Getting Note 8? Part 2: Contract/SIM Only / Circles.Life

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Things are starting to get interesting. After my piece about getting the Note 8 with a contract or not, there are some rather interesting questions, feedback, and comments.

Chief of which is about comparing Durian to Durian (SIM Only to Circles.Life). If you did read the piece, my main aim was to highlight between getting the phone with the contract and a non-contract plan, which conveniently I use SingTel because I am still with the Red Camp for more than a decade.

And I do have other suggestions that are to use a table to make it clearer.

So here I am putting in extra effort to make this clear. Again, my disclaimer in my last article still stays with the added point that I am happy to stand corrected if I am wrong.

Assumptions/Basis of Comparison

  • Phone and SMS are secondary in the scheme of things. Data is paramount. If Phone minutes and SMS is important in your line or job, then this comparison will not be very applicable. I will still put up the minutes and SMS anyway so know what not to pursue.
  • Wi-Fi. Unlimited or not it is not fair simply because Wi-Fi is not everywhere unlike a 4G connection. Using the Wi-Fi allotment to cover the fact is also putting one up in front of competition when the competition has no such arrangements as well. Durian to Durian remember?
  • The comparison will be data and cost centric. That means Data/Telecommunication and the phone payment costs will be calculated
  • Contract. This is important because it is the contract that attracts the discount and I will feature SIM Only contract and non-contract as the another factor for comparison. Again Durian to Durian. This case No Contract takes priority and contract duration 24 months to compare with Combo Plans.
  • There are two ways to do this. A monthly budget for contract+phone OR getting the phone with a minimum Data Plan. I choose the later as it is easier to understand. If you want to work with a monthly budget, you can do so at your own leisure and you are the only person to know what’s the minimum data you need in a month. So I decided the minimum Data requirement is 20GB per month for this person.
  • There is bound to have promotions. For example, there’s a 2GB for 6 months for a 10GB starter pack with SIM Only. I just use the lowest denominator for price comparison and hence won’t include them just to make it easier and they only last a while and hence inconsequential in the scheme of things.
  • I will choose the plan that we get me to 20GB per month without paying exhorbitant prices. Get as much value as possible from a plan without overpaying for things I don’t need. i.e. Between two plans and Data add-ons I have 28 GB and 30GB, I will choose the lower of the 2.

Let’s get to it.

Price Plan SingTel Combo 6 Contract (24mths)  SingTel SIM Only Contract (12mths) SingTel SIM Only Circles Life
Note 8 Price $298.00 $1398.004 $1398.004 $1398.00
Base Data/mth 6GB ($102.90) 5GB ($20.00) 3GB ($20.00)5 6GB ($28)1
Additional Data/mth 20GB ($128.40) 5GB+20GB ($26.75)6 20GB ($107.00) 20GB($20)
Total Data/mth 26GB 30GB 23GB 26GB
Phone Call/mth 700 150 07 100 min (free incoming add $2)
SMS/mth 1500 500 07 0 (free incoming)
Total Cost 24mths10 $5849.20 $2520.00 $4446.00 $2598.00
Contract? Yes Yes No No
Added Benefits 2GB Data8 2GB WiFi9 WhatsApp + Loyalty Data2


  1. 4GB + 1GB (Port Over) + 1GB (Using App)
  2. Circles Life add 500MB for every 6 months with them. WhatsApp access don’t count towards your data allocation (10K VoIP WhatsApp call and no video conference).
  3. I can use Combo 12 and have a lesser Data add on actually. But decided to use Combo 6 as per my last article so I can get as closely as possible to the mean Data amount for a more equal comparison between plans.
  4. SingTel send me an email to state the price as $1248 with a $150 discount with the SIM Only plan. I went to the Note 8 pre-order website and I have no link to the SIM Only plans with the price. I called Customer Care to enquire and they said the pre-order is only for Combo Plan and Easy Plan (verified through Website order). If I want the SIM Only plan with the Note 8 I have to buy it at retail price. So I reflect the price at $1398.00 instead since the information about the $150.00 discount is not public knowledge and not in the public domain.
  5. SIM Only website at says is 3GB +2GB WiFi. I will take 3GB as the basis.
  6. The FREE 20GB is for a year only I assume it will continue IF you re-contract.
  7. Using website, the 3GB No contract states free incoming call and SMS but do not have outgoing calls and SMS. They will be charged at 15 cents per call and 5 cents per SMS. Because of the assumption of Phone and SMS are secondary concerns, I decided not to add any Calls and SMS to it.
  8. The 2GB data will be given to you for the duration of the contract this in addition to the SingTel WiFi 2GB promotion that will last till end of the year.
  9. The No-Contract SIM Only plan will have their 2GB SingTel WiFi promotion only until the 31 Dec 2017.
  10. The total cost here did not include all other registration fees and expenditures (or collectively called ‘sign-up’ costs) and may or may not include GST. SingTel shows pre-GST and Circles.Life is with GST. If you want just add 7% to SingTel price so it will be $1398 + 24(46.75 x 1.07) = $2598.54. 

Some points I found out when I did my research work on the SIM Only plan.

  1. The 3GB No contract plan will only have the 2GB WiFi connection until the end of the year. So in the end, taking out the WiFi component is correct and is fairer for the consumer to compare.
  2. The information on the Internet website seems to be different from the Intranet version. For example, I saw on my web browser a $5.35 fee to add 200 minutes Call to the SIM Only Plan whereas the 1688 line gave me $10.70. It took me 45 minutes on the line to establish what is the real price.
  3. Continue with point 2. The website information for the SIM Only plan is convoluted and frustrating to read. The information seems to be housed in two separate websites, and


If I am using Data as the basis of my comparison (this is done without the knowledge and inclusion of M1 and StarHub’s Unlimited Deals which I have already covered in my other post), then the calculation is fairly simple. Using the base Data Allocation and then add the data to hit above 20GB which is in my books as good as unlimited for the common Joe and Jane.

As you can see, if you are not in contract with SingTel, you are basically going to pay the most money just because you want your freedom. Imagine a SIM Only 3GB plan to get to 20GB and Samsung Note 8 will cost you over $4000.00. Not to mention lower data as well!

If you really want to, then the best money without other considerations is to get the SIM Only Plan with SingTel is via contract. At least this is a better contract than the pre-historic Combo Plan SingTel wants you to sign and for good reason.

After more than a decade with SingTel why would I still want to leave the Red Camp?

Simply because staying with them I got no loyalty benefits at all except for birthday cake discount during my birth month (I still need to pay okay) and $80 to recontract (recontract to 2GB? Seriously?).

Yes over the course of 2 years I get to save a measly sum of $78 when in the same span of time (remember I did not add the GST figure yet), I would have added additional 2GB of data to my Circles.Life line. Need I highlight that I don’t have a contract hanging around my neck? How about WhatsApp usage being unlimited?

I think my freedom and a company that values customer loyalty more will have my money. Contracts? Seriously?

So I did make a point to compare Durian to Durian and SingTel, with no Contract costs a lot more than Circles.Life.

Time to up the game when it comes to customer retention Telcos.


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