[ UPDATE 1/9/2022 12:30 ] Maxis has issued a response on the RM15 Unlimited Call and SMS charge. More details here.
Malaysians can now travel overseas freely as the international borders are now open as part of the country’s transition to the endemic phase. If you’re a Maxis postpaid customer, there are various data passes available to keep you connected but if you have an incoming call, you might want to think twice before tapping the accept button. A simple call even as short as a couple of seconds might cost you a hefty RM15!
Johnny, a SoyaCincau reader, has reached out to us about Maxis’ exorbitant rates when it comes to incoming calls while roaming in Singapore. This is due to the “1 Day Calls and SMS Unlimited Pass” which is activated automatically when you make or receive calls while travelling overseas. Like the name suggests, this is an unlimited pass which allows you to make unlimited calls and SMS to Malaysia or the local country for only RM15/day. The pass is available in Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand & Vietnam.
Maxis’ “take it or leave it” approach for call roaming charges
The auto-activation for the “unlimited calls and SMS pass” is mentioned in the terms and conditions and it also kicks in after you send more than 3 SMS on the same day. Even if you don’t want the pass, there’s no option for Maxis postpaid customers to opt-out.
While the pass is great for those who make lots of calls and SMS, it is just too expensive if there’s a sudden need to answer what could be an emergency call while travelling. Interestingly, this is auto-activation is only applicable on the current Maxis Postpaid plans such as Postpaid 68, 98, 108 and above.
If you’re using an older Maxis Postpaid (Talk and Surf, ValuePlus) or subscribed to Hotlink Prepaid and Hotlink Postpaid, Maxis charges a pay per use rate of RM1.75/minute for incoming calls in Singapore. The pay per use rate is much more reasonable as users are charged exactly for how much they use by the minute.
If a traveller makes or receives a short voice call daily (less than 60 seconds) for ten days in Singapore, Maxis Postpaid users would have to pay RM150 (RM15 x 10 days) for the mandatory Call and SMS unlimited pass. With Maxis’ pay per use rate, the same user would only need to pay RM17.50 (RM1.75 x 10 days) for the exact same trip and usage.
As a comparison, Celcom postpaid charges RM1.70/minute to receive calls in Singapore, while Digi charges RM1.60/minute. Among the big four telcos, U Mobile has the lowest pay per use rate of RM1.50/minute for incoming calls in Singapore.
There’s a better way to charge for roaming calls
After filing a complaint with the MCMC, Johnny has received a refund of RM15 from Maxis but it still doesn’t address the crazy charging mechanism for roaming. Charging roaming customers RM15 daily for voice calls regardless of usage just doesn’t make any sense. Essentially, Maxis is charging customers excessively more than what they actually use.
If the daily pass was intended to prevent bill shock, Maxis could have stuck to charging pay per use rate until the usage reaches a certain daily threshold. For example, if a user makes or receives less than 8 minutes of calls, they should be charged the normal rate per minute. Once it hits 8 minutes or more, the daily pass kicks in to cap the call roaming charges to RM15 per day.
You can check out the Maxis’ roaming page here. Did you experience exorbitant roaming charges while travelling? Let us know in the comments below.
Thanks Johnny for the heads up!