Telco “Wars”: SingTel Unlimited Data Plan Pwned Other Telcos?

This is the continuation of the Telco Wars Series the first salvo being shot by M1/StarHub. And now SingTel has joined the fray. To keep this short you could read my disclaimers here and also have a read about the other so called “unlimited” plans here.

With this stroke of a brush, SingTel is effectively telling us that M1/StarHub/Circles.Life’s limited data are now a dead duck (not even lame duck). Or is it?

TL;DR version: If you can’t even use up Circles.Life 24GB in a month at $48.00, paying anything more would just be throwing money at the Telcos.

I got this from Channelnews Asia and you can see from SingTel’s own website:

Obviously, when you see the word “Combo” it is SingTel’s archaic mobile plans to help you get a phone. That means this is definitely aimed at those people who wants to get the latest iPhone 8/X phone in the coming weeks but find iPhone to be overpriced and need some financial assistance. Kudos to SingTel, they actually lowered the price from the Note 8 bundle for the Combo 6 but up the price for Combo 3. All in still insignificant at around 7 dollars cheaper per month for Combo 6 and increase $6 for Combo 3.

As I have shown in my previous posts, going contract will lessen your upfront pain but definitely you will pay much much more in the end, even to the point of saving enough to get a mid-tier smartphone. You can use the Samsung Note 8 article as an example.

The main thing is not about iPhone X (basically old tech dressed up as new, so what’s new? Face ID and ‘simulated’ portrait lighting only) but how this new plan pans out in the scheme of things.

As you look at the table, so long you pay the $39.90 for unlimited data, what’s left are the difference in price and the base data which will become inconsequential once you opt for Data X Infinity. Like my previous articles too, I won’t dwell on Minutes and SMSes simply because I am writing for people who are not relying a lot on Call minutes and SMSes for their work and play but essentially need a lot of data.

Just saying: “Unlimited” Calls and SMS is limited to 10000 minutes and 10000 SMSes. So it is NOT unlimited.

All my arguments hinge on the amount of data one needs. And I will be using Circles.Life 20GB (add on) + 4GB (base data) as the comparison. So in effect, 20GB is the magic number when it comes to the word ‘unlimited’.

The Definition of ‘Unlimited’ (in this article): The amount of data that you have in your plan that will not cause you to worry about data usage based on your own usage pattern.

Example: No matter how much I use my phone for in a combination of Office Wi-Fi, Home Wi-Fi and my own Mobile Data Wi-Fi, I can’t use up my 12GB data allocation. So in that sense, 12GB is the upper limit that I can’t breach and effectively saying my 12GB data is “Unlimited” to me.

In life there’s no such thing as Unlimited. All the Telcos here have their Fair Usage Policies. In SingTel’s case this is their condition in their PDF Terms and Conditions

“…, fair usage policy of 50GB above the plan allocated data bundle is applicable on DATA X INFINITY. (Example: Combo 12 customers will enjoy 12GB + 50 GB). When the monthly usage exceeds 50GB (over & above plan allocated data bundle), data speeds will be set at 1Mbps. Normal speed will resume 00:00 hours on your next billing cycle.”

That means if you use up 50GB within the 1st week of the new billing cycle, you are going to have 1Mbps speed for the rest of the month. Effectively saying your “Unlimited” plan = plan data + 50GB in a month.

If I use my analysis of the previous articles, you can save around $700 in two years going with Non-Contract and Circles.Life and then add another $39.90 x 24 = $957.60, it is a lot of money just to get another 20-30GB of data per month with a new phone.

So here’s the bottom line: If you can’t even use up 24GB in a month paying just $48.00 per month with Circles.Life, then why do you even need to add another $40 to the SingTel bill for something you can’t use up anyway?

To save some money, time to use your phone data tracker. Have a good gauge of the amount of data you use by taking in at least 3 months and average them out. From there add 50% to set your minimum data. My average is around 6GB in a month so my minimum is 9GB. Thus having 12GB for me is more than enough for my needs so long I don’t “Hotspot Me Bro” everyone and my laptop. So my “Unlimited” Data amount = 12GB.

Once I understand my usage pattern and determine my own upper limit when it comes to Data use, I won’t be hoodwinked to contract myself to a data amount that is not necessary for me.

That’s why I didn’t get the 20GB at $20 whereas my wife uses 10GB decided to get it just to be on the safe side as her upper limit is 15GB. However, if there are any changes to my needs in the future, I can just as easily change it using the Circles.Care app. Try doing that with any contract plan out there.

How to know your data? The easiest way is to take out all your old bills and take note of the data being used. MySingtel App has such function.

To know current data usage you can use your mobile phone. For Android User (using Huawei Mate 9 menu as example)

  1. Go Settings
  2. Go Mobile Data
  3. Click on the cog wheel
  4. Set your current total monthly data available and also billing cycle.

For iPhone User here are the steps.

At the end of it all, the Unlimited story are all the same. The word “Unlimited” is used to make you feel you are getting a good deal when in fact, you are buying things you do not need and waste money when it can be saved for the next new phone in 21 months time and get out of this nonsense contract scheme totally.

And one more thing…Family plan or SingTel MobileShare Supplementary plan. With so much data you thought you could save for the family. But here’s my calculation for a family of 4 on monthly basis.

Circles.Life with no port over lines = $48.00 x 4 @ 24GB x 4 = $192.00 @ 96GB / 104GB

SingTel with no port over lines:

Combo 3 = $68.90 + $39.90 + $10.70 x 3 @ 3GB + 50GB + 0.5 x 3 = $140.90 @ 54.5GB
Combo 6 = $95.90 + $39.90 + $32.10 @ 6GB + 50GB + 1.5GB = $167.90 @ 57.5GB
Combo 12 = $239.90 + $39.90 + $32.10 @ 12 + 50GB +1.5GB = $311.90 @ 63.5GB

Conclusion: If you feel that sharing the ‘Unlimited’ plan for your family is worth it. Think again. You still have to pay SingTel $10.70 per month for the privilege and yet get lesser data per person (about half) than a straight 4 lines with Circles.Life.

What’s more don’t forget you get 1GB per year with every year with Circles.Life that would mean you can deactivate the 20GB in the future if your data needs are lower than the free Data given to you through promotion, loyalty points and referral.

And yes…you can use my code “BOOSTER” to get 50% discount on the registration fee for the first family member then subsequently use YOUR OWN code to get the registration fee discount and ADD free additional 200MB for yourself and 2 family members (sorry ah the last member don’t have anyone to use the code with).

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