Galaxy Note 8 with Contract or with Circles.Life?

The long awaited Note 8 is now here and the recommended retail price of S$1398 is certainly a tough price to swallow and I can immediately guess that a lot of people would go on to say “Better go via contract so it will be cheaper.” Actually I heard it during my commute to town.

Really? Will it really be that cheaper?

Before I start, I’d better make my position clear and some disclaimers:

  • I am a reviewer for a website called (TG). TG has always being proud to be non-partisan. We try to give as neutral view as possible when it comes to reviews. I won’t say I am 100% unbiased because I am still human after all and have my own views on certain things and those perspectives will be likely to influence what I wrote here. Then again I try really hard to be neutral and only through neutrality can I really help people in making purchasing decisions.
  • I will be comparing the calculations on the basis of single line contracts as most people will have. I agree there will be corporate plans and family plans that will give you a better discount/benefits than most people out there. Then again, you must understand, such multi-line plans usually will benefit only the main account holder ONLY and if want to have a clearer picture, perhaps do a calculation for the whole family.
  • I am now part of the Circles.Life Inner Circle. It is a CL community to gather views and gain feedback and ideas. And NO…I am NOT a paid ambassador. I am also a consumer like you guys.

If you are okay with the above and interested in what I have to share, then lets get to it.

Here are the SingTel Plans:

Combo Plans Galaxy Note8 (64GB)
Combo 1 ($27.90/month)
100MB Local Data, 100 Mins + 500 SMS
Combo 2 ($42.90/month)
2GB Local Data, 200 Mins + 1000 SMS
Combo 3 ($62.90/month)
3GB Local Data, 300 Mins + 1200 SMS
Combo 4 ($82.90/month)
4GB Local Data, 400 Mins + 1300 SMS
Combo 6 ($102.90/month)
6GB Local Data, 700 Mins + 1500 SMS
Combo 12 ($239.90/month)
12GB Local Data, Unlimited Mins + Unlimited SMS

I am going to use the base data plan that is highlighted with Circles.Life website and compare from there. That means

  • 6GB (4GB base + 2GB for porting in)
  • 100 min of talk time
  • Caller ID (Incoming call is not free. Add $2 for the service)
  • Unlimited WhatsApp (10K minutes WhatsApp voice calling and NO video calls)
  • SMS is free incoming and 5 cents per SMS sent.
  • Total costs will be $28+$2 (free incoming call) = $30 per month
  • Retail price of Samsung Note 8 = S$1398.00

The contract I will hence be comparing with will be the Combo 6 (if you are not porting in and want to compare then use Combo 4 instead). I will not add 2GB WiFi to the mix because is not fair.

  • 6GB Data
  • 700 min of talk time
  • Caller ID (add $5.35 + Setup cost of $10.70. I will not add the setup cost to the mix)
  • 1500 SMS
  • Total costs will be $108.25 per month
  • Contract price of Samsung Note 8 = $298.00

I will be using 24 months as a basis of calculation

Circles Life Non-Contract calculation (Phone payment to credit card company)

  • Cost of phone per month: S$1398.00/24 =  $58.25
  • Cost of Telco line per month= $30.00
  • Total cost per month = $58.25+$30.00 = $88.25

SingTel Contract Calculation 

  • Cost of phone = $298.00/24 = $12.50 (to nearest cent)
  • Cost of Telco line per month = $108.25
  • Total cost per month = $12.50 + 108.25 = $120.75

The cost per month difference = $32.50 or $780.00 MORE for the whole contract duration

Ladies and gentlemen, you are officially paying SingTel to tie you for at least 21 months and on top of that, pay them extra $682.50 (21 months) or $780.00 (24 months) to lock you down. Money that can help you buy a new phone!

So is the contract giving you the best deal? How come SingTel don’t have bulk discounts since they are certainly buying a lot of units from Samsung?

And don’t forget

  • Staying with Circles.Life for a year will give you 1GB added to you (500MB after every 6 months)
  • Recommending friend will also give you 200MB per successful referral (and they have discounts on the registration fee signing up).

Seriously please go make your own calculation about this.

Since you are going to pay the bill on the monthly basis, be it to Telco or Credit Card company, you will still have to pay no matter what so might as well maximise your credit card benefits for such purchases, and earn points and miles for doing so.

Give the money to the Telcos is just a black hole with little or no customer loyalty program to speak of. Discount for birthday cake on my birthday month? $80 dollars discount for re-contracting with them? No thanks.

Wait there is also the SIM Only plan from SingTel! Here’s my comparison article.

Further tip. If you want to try Circles.Life first before committing (wise decision making there), after all it is just $28 and it is non-contractual, you can get discount on the registration using my code “Booster“. I am okay to lose the 200MB if you decide not to continue with Circles.Life because you may find the signal weak in your area so it is good to try. And remember, if you are already in CL, please use your own code for your own friends and family members.

Additional Notes (1): 

As you can see, I did not take into account the number of minutes and SMS into the equation. The reason is simple: How many of you actually use up your 100 minutes contract phone and SMS with your current telco?

For the sake of fairness let’s do a simple math again, aiming for 700 mins and 1500 SMS added to Circles Life plan to match with SingTel’s Combo 6 plan.

  • 600 min of Talk time = $4 (per 100 min) x 6 = $24
  • 1500 SMS (assuming 50% in-coming SMS and 50% out-going SMS) = 750 x 0 (free) + 750 SMS [(8 x 100 SMS) x 4]   = $32.00
  • Total cost of CL plan is $24 +$32.00+ $30 = $86.00
  • Grand Total Cost of CL Plan = $86.00+$58.25 = $144.25
  • Hence the difference if we are to match Circles.Life to SingTel’s Combo 6 = $23.50 savings if we are on SingTel ($564 for 2 years).

The conclusion to Additional Notes (1):

You will no doubt be in a better position if you do use up all the 1500 SMS and 700 minutes that SingTel gives you as you will pay $23.50 lesser than Circles.Life bearing in mind you have to use ALL that is being allocated to you to make it justifiable.

However with WhatsApp VoIP call being used most of the time on top of WhatsApp messaging and sometimes people use Facebook Messenger to call me, having 100min of talk time is more than enough for me. The best part? I can add 100min on the fly if I need it. Can you do that with SingTel?

In the end, if you don’t use up all your allocated Calls and SMSes, you are basically subsidising SingTel for maintaining the Phone and SMS services since you are not using them. I think I can better use my money elsewhere.

Additional Notes (2):

This is from another Perspective. Getting the common plan from SingTel (Combo 2) and add in the cost from there.

  • 2GB Data + 2GB add on via Data More = $17.12
  • 200 min
  • 1000 SMS
  • Caller ID = $5.35
  • Phone Cost = $998.00 or  $41.60 per month for 2 years.
  • Total Cost = $42.90+$17.12+41.60+$5.35 = $106.97 per month

Circles Life Calculation as above plus 100min and 900 SMS to even the playing field.

  • 1000 SMS (50% free incoming + 50% outgoing) = 500 SMS x 0 + 5 x $4 (per 100 SMS) = $20
  • 100 min = $4
  • Total CL cost = $30+$20+4 =$54.00
  • Phone Cost = $1398 / 24 = $58.25
  • Grant Total Cost = $112.25

The difference if we are to add 2GB to SingTel and 100min talk time and 900 SMS to CL = 112.25 – 106.97 = $5.28 or $126.72 for 2 years.

The conclusion to Additional Notes (2): The conclusion here is the same as my additional notes 1. Unless you use up ALL the allocated calling minutes and SMS, then it is worthwhile to stick with SingTel contract.

Besides, is your 2 year contract worth that $126.72 of savings? Really? And again, does saving you $126.72 give you a better customer loyalty program with the potential to earn more Data as you stick around with CL?

Adding the Call minutes and the SMSes just don’t add value to the common consumers for the current market situation. These allocations happen because of the legacy contracts since the start of mobile phone services way back when I was serving National Service in the early 1990s.

Unless you do have a lot of need to talk on the phone and rely on SMSes to talk to colleagues and friends (seriously? in the age of WhatsApp chat groups?) AND is able to use at least 90% of those allocations, then sticking with Phone call and SMSes plan is the right way to go.

Additional Notes (3): 

I got a call from a representative of SingTel stating that my calculations did not include SingTel’s SIM Only plans that actually make it cheaper than Circles.Life. Of course I will give them the benefit of the doubt and I look through their argument. There are some things not said or not highlighted but just to be fair, I have written an additional piece to append to this post. You can read it here: Link.

Otherwise: Change to a more data centric plan.

More read that may interest you:

  • Comparing SingTel’s other plans with Circles.Life with the Samsung Note 8. Link.
  • Want to know my hands-on experience with the Note 8? Follow this link.
  • SingTel SIM Only Plan…really that good meh? Link.
  • Circles Life so good meh (Warning: long read)? Link.
  • Circles Life got Loopholes. Link.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.