Reason’s Why Globe Telecom’s Customer Service Sucks

Continuing right along with my problems with Globe, I’d like to give a few examples of why Globe Telecom sucks horribly when it comes to customer service.  As a service provider, customer service is an area that Globe should be excelling in, but they obviously don’t know the first thing about taking care of customers.  I’ll just give my examples in order of when I experienced them.

Example 1

When we were using Globe Tattoo’s USB sticks for Internet access, there were times when the network would go down or it would be so horribly slow that it literally couldn’t load pages, even though it would connect you and debit your account.  This would lead to lost money either way, because even if you registered for all-day surfing, how can you surf all day and get what you paid for if the network is down?

So, we would call up the Customer Service hotline and ask for a refund since we weren’t able to use the service.  WITHOUT FAIL the CSR we talked to would always tell us that they were going to put us on hold to check the status of the network in our area, then come back and tell us the network was working fine, as if they were trying to say the fault is somehow ours and they don’t want to take responsibility for it.

I mean, hello!  The network isn’t fine!  If it was, we wouldn’t be wasting our time calling the hotline over 5 or 10 pesos.

It usually required an epic amount of arguing to get that small refund.  Every, single, time.

Example 2

When we wanted to sign up for WiMax, we went to the Globe store at SM Taytay and talked to a CSR there.  We agreed that we wanted the service and we were asked for contact details.  We were told that they would check to see if there was coverage in our area and then get back to us.

My first problem with this is, why can’t they check on the spot if an area has coverage?  Shouldn’t that data be on hand?  Should a person have to physically go out to a location every single time someone wants service and check?  How inefficient is that?

My second problem is that they never did get back to us.  After waiting for 3 weeks we wound up using an authorized agent and distributor to get our WiMax.

Example 3

Why is it that the CSRs never update account notes?  If I have an ongoing problem, even after they pull up the account and say they’ve reviewed the details, they never know what’s going on and I have to re-explain something to them from the start.  On top of that, I have to explain it multiple times in multiple ways because they never seem to understand what I’m talking about.  I get the feeling that I understand their services better than they do.  These CSRs really need to be retrained, or to get some training to begin with.

I’m mostly referring to my on-going issue with WiMax here, which still isn’t resolved by the way, since the technicians that were supposedly coming out to make a house call never bothered to show up.  I’ve made multiple calls to their office about slow speeds and every single time I talk to them I have to start from the beginning.  Looks like I’ll be doing it again shortly, and now in addition to have to re-explain myself, I’ll have to complain about how the technicians blew us off and didn’t show up for the appointments that they set.

Example 4

Globe CSRs will always try to make you feel like a liar and a thief.  In some cases, they’ll even tell you an outright lie to try to keep from having to refund money.  They even quote things that have no bearing on what the issue is.

A few days ago, on the 18th, I registered for a text promotion called SULITXT 15.  Basically, you pay 15 PHP and you get 100 text messages that are available for 24 hours.  After 24 hours, the unused portion is forfeited.  This is a good deal because text messages are typically 1 PHP each.

To register, you send “SULITXT 15” to 8888.  To check your balance, you send “SLTX BAL” to 8888.

So, after registering and using it for a while, I decided to check my balance.  I accidentally copy / pasted the registration code instead of the balance code and sent it.

Instead of returning an error and letting me know that I was already registered, it double registered me, giving me an extra 100 available messages that I didn’t want or need and debited my account for another 15 PHP.

I called the Customer Service hotline to try to have the 2nd registration canceled and have my 15 PHP returned.  It took me about 20 minutes to get the CSR to understand what I was saying and then after that, he started quoting the Fair Use Policy and saying that SULITXT and my situation falls under it.

Globe’s Fair Use Policy:

What is the Fair Use Policy?

The fair use policy states that text offers are applicable for person to person transactions only. They are not intended and should not be used for spamming. Globe reserves the right to suspend promo subscription/s of accounts suspected to be engaged in such activities.

Just what the hell does this have to do with my problem?  I was asking for a cancelation of the service that double registered since I didn’t need it, and was asking for my 15 PHP to be returned.  What about that has anything to do with spamming?

It seems more like he was trying to blow smoke up my ass to get me to stop trying.

He also lied to me, directly.  He tried to tell me that I hadn’t registered for SULITXT services since early July.  I told him that I was using it then and had been using it almost every day for the previous few weeks.  He told me that I was lying to him and that “the system” didn’t show that I’d used any services during that period.  I told him I had proof, the reply messages from the automated service, and that I was definitely using the service and I told him to stop trying to bullshit me.

Here are screenshots:

Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 9 40 45 PM

This is the screenshot of when I accidentally resent the registration code instead of the balance code.

Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 9 41 01 PM

This is the screenshot showing where I checked the balance after accidentally registering again.

In fact, here are screenshots of all the times I’ve registered for SULITXT from August 3rd through this incident:

Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 34 13 PM Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 34 28 PM Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 34 42 PM

Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 34 57 PM Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 37 30 PM Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 37 44 PM

Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 38 01 PM Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 38 21 PM Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 38 39 PM

Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 38 55 PM

I guess the concept of smart phones that can take screen shots hasn’t quite dawned on people here.  So, which one of us is lying, huh?

I don’t like being lied to, especially about something that’s easily provable, and especially over 15 PHP.  That’s 33 cents USD.  Why the hell would I call and try to fabricate a story for an amount that can’t even buy a pack of gum?

After arguing with this guy for quite a while, he finally said he would submit a report and gave me a reference number, but I never got my 15 PHP back and the reference number probably isn’t even real.


Seriously… what the hell is wrong with Globe?

Reasons Why Globe Telecom’s WiMax Sucks

On the 13th I wrote a blog post about Globe services.  I tried to keep the tone neutral, to be fair.  We’ve been having some problems with them, but I wanted to give them a fair chance to get their shit together so the post was mostly just about what they offer in terms of Internet services.  However, every single day we seem to have an issue with Globe and their response is less than adequate, even for a provider in a 3rd world country.

Globe Sucks

To put it simply, Globe sucks.  I hope their offices burn to the ground, but only after I’ve left the country or someone may see this and come looking for me.  Today I’ll talk about why Globe’s WiMax sucks.  Tomorrow I’ll talk about how their mobile and customer service sucks.

Globe’s WiMax Rip-Off

My biggest issue right now is with Globe’s WiMax service.

We had two choices when we signed up.  We could either pay 795 PHP per month for a 512 kbits/s plan, or pay 995 PHP per month for a 1 MB/s (~1024 kbit/s) plan.  We figured it was worth the extra 200 pesos for double the speed so we went with the higher plan.

WiMax is high speed broadband, or so they claim, and for a while it was fantastic.  When it was first installed, the morons put it on the side of the house, under the eaves, so the signal was bad.  When we finally got it installed correctly on the roof and our signal strength went from 36% to 100%, it was like I was in the US somewhere.  Well, ok not that great, but it was close.  Everything was fast and download speeds were reasonable at 100 kbits/s, on average, meeting the rate quoted in our plan.

So here’s the fucked up part.  Everything went to crap after we had the service for about two weeks.  On the 8th, our connection speed dropped from 1 MB/s to 300 kbits/s.  Now, just to make sure you understand, that’s 1/3 of what it should be, and is lower than the lower tier plan, which is supposed to be 512 kbits/s.  So, we’re paying for a higher tier plan and can’t even get the connection speed of the lower tier plan.  What kind of sense does that make?  I’ve contacted their customer support numerous times, in numerous ways, to try to get this fixed, but the answers are getting increasingly stupid and I think we’re just being screwed.


Globe has a Twitter account, @talk2Globe, and I figured why not give it a shot?  It’s easier to communicate in type when you’re talking to someone that has trouble understanding English, which is the impression I have of Globe CSRs after having dealt with them many times previously.  Either that or they’re trained to make conversations intentionally more difficult than they have to be  So, the day after the connection slowed down, I DMed their Globe account with the details of our problem.

The following day I received these DMs from Globe:

So, I messaged them back letting them know I’d checked all of those things before messaging them and that the problem was ongoing.

They replied with this:

That’s a reasonable request, so I went ahead and used Speed Test and sent them the results.

SpeedTest1 SpeedTest2

As you can see from the results, the speed seems to be fairly well capped at .30 Mb/s down, or about 300 kbits/s.  That’s constant.  It’s still this way now, as of the 21st (keep in mind the times on the Speed Tests are in GMT, not local Philippines time):

If this problem were due to network congestion, it wouldn’t stay capped at 300 kbits/s ALL THE TIME, would it?  At some point, our connection would meet the 1 MB/s plan we’re signed up for, but ever since the 8th that’s not the case.

I sent links to these Speed Test results to Globe via DM.  This was their response:

This is the first time I heard Globe say that 300 kbits/s is an acceptable speed for their WiMax, and while that might be completely fine if I had the 512 kbs/s plan, I expect more from them when I have the 1 MB/s plan.  I expect at least more than I would get from the tier below me.  Common sense tells you that 1 MB/s is the maximum, but not the speed you’ll get all the time.  Common sense also tells you that you should get 1 MB/s at least most of the time.  Unfortunately, I’m not getting it, period.  Ever.  I can’t even break 512 kbits/s.
So, I let the Globe guy know his response wasn’t satisfactory, because there’s no way we’d be getting 1 MB/s speeds consistently and then suddenly be completely capped at 300 kbits/s.

We hope you understand.

Ya. I do understand buddy, but I’m not going to let your company keep screwing me.

I resolved to call the hotline, lodge my complaint again and also lodge a complaint against this Twitter imbecile.

Call to the 211 Customer Service Hotline #1

Right after sending my DM replies to Globe’s Twitter account, I called the hotline.  I explained the problem to the CSR and he walked me through their standard trouble shooting techniques.  Then he got smart and had me access the modem’s information page.  He had me read off some numbers on the page and told me that one of them, either the ‘RSSI’ or ‘CINR Reuse’, he didn’t specify which, wasn’t within acceptable limits.  Right on.  So then I told him about how inept their Twitter CSR is, and asked him why the guy wasn’t trained to find the same things that he did.

Then we agreed that he’d send out some technicians to look at my set up and figure out what the problem is.  These technicians showed up on time the following day (the 12th) and checked everything out.  They looked at the figures on the modem’s info page, ran some speed tests, and then told me that the problem is with the tower that our modem connects to.  They said they’d submit the report and have it checked out.

Call to the 211 Customer Service Hotline #2

On the 14th I called back and asked what was going on since our service hadn’t improved.  I was told that the tower in our area would be serviced on the 16th and to just monitor our connection speed.  We were told to be sure to call back if nothing improved, but then, despite the fact that there was a verified problem, she also reminded me that 300 kbits/s is “an acceptable speed for WiMax.”  I told her we had a perfectly good 1 MB/s connection until it suddenly dropped off, that it was a verified problem, and that I expected my regular speed to return to 1 MB/s since I knew it was possible, and it’s what we are paying for.

Call to the 211 Customer Service Hotline #3

I kept an eye on the connection speed and nothing happened.  It stayed slow and steady at 300 kbits/s.  On the 19th I called back again, asking what the problem was and when I could expect my connection to return to the speed we’re paying for.  That’s when I had to argue again about the supposed acceptability of 300 kbits/s for WiMax speed.

I asked them how it was possible for us to have 1 MB/s speeds for two weeks and then for it to suddenly drop off and stay capped at 300 kbits/s.  I asked why I would pay for a 1 MB/s plan when they couldn’t even offer the speed for the lower tier plan.  The moron couldn’t seem to understand the concept, so I had to make it really simple for him.  I asked him:

“If you went to the gas station and paid for 10 liters of gas and they only gave you 3, would that be ok with you?  Would that be acceptable?”

The analogy isn’t quite right, but it’s close enough.

I’m sure the person on the other end of the line finally got what I was talking about, but instead of agreeing with me, he just went back to quoting company rhetoric about 300 kbits/s being acceptable for WiMax.  Do they really think we’re going to pay 995 PHP per month when they can’t even give us the level of service that people paying 795 PHP per month are getting?  It’s not an issue of it occasionally being 300 kbits/s.  It’s ALWAYS 300 kbits/s.

The call ended with them assuring me they’d send someone out to look at our connection again.  Those people were supposed to show up yesterday, but didn’t.  They called at 6:30 PM to tell us how deeply sorry they were and that they’d come today instead (Saturday, the 21st).  Thanks a lot.  I’m glad I wanted to sit around the house all day Saturday waiting for them after doing the exact same thing on Friday.

My Theory

It’s really possible that there’s something wrong with the tower, considering the response from the 1st call about there being something wrong with the RSSI or CINR Reuse figures, and they’re just too inept to figure out how to fix it.  Or it could be that they know what’s wrong with it but won’t spend the money to repair it.  Neither would surprise me, but it’s still not acceptable.

However, I think there might be another reason for it.  I think Globe did this on purpose so they could accommodate more customers using that same tower, without upgrading their hardware.  Since we got our WiMax set up, I’ve seen other Globe antennae popping up in the neighborhood.  From a greedy, ‘fuck-the-customers-let’s-make-money’ perspective, it makes perfect sense.  What doesn’t make sense is that my connection would be perfectly good and then suddenly drop off, never to rise above 300 kbits/s again.  If my connection regularly hit 1 MB/s but sometimes slowed down to 300 kbits/s, I would understand.  That’s definitely network congestion and I can live with that.  What I can’t live with is that either my connection is being forcibly limited at so low a speed that it’s in the next lower tier of service, or they’re too stupid to figure out how to fix their own hardware.

However, I’m not going to just stand around and get screwed.  One of two things is going to happen:  they’re either going to fix my connection and get it back where it should be or they’re going to shift us down to the lower plan.  We’re not going to pay for what we’re not getting.  It’s just too bad we’re locked into a contract.

In the meantime, I’m going to make sure to cost them as much money as possible by constantly calling their tech-support line and constantly having house visits by their technicians.  I’m also going to start visiting other people in the neighborhood to see what kinds of speeds they’re getting on their connections.  If their speeds are being capped too, then that’s all the more ammunition I can use to blast out their corrupt business practices on my blog.

Globe Telecom Internet Services: Better Than Nothing, Usually

When my wife and I moved to the Philippines we were fully expecting to not have Internet, except for at Internet cafes, until we moved to Manila.  My in-law’s house is way up in a mountain valley.  There aren’t even phone lines here.  So, we were thrilled to find out that we did in fact have options for Internet service, though the only carrier with coverage in our area is Globe Telecom.  Globe offers two types of service here, Globe Tattoo USB broadband and Globe WiMax.

We’ve used both.  We’ve also spent quite a bit of time talking to Globe Customer Service reps about quality issues, and while I’m still happy we have Internet service out here in the boonies, I figured I’d write this blog post to let people know what they can expect and what they might be getting themselves into when they sign up with Globe.

Globe Tattoo Prepaid USB Internet Service

Globe Tattoo USB Sticks

When we first arrived, this was the option that was recommended to us.  We weren’t even aware of the WiMax option until much later and we were both using one of these USB sticks for our Internet access.  These things are convenient and portable.  You can take them with you and plug them into your laptop for access anywhere Globe has coverage.  They work ‘out of the box’ with both Windows and Mac OSX and with a little extra work you can even get them working on Ubuntu Linux, though with less features.  When you first plug the stick in, you’ll be prompted to install a software package that will allow you to connect to the network, monitor your usage and even send and receive SMS from your laptop (at standard rates).

The Internet service rate is really affordable, at 5 PHP (0.11 USD) for 15 minutes.  That’s great if you only want to use the Internet for an hour or so a day.  You could wind up saving by using it, rather than having a subscription plan.  You can also get deals like 24 hours of service for 50 PHP (1.10 USD) or 5 days of service for 220 PHP (4.85 USD), which is a discount on the regular rate.

The problem with the Globe Tattoo USD Internet service is the network itself.  From what I read there are very few areas where it works well, and more often than not you won’t be reaching the 2 MB/s advertised speed.  There are times when the service doesn’t work at all.  It will let you connect, and debit 5 PHP from your account, but it won’t actually connect to the Internet.  There was one instance where I signed up for the 24 hour access service, but was only able to effectively use the Internet for an hour and a half.  The fallback to that is that you can call Globe’s help line and if you complain enough, get the amount refunded to your account.  It’s a lot of hassle though.

Globe WiMax

Globe Broadband WiMax Modem

Globe WiMax is broadband Internet access, but without wires.  It works pretty much the same way any broadband Internet service does.  The set-up is just a bit different.  It typically comes in two parts, a white modem that looks like a lamp shade or blender and an external antenna that’s mounted to the outside of your house.  You can get the modem to work with a wireless router so more than one laptop can share the connection.  When my wife and I found out about the WiMax service we immediately switched to it.  Both of us like to surf the Internet, so it made sense for us to just use WiMax.  More often than not we were both signing up for 24 hour access on the Tattoo USB sticks, so we were paying more than what the WiMax costs.

Globe WiMax comes in different packages.  You can either get the Internet only 512 kb/s plan for 795 PHP (17.52), the Internet only 1 MB/s plan for 995 PHP (21.92 USD), or a 1 MB/s plan that comes with a phone line for 1295 PHP (28.53 USD) per month.  Those prices aren’t too bad at all, even on local wages.  We picked the 1 MB/s Internet only plan.

Where Globe WiMax fails is in the network, again.  Since it doesn’t use wires and relies on a broadcasted signal, any time the weather gets a little rough, your signal quality will suffer.  Sometimes storms will knock the service out entirely for more than a day.  Other times it just goes down for no discernible reason.  Right now we’re having a problem with the service speed and I’ve been working on getting that fixed for about 5 days.  The problem is with the servicing tower in our area.  My speed started capping at 300 kb/s this past Sunday and I can’t get better than that since, even though I was reaching 1 MB/s or more regularly before that.

Globe Customer Service

Globe’s customer service isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s annoying and disorganized.  Here are some problems we’ve had:

When we first decided we wanted to get WiMax we went to the Globe office at SM Taytay, or maybe it’s in the mall that’s connected by a closed bridge.  We were told that the company would check to see if service was available in our area and they would call us back.  They never called back, even though we waited for about two weeks.  We wound up running into a contracted employee of Globe, a licensed distributor, that hooked us up.

We arranged to have our service installed two days after our application was approved.  The day before our installation date we went to Manila.  While we were in Manila thinking about what to have for a late lunch, Globe installers called us and asked us why we weren’t home.  We had to argue with them about what an appointment means and wound up leaving Manila (and not eating til much later) to make sure we got our service and they didn’t just leave and not ever come back.

Our service was installed at about 4 PM. That night the service went down at 11 PM.  I called the next morning to complain at about 6 AM and, luckily, repairmen were going to be in the area that day so they stopped by.  Right when they came in the door the service came back up.  The problem was with the tower and another crew had repaired it.

The next day another group of Globe employees showed up to install our service.

Two days later another group of Globe employees showed up to repair our service.

A few days after that I got tired of the bad signal quality and unreliable nature of the connection and called to have it checked out.  When the repairmen showed up, they said the antenna should be mounted on the roof so it can get better signal, not on the side of the house under the eaves where the original installers put it.

I discovered that if you don’t have a certain amount of prepaid credits on your phone, you can’t call Globe’s free help hotline.

Last Sunday my service suddenly dropped down to 300 kb/s max download speed, instead of the usual 1 MB/s.  Because my phone was low and I was too lazy to go get it topped up, I tried out contacting Globe via their Twitter account.  After dragging the conversation on for a few days, the Globe employee finally told me: “Btw the 300 kbps result of the speed test that you have submitted is an acceptable speed for wimax, … We hope you understand. Thanks.”  My problem with this is that I have the 1 MB/s plan, not the 512 kb/s plan. If I had the 512 kb/s plan I wouldn’t care, because that IS fairly acceptable.  However, my minimum speed should at least be higher than the speed of the lower tier, or what the hell am I paying more for?  And common sense should tell you that the speed wouldn’t just suddenly drop off and cap at 300 kb/s like that for no reason.  There had to be a problem.  So, I contacted Globe via the 211 help hotline and gave the rep some information from the modem admin panel.  He said that one of the figures wasn’t within acceptable limits and sent technicians, which in turn said the problem is with the tower, which is what I told the Globe guy on Twitter to start with.  I’m still waiting for them to fix whatever the problem is.


Like I said initially, I’m glad we have service at all way out here, but if a company is going to offer service, could they at least do it correctly?  Can they meet their own service standard by doing installations properly and properly diagnose problems and then fix them?  Can they not send multiple crews to do the same job? Can they train the person running their Twitter account properly?  And why do I have to have more than 1 PHP in prepaid load to call their free hotline?  It’s free!