My Telco Rant Continues…Circles.Life Loopholes and Concerns.

Many thanks to friends who have read my last blog about Circle’s Life and it has garnered over  1400 views since it was published.

I now added this post as a disclaimer and update that I have since gotten a Circles.Life (CL) line without porting over because I really want to see for myself how the whole thing works. CL has extended an invitation to try their service for 3 months for free and this is important I update the story a bit.

Why disclaimer? Because I am a reviewer and just want to make it very clear about my position. Friends who know me will understand when I say something, I try to be fair and I can basically do without Disclaimer. But I also want to be fair to people who don’t know me and so here it is.

Just to update too I have written something on October 17 2013 about Phone Plans and Customer Loyalty. That was way back before CL was even born.  In it, I have said a few things so I am going to point forms.

  • Customer Loyalty will be the impetus for people to stay through the pockets
  • T-Mobile CMO let us know our mobile plan charges is very high (90% profit margins). Even the New York Times has acknowledged that in America once customers paid off their bills, our subscription charges doesn’t go down. It sounds very similar, right? Read it right here.
  • T-mobile will get rid of International Roaming Charges.
  • Mr Sievert (CMO) best quote “We (T-Mobile) sit around and say, ‘What can we get away with not charging the customer?’”

Guys. I have been saying for the longest time. If you are okay with 4GB at 90 dollars, then you’d better off re-contracting with a phone (hence I say it is a form of slavery). There’s no phone subsidy involved just that you have to pay them around 50 dollars more (4GB for 30 is about there) since you are in the contract. Please wake up. Even New York Times already say there is no phone subsidy. WAKE UP!!

But I know for a fact a lot of people is NOT OK with the 90 Dollars charge for a measly 4GB but got worried about paying for a phone upfront. So yes. You won’t worry if you buy a phone with CASH (seriously, OnePlus 3T is cheap online) or just pay with a credit instalment plan. What you have in return if you go with SIM Only plans is that you

  • Won’t get ripped off
  • Can get away from the company if they play punk because no contract to hold you hostage (that to me is the best customer service you can give to a customer).
  • Freed from mental torture every 3rd week of the month. That means anything more than 10GB should be fine.

That leads to my next point about data capacity. What is the level of data you need so you don’t feel hampered? And what things needed to be done so you don’t overuse unnecessary data? Here are my tips

  • Anything over 10GB to me is as good as unlimited. 26GB from Circles.Life basically you can be worry free. But being worry free means bad habits will come. It is like a camera and ISO performance. As ISO performance gets better, shooters develop bad habits when shooting. They totally ditched tripods or don’t want to use the shutter release for example.So if you have an unlimited data package, that would mean you will download any TDH (Tom, Dick and Harry) apps and the resulting background app usage will surely affect you sooner rather than later.
  • If you are on an Android phone, totally get rid of the notification services. I switched off practically everything except for WhatsApp messaging (and for some WeChat and Line). I don’t need Facebook to tell me some chicks added me (they are fake by the way judging by the pixelated profile pictures) and certain, the game’s notification can basically just go hang themselves wasting my data.
  • Kill off background workings of the apps. Sometimes the apps have to work in the background so they can be updated and notify you things. If you find some nonsense apps you hardly use keep hounding the resources, do yourself a favour and uninstall it.
  • Use Wi-Fi as much as possible.
  • Please get rid of watching video on the way to work. That is the worst data hogger ever…not to mention battery waster too. Spotify still not as bad.
  • Get on a habit to use as little data as possible and work on it continually. Such habits will save you money and don’t allow Telcos to hold you hostage just because of data. It has happened already, that’s why CL is reaping the benefits. Besides, as apps and phones get more complicated, more data will be used. Know how to control and that’s my number 1 tip.

Okay, I know the tips above will need some work. Learn how to control data usage. Your wallet will thank you in the future. 

Still, I want to applaud CL for giving us 20GB for 20 dollars. That helped because new phones and apps have to use around minimum 3-4GB of data a month now on average. 

Some even say 8GB is average!

My goodness, that is bad even when I am someone who practically lives on Facebook for work and yet I am already at 8GB thanks to my data saving methods and the rest of the world is already 8GB average? Seriously? You guys are setting yourselves up as data slaves for the Telcos man!

Anyway back to CL 20GB offer. It is a good thing…but it is also a bad thing. And since I am at it, I am certainly happy about CL’s customer loyalty plan but it also has a very bad side effect.

So here’s the low down

  • Unlimited Data will create bad habits that lead to data slavery (already shared above)
  • CL customer loyalty program is working very well. Too well in fact. After I shared the CL stories online in Facebook and WilzWorkz.com, people pushing their discount codes has become super irritating. I know 200MB increase in data per referral is really a good deal once the person you referred to also signs up with a $20 discount when they registered.But Singaporeans being kiasu goes to your post and shaft the code in the comments section? Really lah~ don’t be so desperate leh! This supposed to help your friends and thank you for referring, not helping yourselves like that to the point of invading other people’s space. Don’t be so cheap lah, just go sign that 20 dollars for 20GB.
  • I hope CL people read this now. Once the 20 dollars for 20GB comes about, those who actually bought it will have no incentives to introduce their friends already UNLESS they are truly helping people to get rid of lousy mobile phone plans. To me, people use my codes so they can get a much cheaper registration fee (more than 50% off) and not enrich myself. If you do want my code, please comment below and I will connect with you.
  • I also appreciate Circles.Life being proactive in getting and retaining customers but please cool down!! I just talked about their plans in Facebook and the black belt customer service was so ‘enthu’ they came to help. I seriously love the enthusiasm! But relax lah. Maybe say “Hey Wilson thanks for talking about us (since I tagged so it is okay), we will be happy to help if there’s any question!!” That is so much better instead of stepping in to face the potential customer (the person replying to my post).
  • And this customer loyalty plan can also lose its effectiveness sooner now thanks to the new product add-on. Once people pay the 20GB, the customer’s loyalty of 1GB per year they stayed with CL will not be as effective. There will be a point people don’t need the data so what’s it for them to continue making them feel treasured in CL?

Here’s my feedback

  • Go beyond free data as rewards. Allow people to redeem towards SMS or Voice time for those whose work relies on voice communication.
  • Have fan-centric events and promotions. Yes, a lot more work when it comes to events, workshops, outings or even travel trips. but it shows commitment to give CL fans benefits. So even if they have enough Data, Voice, SMS…they still will stay because of these intangible benefits. Does it increase cost? Definitely! But sometimes, gifts that are cheap doesn’t mean it is insincere. There can be cost effective stuff to do! (perhaps CL wants to talk to me about this?!)

Last Points: My Tests with CL line. I will say again, CL uses M1 infrastructure so the conclusion should be very similar with the MyConnections SG (IDA) results. That said, the speed experience is also affected by the handset you have, the content (bad programming will result in slow apps – Instagram and Facebook are the worst at the moment),  the bandwidth from Circles.Life server to the server serving you as the user and the speed of the servers.

For the test I used MyConnectionsSG by IDA. Government third party line test app. If it is lousy don’t blame me. I also use dual SIM phone – Huawei Mate 9 so the equipment is same platform.

Information is presented as such – Ping (ms) smaller number better / Download Speed (Mbps) bigger number better/ Upload Speed (Mbps) bigger number better.

  • Selegie Road: CL – 16/66/8.2, ST – 30/29/1.8
  • Anchorvale (Sengkang): CL – 17/47/41, ST – 27/53/40
  • Edgefield HDB 13th floor: CL – 13/40/38, ST – 30/28/1.9,
  • Edgefield HDB Carpark: CL – 39/3/0.689, ST – FAIL (sibey jialat place, the HDB block basically is a fortress design), SH (using iPhone) – 56/2.2/2.5
  • Edgefield HDB Groundfloor: CL -26/56/46, ST-27/31/14
  • Punggol Central HDB: CL -14/84/40, ST – 29/31/40

Conclusion – Circles.Life (and M1) is blowing away SingTel pretty handsomely. Maybe because I am super old contract and they throttling the data throughput rate?  But this weekend I feel Circles.Life is the real deal with much faster speed lesser amount of money I am paying.

I still have 3 more months of testing to go. So stay tuned. If you do want my code, please comment below and I will connect with you. Any questions welcomed.

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13 thoughts on “My Telco Rant Continues…Circles.Life Loopholes and Concerns.

  1. Hi I was wondering if I should be worried to port over from Singtel. I’ve read a number of negative reviews regarding their customer service and delivery. This makes me worried that I will experience the same upon porting over and I end up the same problems. also may I know your referral code? thanks a lot 🙂

    Like

    1. Cocoshi,

      You got a point and like me we all ought to be worried. I put it this way. CirclesLife is already a year old. If they are crap it would have already happened but for one negative comment how many positives can you find? I know tough to know because these days you don’t know who is the paid ambassador or who is just a normal customer.

      Anyway all companies have their fair share of disgruntled customers. But we now at least have a customer retention program that no other telco have. When M1 and Virgin mobile was introduced i was anticipating a better customer loyalty experience but what we have from the 3 main telcos are just nothing but nonsense as far as I am concerned. We only get to enjoy better discounts if we sign up for everything. Why? if I have one line with the telco does that mean I am not a customer worth retaining?

      So right now I feel even if the complaints are there, at least they can be seen to have quick reaction to solve the issue. Sometimes they dropped the ball but after nearly 20 years in consumer tech industry, I have seen much worse to the point I gladly pay a 4 figure sum to volunteer myself to get out of the green company.

      The only thing I can fault the Yellow and Red companies are their inability to innovate to retain their customers and instead chose to rest on their laurels. I blame the Singapore work culture that only strives to maintain status quo but don’t really allow their people, especially the lower rank customer facing people to suggest innovative products and services to sell to the customers.

      Would Circles.Life go the same way after they earn enough? Only if the bosses allow it to happen.

      I also be frank. After I covered their 20GB deal, they passed me a 3 months accounts to test. I gladly took it and this month is the 2nd month. Generally the line works for me if you trust me enough and quite honestly i think in some places the M1 infrastructure is better than Singtel and I used a third party app to measure the data speed which most of the time CL is faster than my SingTel. Perhaps they throttle my super old SingTel line to make me switch bah.

      I have also seen the three Telcos trying to react to the CL offer but what i saw was vain attempts to hoodwink rather than giving genuine offers. To me anything that comes with contracts is anti-consumer welfare. Tying oneself to the company only allows the company to take the customer for granted. Nothing beats the ability to uphold one’s consumer right by having the right to walk away if the telco decides to pull a fast one. That’s why when the 2GB data re-contract came I refused to sign Since then I didn’t regret because at least I have an ability to shift if the service is below par. Because of this will cancel my starhub service too because seriously the pay tv offerings are not worth the money.

      Sorry back to you…

      I can give you a suggestion. Use my code V3DCB to register for one number first and pay the discounted registration fee and test for a month. If everything works according to your expectation then you port over the number. If it doesn’t you only lose some money but no contract obligations. If you have a dual SIM phone that would be great for you to test the line easily and ensuring everything works before porting.

      To port just use their circles life app to help you do the porting then they will map the number that you already have with the old number you are using. I think that’s the best suggestion i can give to you for the time being.

      Would be glad to help if you have further questions.

      Like

    2. Thanks for the comment.

      Actually I would suggest spend $30 and using my code to try the service. The reason is simple your area of usage may have a much stronger SingTel connection than M1 that CL is using. If everything is okay, you can then port it over using their CL App (using the App gives you an additional 1GB). If it is not, then it is just $48 to learn about the service. Definitely much better than stringing yourself to a contract.

      Here’s the code: V3DCB to help you offset the registration fee.

      Like

  2. Hi Wilson, I have the same concern as Cocoshi but willing to give it a try as Singtel’s customer retaining program is getting worse these years.. I am considering to sign up the base plan of $28 plus $2 for unlimited incoming calls plan.. is your referral code applies to this plan as well?

    Thanks

    Like

    1. And I also agree, SingTel customer retention is nothing to shout about anyways. Even though they have a better SIM Only plan now about 53 dollars for 30GB, still need to sign 1 year plan with them. Seems like they always want people to sign contract. So what you got us for a year only to lose us after? The best way is to retain such customers by giving what they want, when they want it. They totally don’t get it.

      Like

      1. yes it’s a shame they dun realize the problem.. there is a reason why a loyal customer like me is leaving.. been more than 10 years with them😅

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I think they realise the problem. Just that they choose not to give the best value to their customer. Google “SingTel CEO charging WhatsApp usage”. This was way back in 2014 they keep thinking why they keep losing business and blame it on advancement of technology. But people change the way they use their tools.

        They still want to bundle so much phone time and SMS and still treat it as though this is what we customers want (not all definitely).

        So do comment here and let me know how’s the experience so far.

        Like

  3. Hi.

    Currently I’m a Singtel user and I was thinking of jumping over to CL and get the $20 for 20GB data and a new phone. But I keep hearing people mention about the hidden cost for the data. Can you help to clarify?

    Oh, and if you don’t mind, can I have the discount code for registration too if let’s say I decided to sign up after your explaination? Thanks in advance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shud,

      I used CL for 2 months now and a quick check didn’t reveal out of the norm as yet. There was, however, some issues with regards to the free WhatsApp unlimited data usage. Some people got burnt because they were charged with the WhatsApp usage.

      Anyway in Circles Life own words (their Terms and Conditions)

      “WhatsApp Data

      Unlimited WhatsApp Plus is provided free of charge as a Plus when you subscribe to a mobile plan with Circles.Life. This feature allows the user to send unlimited, free of charge, Text Messages, Video clips and Photos via WhatsApp. This option does not extend to WhatsApp Video Calls. Circles.Life reserves the right to modify the scope of WhatsApp features covered by Unlimited WhatsApp Plus anytime without prior notice to the user. Please note that Unlimited WhatsApp Plus is subject to our Fair Usage Policy (FUP).”

      TL;DR version – Data used is unlimited so long you are CL customer. Free Data DO NOT include WhatsApp Video conferencing and is subject to Fair Usage Policy. There is a disclaimer there to say video calling is not included in the Unlimited WhatsApp.

      You can take your time to read their Fair Usage Policy (https://pages.circles.life/terms/mobile/#X) but I would say for most of us would not be affected by it unless one uses extensively to the point of disrupting mobile services.

      To be fair, I didn’t hear anything about the hidden costs, if you can help me to read up on it perhaps I can help further.

      As for new phone, there are cheaper places to get rather than straight from Circles Life. Check with Kasia Mobile at Suntec or Mobile Square at Far East. Online outlets that will help with instalment includes Qoo10 and Lazada with obvious risks. My take is just pay with cash straight at the shops and get the immediate savings.

      Anyway here’s the code: V3DCB to help you offset the registration fee.

      Any further questions welcomed.

      Like

  4. Hi

    I chanced upon your CL review. I’m considering porting in from SingTel in future as my plan is near its end (actually wanted jump straight into CL when they first released, but was afraid of fine print).
    I would like to ask how is your progress with them? And is the code still effective?
    Any major problems or rewards, as compared to the other 3 telcos?
    Have been paying too much to Singtel for too little service. Have to say their signal/reception hasn’t given me problems for the past few years.

    Thanks!

    Like

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