Internet is the lifeblood of any work-from-Homer's income.
Without the internet, we wouldn't have our jobs. Plain and simple. A client may understand if we tell them we have ‘internet issues'. However, while they empathize, it will be a deciding factor in determining if they continue working with you.
Internet in the Philippines is a sad reality. Not only do we have one of the slowest speeds in our region, but also the most expensive.
Things may change. Hopefully sooner than later. But in the meantime, we have to make do with what's available.
So I wanted to give you some suggestions on what you should do with regards to internet connectivity.
Residential Internet in the Philippines
Your top priority should be to get a residential internet connection. Nothing beats a residential internet connection in terms of speed, reliability, and price. I won't go into full detail, but if you want to see a comparison table of all the different internet options in the Philippines, download the internet connection table HERE
The reliability and stability of internet service providers in the Philippines varies greatly depending on location. In some areas, PLDT is better. In some, Globe is better. And there are even the smaller companies like BayanTel.
At the bare minimum, you need 3Mbps. However, that's the absolute minimum. If you can get a better connection in your area that isn't too expensive, then my recommendation is to go for it. The difference in the amount of work you can get done (and therefore, how much you can charge) is worth the price difference.
Based on my research, here's an ordered list of the most common internet connections in order of reliability:
- PLDT Fibr
- Sky Broadband
- PLDT DSL
- Globe DSL
- PLDT Ultera
- Smart Bro and Globe Tattoo
If you can't get a residential internet connection – for example, if you're boarding with roommates, your next best option is to get a data plan with either Globe or Smart.
And even if you can get a residential internet connection, having a backup connection doesn't hurt – especially if you're in an area where the connection isn't reliable.
Internet in Philippine Coffee Shops
I know that there are cafes out there that allow you to use internet. However I don't suggest you depend 100% on them for the following reasons (speaking from experience):
- The internet is often slow. Sometimes too slow to even load email.
- The internet is unreliable. Too often, I've went to a cafe with the expectation to use their internet. Only for their internet to go down while I'm in the middle of doing something important.
- You don't want to spend your whole day in a cafe. Staff often give you dirty looks and don't appreciate it unless you buy every few hours, and
- Buying coffee from cafes every day is expensive. P150 (at least) x 20 days = P3,000/month.
I still go to cafes every few days to get a change of atmosphere from home. If they have internet, good. If not, I use my data connection.
Hotspot Devices with Globe and Smart
You have the option of either getting a WiFi hotspot device or using your smartphone as a hotspot. It's up to you which option you think would serve you better.
I personally use my phone as a hotspot. (I'd probably misplace a Pocket Wifi if I had one). I also prefer having one device that does two things. Plus, it's cheaper and easier for me to only have one bill that handles both my data and phone use. If you need help choosing a budget phone that has good hotspot capabilities, I'm currently writing a post for that.
Wireless Internet Data Plans in the Philippines
There are a few Globe and Smart ‘tricks' out there to get pirated internet, but those ‘tricks' violate the Globe and Smart Terms of Service and could get your number blocked. You can probably do them for a week or so, but any longer than that and I'd be weary. Plus, it's always better to follow the rules, right?
Both Globe and Smart have ‘unlimited data' plans (which aren't actually unlimited – more about that later). If you're working from home, you'll need to use the internet everyday, so the ‘unlimited' plans end up cheaper than the typical Globe GoSurf or Smart BigBytes promos. Sun doesn't have any strong data plans, so we won't be discussing them (sorry Sun users).
As long as you don't do anything bandwidth heavy – such as watch a lot of videos or start torrents, these should be enough for you. I even watch a few videos every now and then with no problem.
Globe VS Smart:
Both Globe and Smart have very similar offerings. My suggestion is to make your decision based on which of them is faster in your area in terms of 4G or 3G speed. What I did is I bought both SIM cards and ran speed tests to see which was faster. Globe won in the IT Park, Cebu area.
What I'm currently using is Globe's Prepaid Supersurf for P999/mo. This allows me to use up to 800MB per day at pretty good speeds (up to around 30Mbps in some areas). If I go beyond 800MB, Globe slows down my speed to 2G (practically unusable).
Unfortunately, Globe seems to have screwed over postpaid subscribers. Because while postpaid users can use up to 1GB per day, they have a maximum use of 3GB per month. That's only around 3 days of max usage.
Whereas with prepaid, you could go up to potentially 24GB if you max out everyday (800MB x 30). So if you're going with Globe, prepaid is the way to go.
Smart's unlimited data allows you to use 1GB per day. Unlike Globe, they don't have a monthly maximum cap. So you can end up using around 30GB for the entire month. If you're prepaid, you'd have to spend P1200 per month for unlimted data, while postpaid subscribers may be able to get it for P1000.
Conclusion – Internet Connections in the Philippines
I hope this helped you choose a connection. Ultimately, if you can get a good residential connection, go for it. And my suggestion is to always have a backup data plan with your phone or hotspot.
Jason is the founder and CEO of Work from Home Roadmap and VA Bootcamp. Aside from teaching Filipinos how to succeed working from home, he likes traveling, playing board games, and drinking coffee.