Sunday, 7 August 2011

Internet / Landline (TM Streamyx)

There are several providers of internet that you can choose from in Penang but, following advice from friends here, all of whom are locals, I decided to go with TM / Streamyx, primarily because they do not limit your usage, albeit your connection might slow down some for the remainder of a given month if you really hammer it with downloads etc.

You can chose to use one of the many agents (authorised resellers) who have outlets often in malls etc. and for many, particularly those whose working hours clash with those of the main Streamyx offices, called a 'TM Point'. For me though that was not a problem and as I generally prefer to do these things direct, so I know where to go and who to see if I get a problem, I decided go direct to my nearest TM Point. This is located in Burmah Road, Georgetown and is not far from Lorong Selamat and the Kurnia (medical insurance) offices (see previous medical insurance update). There are other offices in Penang and details can be found here. The actual office is located at the junction of Lorong Madras and is opposite the Proton dealership. The Rapid Penang 101 service takes you to the TM Point with a bus stop nearby (either going into or out of Georgetown) and the 103 runs there as well albeit on the run into town the bus turns off just before the TM Point. The Rapid drivers are very good in the main I find and will tell you when you are at your destination if you ask them to.

Monday is normally a day to avoid as it can get quite busy with people going to sort out any problems they may have following the offices being closed at the weekend. I went at about 10:30 on Monday morning though and it was not that busy. It can be a bit confusing when you enter as there is a help/payment desk which people will likely be queuing at but for a new application you don't need to. Just walk up to the desk and on the left hand side of the desk there is s ticket machine. If you select 'Applications' you will receive a numbered ticket and then you then go into the main hall and await the number to be called. There are also LED signs indicating the number being served and the counter to go to.

Signing up was quite simple. Once the number was called I went to the desk and asked to sign up for both a landline and broadband internet. My block is serviced by Centrex for the landline etc and I was able to tell the Streamyx desk officer this (having found out from the apartment block management company), albeit they would likely know from the address anyway. I opted for a landline as the calls to other TM land lines nationally are free and calls to mobiles and other land lines are fixed at Sen 10 per minute and so are cheaper than using a mobile (often called hand phone here). The rest of the 'deal' available from Streamyx was also very good as form RM 140 per month it includes 4Mb broadband (some apartments may only be able to get 2 Mb depending on how far you are from an exchange) a free wireless modem, free cordless phone and free connection. All I needed to do was fill in two forms, one for internet and one for land line and this took a total of about 20 minutes. I had been advised to take a copy of my tenancy agreement with me just in case they needed it but it was not required. All that was needed was a copy of my passport. The paperwork all completed, all I needed to do then is pay the RM 1,075 deposit for the landline which as a foreigner you are required to do. You pay this at a separate till and I used a credit card to do so (for which there is no extra charge). I then returned to the first desk, collected my copy papers, paid the RM 10 that they need for the stamp on this type of paperwork, and was advised that my landline would be activated in 1-2 days and internet 2-3 days after that. Once the broadband was activated I was advised that I could call in to the TM Point and pick up the free cordless phone.

True to their word, on Tuesday I got a call to arrange the telephone install and the guy came to do this on the Wednesday, all very swift and efficient. There is an RM 30 install fee that you pay for the landline but you do get a free 'wired' telephone also which you could use in a second socket if you have one, using the free cordless phone in the main one. If, like mine, your building is serviced by Centrex you can speak to your management company and ask them to link your landline to the security intercom so that security can buzz you when you have visitors. I am not sure if apartments serviced by non-Centrex suppliers can do this. I have opted to do it once the intercom service is activated.

On the Friday I then got a call to arrange the broadband connection. This again was efficient and quick and the guy came and installed the router, gave me the relevant user names, router security key etc and checked all my devices were working. As with any broadband you will need a 'splitter / filter' for any telephone socket you have a device plugged into. They supply one with the router and you will only need another (available from any main electrical outlets such as SenHeng / SenQ for about RM 17) if you plan to plug a further telephone into any other socket(s) you may have.

ADDENDUM: I recently also collected the free cordless phone. This was a bit problematic it has to be said, but likely through lack of communication. Upon registration I was told just call and collect the phone once broadband had been activated by the engineers. Not so. Apparently you need to wait to be contacted to go and collect your phone once it arrives in stock, normally two weeks after broadband activation. It appears though that on occasion the internal comms are less than efficient so my call/SMS never came. As such I used the 'Contact Us' form on the TM website to raise the issue. After this I got a call, a mail and an SMS advising me to go and collect my phone from the same TM point I signed up at. To do so you merely need to go to the TM Point and this time you DO queue at the front reception desk. Having done so, I told the girl at the desk who then completed a green receipt form with my details (she will ask for you passport number but did not ask to see it) and once done, you take the form to collect the phone at the 'Business Desk' just inside the main hall.

With the free phone I would suggest waiting for for the call / SMS from Streamyx for just over two weeks after broadband activation and, if it doesn't arrive, use the Contact Us form as I did. They will then contact you quite quickly, normally within 1-2 working days.

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