In Malaysia, there are 4 main network operators:
1) HOT Prepaid (Maxis)
2) First and Xpax (Celcom)
4) U Mobile (Coverage)
And there are also other smaller providers:
1) Yes (WiMax)
2) XOX (MVNO)
3) OneXOX (MVNO)
4) Tune Talk (MVNO)
6) Friendi mobile (MVNO)
7) Buzzme (MVNO)
In terms of nationwide network coverage, I believe Maxis is possibly the best. However, if you are travelling mainly in city areas, it might be cheaper to go with DiGi or U Mobile.
So far, I've tried all the 4 main providers and I visit mainly Johor Bahru (JB), Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Penang. I've also relied on them for my tripts to Malacca, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. My favourite so far (and what I would recommend if your main usage is internet rather than calls/sms) would be U Mobile for reasonable coverage and best pricing for internet usage. I prefer using Hot (Maxis) for short weekend trips due to the lower cost of the starter pack.
For an overview of what Maxis/Celcom/DiGi provide, you can refer to this guide. In Malaysia, there are many internet plans that are for unlimited usage, but speed will be throttled after certain usage due to fair usage policy. However, the actual limit and speed after throttling may not be clearly spelt out in several cases.
My guide here will be focused mainly on U Mobile, which is not mentioned in the recommended guide. It is also my preferred choice of prepaid SIM. I even made an effort to reload regularly to keep the phone number since I do travel to JB/KL/Penang a few times a year.
The starter pack for U Mobile costs just RM8 with RM5 value included. It can be bought at 7-11 stores, petrol stations, U Mobile booths in some shopping malls (e.g. AEON Bukit Indah in JB) , and U Mobile shops (mainly in KL, e.g. Berjaya Times Square). The credit validity is according yo the reload value (e.g. 10 days for RM10 reload) and there is complimentary internet data package and free calls to U Mobile users. In recent times, it seems that many vendors only sell the higher cost starter pack which costs RM30+ inclusive of 5GB data usage.
There are "unlimited" internet plans at RM20 to RM50 per month, but your speed will be throttled down to 64kbps if you exceeded certain amount of usage (fair usage policy). There are also daily plans at RM2-5 as well as 7-day plan at RM9 and 15-day plan at RM15.
What's also very interesting is that they offer very attractive rates for roaming (and data roaming) in several countries
In summary for U Mobile:
- Starter pack: RM8 with RM5 value (but RM30 starter pack is more prevalent)
- RM2 per day: 100MB usage
- RM5 per day: 500MB
- RM9 for 7 days: 300MB
- RM15 for 15 days: 500MB
- RM20 per month: Speed throttled to 64kbps after 4.5GB usage.
- RM25 per month: Speed throttled to 64kbps after 6GB usage.
- RM30 per month: Speed throttled to 64kbps after 7.5GB usage.
- RM50 per month: Speed throttled to 64kbps after 12GB usage.
- RM10/day for unlimited data usage in 12 destinations (e.g. Singapore, Thailand, India)
For Celcom, their First plans are only on a monthly basis, so the prices won't make sense for short trips of 1-15 days. Xpax, on the other hand, would be more suitable for short trips.
Data plans for Xpax:
- RM3 per day: 1GB usage
- RM10 per week: 2GB usage
- RM30 per month: 5GB usage
- RM50 per month: 10GB usage
In DiGi's case, they seem to be tweaking their mobile data rates several times over these few years. Here are the prepaid plans available:
- DiGi LIVE Prepaid: Starter pack costs RM12. Free 8GB for music/video streaming.
- DiGi Best Prepaid: Starter pack costs RM8. Free 6GB internet
- RM1 per day: 50MB usage
- RM3 for 24 hours: unlimited usage
- RM8 for 24 hours: unlimited usage(high speed)
- RM4 for 7 days: 50MB usage
- RM9 for 7 days: 50MB usage
- RM28 for 30 days: 3GB usage
- RM38 for 30 days: 4.5GB usage
- RM48 for 30 days: 7.5GB usage
Maxis has quite good plans for short trips:
- RM10 starter pack is easy to get in official Maxis shops. External vendors usually sell starter packs that cost RM30+.
- FREE 1GB usage on Saturday and 1GB usage on Sunday as long as the SIM card is active
- RM3 per day: 1GB usage
- RM5 per week: 150MB usage
- RM7 per week: 300MB usage
- RM10 per week: 600MB usage
- RM30 per month: 2GB usage
- RM38 per month: 3GB usage
Recommended Guide: http://prepaidwithdata.wikia.com/wiki/Malaysia