An Unsponsored Review of Smart Bro’s Prepaid LTE Home WiFi + Comparison with Globe

I recently blogged about Globe’s Prepaid LTE Home WiFi.

(Read it here.) Long story short, it was a game changer for me. For the first time, I had AN INTERNET CONNECTION THAT ACTUALLY WORKS! AT HOME!

  • I could play Spotify songs without downloading them in someone else’s house.
  • I could watch movies online. (No need to ask my friends for movies from their EHD.)
  • My Facebook News Feed wasn’t a blank white screen.
  • I barely had to wait for YouTube and Facebook videos to buffer.
  • I could take Skype calls at home.
  • I could finally answer emails and Facebook messages.

This saved me so much money and time. I could get straight to work from the comfort of my own home! No more hours stuck in traffic. I was finally reaping the benefits of a work-from-home job.

Even though I was completely happy with my Globe LTE Home Prepaid WiFi, I was curious about Smart. I knew that Smart was offering a very similar product. The price is almost exactly the same. Both also offer free 10GB when you first purchase it. Also, they both offer 1GB for 50 pesos.

Because of this, I bought another one from Smart. (Ganyan talaga kapag sigurista! 😉)

But here’s where I went wrong. When I purchased it from the Smart store in Shang, I didn’t ask the staff to test it out. (Unlike in Globe, I specifically requested them to test it and even personally did a Speedtest before paying for the device.) I was in a rush that day, and I was a careless shopper. 🙁

When I got home and plugged it in, it seemed perfect. No sign of physical damages. It actually looks very sleek:

Photo from Smart’s website

Here are the contents of the box:

I was able to change the username and password of the device. But even after setting everything up, none of the websites were loading. The light beside “Signal” was just a blinking red light. According to the manual that came with the box,

  • Blue means best signal.
  • Green means good signal.
  • Red means bad signal.
  • Blinking red means no SIM/no signal.

Since I was able to power up the device and even change the username and password, I did not think that my device was in any way damaged. I just assumed that my signal was bad. I shut it off and used my Globe device instead.

I tried it again after a few days. Same thing: blinking red light, none of the websites loading. That was when I figured out that there must be something wrong. It was impossible to have absolutely no signal even beside a wide-open window. (And Smart phones had reception in that area.) That was when I realized that there must be something wrong with my device.

Even though I hated Metro Manila traffic and had to work at home that day, I just really wanted to get this device replaced. I went to Shang, where I bought this device, waited in line, and was finally able to talk to a customer service representative about my problem. I was hoping to have it replaced or refunded, but no luck.

As with other companies, they only offer refunds if the item was purchased within seven days. Mine was beyond that period. I couldn’t leave the device there, too. There was a separate shop that did the repairs, so Smart could only issue me a certificate.

The next day, I immediately went to the repair center that the customer service representative from Smart told me about. I had to fall in line again since there was a queue of people waiting to get their gadgets repaired.

After a while, it was finally my turn! (Yay!) I told the customer service representative about my concern. Because I had the certificate with me to prove that the item was purchased within 12 months, he no longer charged me a repair or diagnostic fee. (This is why it’s important to get the certificate from Smart. Bringing your receipt alone won’t be enough.)

I filled out some forms. He asked for an ID. He photocopied the certificate. I was told to expect an update from them after seven working days.

When I wrote down the date in my planner, he clarified, “But it can take more than seven days. Maybe less, maybe more.” There’s actually no definitive date, but they’ll call me when it’s ready for pickup.

When I go there to pick it up (in around seven days), that would be the third day wasted on trying to get this device fixed. And what’s worse, this doesn’t seem like an isolated case.

I checked the comments in YugaTech, and saw this:

The problem in my device is the same with commenter FuckingfrustratedI’m just worried that when I get my device back, it might get broken yet again. After all, it was broken even before I got to use it. It’s been such a waste or precious time and money: braving the traffic, waiting in line, etc. when I could have been working from home with my (working) Globe prepaid home WiFi.

But I don’t fully blame Smart, because I know I made a lot of errors, too:

  • I should have tested it before leaving the store. It’s not enough for the device to turn on. I should have personally conducted a Speedtest.
  • I should have used it, tested it, and returned it within seven days. Even if it was broken before I got to use it, Smart can only repair it. But as evidenced by other customers, repairing a broken device doesn’t guarantee that it’s completely fixed. It might still be a defective device that just works at the moment.

From this post, it’s obvious that I’d recommend Globe over Smart (especially since the price is the same). But maybe you’ll have better luck than me when you purchase your device.

I’ll update this blog when I get my Smart device back! I’m hoping to do a side by side Speedtest on both devices.