Bare Budget

The bare+ internet plan for light users

I find a peculiar behavior that people do when they consider the internet budget. If they are currently paying RM100 for a 50mbps internet, and they see a promo where they can get 100mbps for RM100 or pay RM80 for 50mbps, half of the people would choose to upgrade the speed with the same cost; Maybe it feel like you got better value and it isn’t lifestyle inflation. But your life doesn’t necessarily become faster. After all, you can only surf 24/7 a week.

What is the speed we need?

Since you’re reading this, I hope you are the other half of the population that understands the default choice is to lower the bill for the same speed (reverse inflation) unless you are mining the last available bitcoin on earth.

But what is the default that we need? Since when are we sold the idea that connecting anything below 1tbps is a dump, sad life? 🤔

I recently face the dilemma of paying an extra relocation fee + installation to my internet subscription. The service provider demands the payment because they are the monopoly player in where I stay. No other network, Unifi, or any other fiber nation is available here. 🤧

After some consideration, as I am not a hardcore user and don’t have an HD TV linked to Netflix, I decided to cut my internet speed (and RM150 bill) to the bare+ minimum. With the new slow 6mbps speed, I managed to work from home (skype/teams/zoom) 8 hours a day, stream Netflix with VPN on 2 or 3 devices (shared with housemate). It cost us RM45 a month or RM60ish when we exceed the fair usage policy and pay extra to get better speed. There’s no contract or any application hassle. Should I truly need super-fast internet, I have RM100 extra each month to hop cafes.

I briefly mentioned this in my last money diaries, but I never gone through the steps. So here’s how to subscribe to the cheapest internet plan if you’re not picky about 1000% smooth surfing.

Step by step for bare+ internet

1.Buy a working LTE modem. This is how it looks like. It’ll cost RM130-240. With the machine, you can connect to multiple devices.

Before you invest, test the hotspot with your phone (steps below) if the reduced speed is something you can live with.

2. Use Open Signal App to check all mobile network signal strength nearby. I’ll say don’t pick Celcom as the first choice as the actual speed may not be advertised. But Celcom did work for my friend’s house. I personally prefer maxis or Umobile (for truly unlimited), depending on where you stay. Digi is great in connectivity but has yet to introduce an affordable unlimited plan.

3. Buy a prepaid simcard for the mobile network of choice.

4. Test it out with a one-day unlimited data plan. Remember to download the mobile provider app and log in for easier management.

5. Insert the simcard in the LTE modem.

6. Turn on the modem and connect to the WiFi. The connection is usually automatic, but you can go to the admin page to change the settings.

7. If the speed is working well for you, subscribe to the unlimited data prepaid plan or any add-ons between RM35-50. Tips: If the speed seems slower than usual, you can turn off-on the machine.

Bad idea to go slow?

I am not advocating for the nation to go slow-motion. I would opt for fiber should there be available in my place below RM100/month, all cost considered. If your life is Live HD sports with a glass of Yamazaki 18, this is not for you. But I propose this to stay connected if your internet is costly on your budget, or you are struggling financially. If you remember the story, it was the turtle who won the race.