[Malaysia] Yoodo – Malaysian Prepaid Telco Review – Dec 2020

Disclaimer: This post contains a referral (tgazp7672). For each person that signs up to a Yoodo service using my code, I will receive RM20 Yoodo Credit. You will receive an additional 7GB data – which is valid for your first billing cycle (30 days). This code can be entered at the time of ordering the SIM via the app.

Last Updated: March 2021 – Yoodo have updated their pricing in a good way

  • There is now a 6GB/RM18 option
  • All data plans of 10GB or more have an automatic 10GB bonus, resulting in 20GB now costing RM25 and 30GB now costing RM35
  • The 50 mins of calls has been removed, with 100 mins replacing it as the RM5 option. See the tables below for an elaboration (it’s a good change – don’t worry)
  • The RM5 data add-ons are now RM3, while the RM10 data add-ons are now RM7. Obviously a good change, but – does it make it worthwhile to subscribe to them? You do the maths!

[Malaysia] Yoodo – Malaysian Prepaid Telco Review – Mar 2021

If you want a high-level summary, scroll right to the bottom for my Summary/TL;DR!

Yoodo is a Malaysian telco that I have known for a long time. They intrigued me due to their branding, which gave a very hipster/young vibe, and everything else I saw afterwards looked overwhelmingly positive.

They stand out for the following reasons:

  • Extremely customisable, and you can change it as often as you like every 30 days. You can also add allowances (SMS/calls/data) within the 30 day period itself
    • Keep in mind this is technically a negative of non-contract plans, as it means the telco is free to change prices whenever they wish. However, this should not be a concern because it is a competitive market (it’s not a monopoly), and prices should generally get cheaper over time and is precisely why I am a strong advocate of non-contract plans.
  • Their app is very user-friendly
  • They are very wallet-friendly (i.e. they’re not expensive!)
  • As a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), they piggyback off the infrastructure of one of the bigger telcos. Who do they piggyback off? Celcom. You know what that means? Great reception (thanks TechRakyat for the reception analysis!)
    • It is possible that the quality of reception is not quite on par with that of “proper” Celcom services (as is typically the case with MVNOs), but I would not expect it to be far off.
  • When you run out of data, your data is not cut off, but instead slowed to 64kbps. 64kbps is slow – but if you’re primarily after WhatsApp and Google Maps/Waze, it should be sufficient!

I personally use Yoodo, and I have also gotten about 4 of my close friends/family members onto it. My own personal experience, and the feedback I’ve gotten from them is that the quality of reception is excellent. Given the fact that they are a MVNO leveraging off Celcom’s infrastructure, this is not surprising at all.

At the time of writing, this is what Yoodo charges. Note that this can be firstly broken down into options available:

  1. At the beginning of the billing period
  2. After a billing cycle has commenced, but can be purchased as an add-on

The cost for calls and SMS does not differ pre and post commencement of a billing period, but the cost of data fluctuates. I have also noticed that the cost of high-volume data sometimes fluctuates seasonally, or rather, when there are certain promotions on.

At the beginning of the billing period

This can be broken down into data, calls, SMS and data packs. Data packs can only be selected to commence at the beginning of a billing period and cannot be purchased as add-ons. When I say data packs, think “20GB for YouTube, 20GB for WhatsApp” kind of thing.

Data


Yoodo also offer an unlimited data option from RM35/mth at 3Mbps or RM43/mth at 6Mbps. Both these plans include 50 mins of calls, and 2GB of data for hotspot use. These speeds are not slow, but are certainly slower than the speeds you would get for subscribing to one of the dedicated data plans above, which should consistently get you 10Mbps+

However, separate to this……

Free Data Because of Covid (until when?)

All telcos are giving out 1GB per day for free, which was supposed to be until 31 December 2020, but I believe is extended indefinitely. This means you could theoretically buy your calls/SMS only, assuming 1GB/day (equates to 30GB/month) is sufficient for your needs. There are some catches you should be aware of, such as the limitation on the data not being available for specific apps. The notable ones in this list are Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Mobile Legends. Fortunately, WhatsApp is fine! You might be able to get around this limitation by using a VPN. Also note that this limitation of data varies by telco. For example, Unifi do not have such limitations!

Keep this in mind when deciding how much (if any, at all) data to purchase.

Calls


The unit cost of calls is quite cheap!

SMS


As are SMSes, but I would be insulted if these were expensive. Note the 300 SMS option (grey) is not available after the month starts, but I doubt anyone would lose sleep over that

As are SMSes, but I would be insulted if these were expensive. Note the 300 SMS option (grey) is not available after the month starts, but I doubt anyone would lose sleep over that

Data Packs/Add-Ons


Each of these data add-ons gives you 20GB to use on the respective service/app until the end of the billing cycle

Nothing surprising above though, in the sense that the higher the volume you buy of data/calls/SMS, the cheaper the unit cost.

While the data packs/add-ons can be tempting considering their low unit cost, do the sums to determine whether or not it’s worth your data usage habits!

After the billing period has begun

The cost of purchasing additional calls and SMS is the same, regardless of whether you buy it before you have an active subscription or after. However, data costs are different, and the data prices above will no longer be available to you.

Data


A Sample RM12/mth Plan

This is probably the cheapest combination that could work for your average gen X/Y/Z (although you’re gonna be pretty data-poor…):

  • 100 mins of calls for RM5
  • 1GB of data purchased after billing period commencement for RM7
  • Total Cost: RM12/mth

What do you get? 0 SMS, 100 mins of calls, and 1GB of data.

>
Wtf? 1GB of data is not enough.
— You

It’s absolutely reasonable that you might feel insulted by me suggesting 1GB of data in 2021 might be enough. However, after you finish your 1GB data, it gets slowed to 64kbps – so it still works. And why 100 mins of calls? Because I imagine with the prevalence of apps like WhatsApp/WeChat/Viber/Line/Telegram – the focus is more on data rather than calls. Calls are still useful however, for those odd occasions when you need to make calls. Think of making a restaurant booking, calling a bank, or calling a shop to ask if they have stock of your favourite item.

Of course, by all means get more if you need more! That’s the beauty of the customisability Yoodo offer you!

Summary/TL;DR

Yoodo offers fantastic value, due to its customisabilty, versatility and great network coverage leveraging off the Celcom network. The fact that data is capped rather than cut off is also another great selling point.

The two main disadvantages of Yoodo I can think of are:

  • Their customer support is not 24 hours
    • Their primary form of customer service is live chat, Facebook, and their forum/community section
  • They have no physical branches for you to visit to scream at staff

I’m not going to pretend that not having physical branches is not a disadvantage, even though this is probably why they’re so affordable. Personally, it’s a trade off I’m very willing to accept.

While Yoodo also have unlimited data offerings, I personally don’t believe it is their unique selling point, as it’s also offered by other telcos for similar (or in some cases, cheaper) price. It is also why the focus of my post has not been on their unlimited data options.

Here’s how to maintain a Malaysian number for ~RM12/year with Yoodo, which might be useful for those looking to move overseas for a while (studying/working abroad?). I’ve also written about unifi‘s prepaid offering and their unique service which has no expiry. Hypothetically, you’ll be able to maintain your number, sort of, for free – but there are catches, of course.

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