bro prepaid wireless broadband

I started using the Smart Bro prepaid wireless broadband the other day and here’s my short take on the product and service.

First off, the package: Everything’s in place inside a plastic DVD jacket — the special SIM card, the USB dongle, the USB cable and documentation. Nothing fancy about it. The quick start guide inside the SIM pack is easy to understand and to follow.

Second, installation: The moment you insert the USB dongle directly to a USB slot on your laptop, the computer instantly recognizes the gadget and quickly following is the installation of the necessary program and drivers. The Smart Bro connection program will pop up and you will be told whether you are connected to Smart’s network, and what type of connection is available.

In my case, the Windows Vista-powered Lenovo did not have a hard or long time recognizing the Smart Bro gadget and rapidly installed the program and driver. Each time I used it in Greenbelt 1, the Vito Cruz area (near La Salle) and now at SM Mall of Asia, there’s a steady 3G or HSDPA signal that’s detected.

Third, the connection: One click at the connect button and Smart Bro almost instantly connects to the internet.

Fourth, the speed: I was initially connected to 3G speeds but in a second shifted to HSDPA. The Smart Bro statistic button says my maximum download rate now is 900.2 kbps, while my maximum upload rate is 146 kbps.

Below is a speed test result on my connection now:

Overall: Very good product. The price of this prepaid package has gone down from P3,800 to P2,500 after rival Globe Telecom began offering its Visibility’s prepaid package to the same price point. With Smart’s extensive network coverage, I doubt whether I will have a problem getting a 3G or HSDPA signal.

This is a perfect companion to students and professionals looking for backup internet connection. I say backup because using it for hours on end will cost you plenty of pesos in the long run. And that’s a shame considering the general trend of lower prices for broadband internet.

Which brings us to the downside, the rate of P10 per 30 minutes may sound reasonable: We would just have to spend P20 per hour compared to buying P100 prepaid cards for WIFI services. But only when we compare it to that. Besides, it is not good to compare WIFI with 3G/HSDPA.

Mobile broadband technology (3G/HSDPA) should be offered really cheap rates nowadays anyway, because providing the service is nothing new to the network — it is built-in in the more modern equipment that have long been used by the telcos, including Smart. Methinks, Smart at the very least should offer affordable and reasonable day-long or half-day wireless broadband rates.

Next review: Sun Cellular Broadband Wireless

5 Comments

  1. joren

    what the problem with this???
    The phonebook file can not be apdated if you are traying to connect to internet please send me an email

  2. dennis

    hi.

    im working here in abroad and to have everyday communication with my wife,we subscribe smart bro plan 999..

    so,ang alam ko,its unlimited services using internet with rate of P999/month.
    unfortunately, halos more than 2x ang binabayan ko dahil according to my wife, my charge daw ang call and text (maybe yahoo messenger) using internet thru abroad.

    can u pls explain to me how smart bro rates or charges the billing?(maybe or maybe not,it was written on the contract but i didn’t read it well)

    i really appreciate your help..

    — dennis —

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