Before I delve into the topic, let me just say it straight out: PLDT sucks. Sadly, it
is was one of the leading internet providers in the country and perhaps the “best” in most cities. So, we don’t didn’t really have much of a choice, did we?
What I liked about PLDT before was that even if their connection was bananas — slow or intermittent or just not worth the money you’re paying for, we can easily call their Customer Service Support. Sure, only 3 out of 10 agents we talked to were efficient but at least you get to talk to PEOPLE not robots over the phone. Now? It’s all IVR! Believe me, I tried EVERY “department”. Nada.
PLDT has recently found an even more impressive way of fvcking up to a whole new level. Here’s a little backstory: Few weeks ago, our entire condo suddenly lost internet connection. Only for those under PLDT, of course. We reported it to the PLDT repairmen outside since none of us (residents) were able to contact a live person through their hotline. Two weeks later, nganga. Internet’s still dead as a doornail. What’s funnier is that they still sent us bills! Ediwow!
Take note, it’s not just us who experienced this with PLDT. We know several people from different parts of the country who did. And still do.
As a result, people have been switching to different providers. Well actually, a lot of people really switched because other providers’ offers were better and far more promising. The best one we’ve heard about is Converge ICT. They’re a pure fiber-optic internet provider offering higher speeds at affordable rates!
FIBER X 1500
NO DATA CAP
FIBER X 2500
NO DATA CAP
FIBER X 3500
NO DATA CAP
NO DATA CAP
NO DATA CAP
People who have already signed up with them rave about their connection. Naturally, we became interested, even long before the 2-week plight with PLDT.
(Update: It’s been 5 weeks now, as of writing, and PLDT connection in our building is still not fixed. At least 50% here already switched to Converge, and about 10% to Globe.)
Did we switch to Converge?
It was a Thursday morning when we applied for the service through an agent. Monday the following week, we received an e-mail saying our account has already been made and we just have to pay the one-time installation fee + advance security deposit. We paid that same day, e-mailed them a photo of the receipt (as per instructions) and waited… Thursday that same week, we called their Customer Support hotline to follow up our application. The agent we spoke to told us that the Job Order for our account has just been made and we can expect the Dispatch Team to schedule the installation within 7-10 days. To our surprise, the “installation men” arrived in our doorstep the next day! Woohoo!!!
Is it worth the switch?
So far, YES, definitely.
Our own experience with Converge:
We’ve only been with Converge for a month so I will be updating this portion from time to time.
General Connection: ★★★★*
I’m giving 4.5 (The asterisk is the “half” 😅) simply because we encounter network hiccups almost everyday. The disconnect only lasts for 5 seconds tops but while this is not a big issue for me, sometimes I hear Rael lashing out when he’s playing his mobile games and the connection chokes. LOL!
When web surfing, the page doesn’t appear in a split second like one might’ve imagined but it only takes 2-3 seconds to load completely (low latency). App and system updates are also swift. One time, I opened my laptop and Viber immediately prompted an update. I clicked YES, blinked 2 times (THIS IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION) and Voila! Viber’s updated!
When we were with PLDT, updating takes almost an entire day! We’re only on 5mbps (because PLDT Fibr wasn’t available yet when we applied) but still, the service was lame. And we were paying P1599 for 5mbps whereas with Converge, we get 25mbps of fiber connection for only P1500! PLDT’s package comes with a landline, though. But so what? Nobody calls us in our landline anyway! LOL
YouTube and Netflix streaming with Converge is fantastic. Picture’s great and latency’s low even when viewing videos on HD. We would've given it 5 stars for that alone BUT streaming via other streaming services/sites like Putlocker, etc. is just absolute hell. It began smoothly and we were even kinda smug about it, like "oh yeah, Converge is the bomb." But then in the middle of the movie, it became spotty and so we had to pause (for some time) for it to load (a little). That experience was such a bummer as we were already at the movie's climax. 🙁
I hope it's just because it was raining that night, but I guess this is just me trying to rationalize. We'll try streaming again next time and then I'll update this part here.
We’ve somehow covered this when I talked about installing updates. With download speeds that usually soar a little beyond 25 mbps and never below 20 mbps, we are really very happy with Converge.
My brother came here few weeks ago to download from Torrent. The average time to completely download a 1 or 2-G video with PLDT (based on our experience) was at least a day. We’d download it one late afternoon, leave it overnight and then find it done the next day. The fastest I probably experienced was 6 hours, I think?
With Converge, downloading multiple things from Torrent at the same time was faster than downloading one single thing with PLDT.
In here, my brother already started downloading some of the files in his condo (using PLDT). Four were already completed and the rest of the other 4 were just under 20% when he came here but when he began downloading, it only took roughly 30 minutes to finish the 3, and 8 minutes more for the 4th!
He also downloaded a new one and look! 4 minutes in and 12% of the 2.7GB file has been downloaded. Not bad considering we're in the Philippines. This download, by the way, was completed in 21 minutes.
Upload speed is very important in my online work. I work with a lot of websites and I upload a lot of things (webpages, multiple documents, high resolution photos and videos, etc.) everyday. I can’t say PLDT had been awful because I’ve done my job pretty well despite the delay. But with Converge, WOW. I can work faster and more efficiently now… I even have time to blog! LOL
The download speed for Converge never went down below 20 mbps, as promised. They have this disclaimer on their flyers that speed won’t go below 20. Their upload speed, however, sometimes goes below that. So far, the lowest I encountered was 18mbps. Still not bad.
This portion is not for me to answer because I am not the gaming type. The only games I have in my phone are Crossword Puzzles, Sudoku and an Architecture app which is technically not a game but I just placed it under “Fun” together with my game apps. Boring for many, I know. But that’s fun for me. 😋
Anyway, I don’t think those apps really need high-speed internet so I’m asking my gamer husband about this. He’s even the one who rated this 3 stars!
“Gaming with Converge is not perfect because we experience service hiccups everyday, but it is absolutely better than any other provider I’ve used here in the Philippines.”
You see, when it comes to online gaming especially for real-time games where there are multiple players from all over the world, equally excellent upload and download speeds are most ideal. Latency and ping also make the difference.
With Converge, gaming is generally smooth. The ping just randomly gets high sometimes, even when nobody else is using the internet. The good news is, when this happens, it only takes about 3 seconds. The bad news is, if you’re in the midst of an “important battle”, those 3 seconds can be very detrimental to your game.
I asked Rael if he would still recommend Converge Fiber X 1500 to fellow gamers, his answer is “so-so.” It’s a great upgrade from other providers’ plans but if gaming is a major concern, maybe getting the higher packages of Converge is better.
Update (08/21/18): We've noticed that everytime Rael plays his games, he gets routed to other countries, most of the time Indonesia. It's automatic! He tried switching from using Converge to using Globe LTE and he's routed back to the Philippines server! LOL. So this is just an FYI to gamers out there.
Update (09/03/18): Rael said gaming has improved, with super minimal lags and "ping problems". This improvement has been going on for over a week now. Hopefully it will continue to be like this. (A happy gamer is a happy camper. HAHAHA)
Multiple Users: ★★★★*
You know, I would really give this a 5 but considering Rael’s sporadic gaming frustrations, I’ll cut it down to 4.5. Frankly, Rael only griped 4-8 times compared to before when we were still with PLDT where he’d cuss about them all the time! Probably 2-10 times a day, at least 5 days a week for over 3 years!!! HAHAHA!!! When he’s on an “important game” or when he’s streaming his battles, NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO USE THE INTERNET. 😂 (Unless my parents are here. They always get the pass. 😂😂😂😂)
Here’s a speed test when one TV is on Netflix, one phone is on Youtube, one laptop is “working” (multiple browsers, website management, etc.), one phone is on Mobile Legends and another laptop is downloading multiple videos from Torrent:
Service Hotline: ★★★
The agents we’ve talked to have been good, so far. They were able to provide the details we need and deliver what was promised. The only reason why I gave this 4 stars is because it took us an awful long time to wait on queue. Like after about an hour of waiting, the line suddenly becomes busy and so we have to redial and answer the IVR again. This happens every time. We only called them for 3 times (twice for inquiry before application and once for the installation follow-up) and in all three times, we called twice because the line becomes “busy” all of a sudden.
Update (09/08/18): My brother applied for a 25mbps connection last August 23 and paid for the fees as soon as he got his account ready on September 3 (It took THAT long). Fast forward to today, September 8, he still didn't get any update from Converge. The problem is, calling their service hotline is IMPOSSIBLE. He's called them SEVERAL times for the past week and every time he does, he gets routed to Voicemail. Not very reassuring, indeed. So thank you, Converge, for your very "reachable" Customer Service team. One star down from this review. 🙁
The two men who came here to install our line were very courteous and professional. They always ask us first before doing anything, too. What I liked most is that they worked very neatly. The wires were properly tacked, furniture was put back in the right place and best of all, Kuya cleaned up the mess after doing his job. They left our house the way it was – except we already have THE internet connection. Kudos to Kuyas!
FRUSTRATING FEEDBACK (A Major Update)
So I just told you about my brother who applied last August 23, got the account number on September 3 to which he paid the P4,000 on that same day, and waited until today, September 10, for ANYONE to install the service. Last week, 2 installers (their uniforms had Meralco signs but they're also contracted by Converge to install connections. I won't post their photos but we have their photos) came to his apartment. They asked him for an additional P1,000 because of the overspan. But, it's clearly stated on the e-mail from Converge that we are not to hand money to any Agent or Installer. So my brother called the Agent who helped him with the application and the Agent advised him not to give the money. Fast forward to today, my brother went to the office of Converge in C5 only to find out they won't be able to provide service to his area due to overspan. The people in there seemed oblivious to almost ANYTHING my brother asked, including WHY THEY MADE HIM AN ACCOUNT IN THE FIRST PLACE. So he paid P4,000 and waited for 2 weeks for nothing??!!! I don't know if this is an issue with the contractors (apparently, the installers are not technically employed by Converge. They're from another company that Converge hires to install the services to its clients) or what, but TIME WAS WASTED. So if you are an applicant who's never heard from them after payment, FOLLOW UP YOUR APPLICATION -- in person, as much as possible. Because mix-ups apparently happen and this is a stressor we really want to avoid, yes?
How Converge application works
I just want to point out that this is not a paid advertisement. I am simply sharing my experience and little knowledge as I know a lot of people are thinking about doing the switch. Well, here’s how it works:
Step 1: Fill out the application form.
You can reach out to an agent, call Converge or apply online. The fastest method, as advised by many users, is to approach an agent. Also, know that before your service will be up, you need to pay:
- P2,500 for the Installation Fee
- P1,500 for the Advance Security Deposit
The security deposit (refundable upon termination of contract) is fixed, meaning you have no option for staggered payments. The Installation fee, however, can be paid in equal increments every month during the lock-in period (24 months). But instead of P2,500, the fee will be P3,000. P3,000 ÷ 24 = P125. So if for example you’re getting the P1500 Fiber Plan, your monthly bill will be P1,500 + P125. If you want this option, tell the agent. I’m not sure if you can also ask the Customer Service Rep on the phone for this option but it wouldn’t hurt if you try.
Step 2: Wait for your account.
After a few days, if your application is granted, you will receive an e-mail stating your account has already been made and that you will have to send your payment within seven (7) days.
Step 3: Pay P4,000 or P1,500.
Using your account number, pay the fees via these payment methods:
- Credit Card Autopay (Visa, Mastercard, JCB, Amex)
- Online Banking (Metrobank, BDO, BPI, AUB)
- Authorized Payment Outlets (7-eleven, Cebuana Lhuillier, MyBills, Jat-Central Holding, USSC, SM City in Pampanga and Clark): There are collection fees for 7-eleven and Cebuana Lhuillier; 7php and 10php respectively.
- Over the counter bank payments (Metrobank, AUB, RCBC, BDO, Unionbank, Planters Bank)
Step 4: E-mail them.
Clear instructions will be provided in the e-mail they will send about your new account. As stated in there, you need to send them a photo of the receipt of your payment. Once cleared, a Job Order will be in place.
Step 5: Wait.
The agent advised me that upon payment, it usually takes them 7-10 days to install your connection. I guess 7-10 days is their standard timeframe. In our case, I felt the need to call Customer Service because I read two reviews that their Customer Support handles concerns very swiftly versus their E-mail Support. So I simply made a follow-up. And it worked. Or I was just lucky.
Step 6: Enjoy high-speed fiber connection!
The only CON for Converge is probably their availability. As of today, Converge’s service is not yet available nationwide so you might wanna check with them first if their service is already available in your area. 🙂