Following my last post about getting a mobile plan, there are feedback on making the information more digest friendly. There is even a suggestion to do an infographic. So I took the time to do a simple infographic that you are free to share out.
Step 1: Determine the amount of data you use per month.
This is to get an idea how you use your smartphone as different people in different occupation in different locations use their data differently. Some places such as offices allow the use of office wi-fi for personal use for example.
To know how much data you use, you can use your telco bill as a reference. They will highlight the amount of data you use for the preceding month and bill you as such.
You can also use an app to monitor your data use although it is not as accurate.
To make it as accurately as possible, take the average of your data usage over the preceding 24 months. That way you get a good idea how much data you need.
Step 2: Forget Promotions
The main thing about promotions is that they are there to entice you be it using more data or giving you a discount off their normal service prices or free registration. I would suggest not to take them into account unless the promotion is to last for 24 months or more.
During my research, Grid Mobile states they are giving 20GB on top of their 20GB entitlement. The promotion is valid till further notice. So I assume it is for 20GB, because I do not know when that 20GB will stop as it can be as long as 2 years or more OR as short as a few months.
For Starhub, they have a $50 5GB+10GB promotion for their 2 year plan. When I enquired about it, they state that the 10GB will last for the duration of the plan. So I take the $50 as cost for 15GB.
My general rule is to assume promotions not applied and check back later when you have shortlisted your providers.
Step 3: Finding Data with Lowest Price
Using the information you get from Step 1. Find plans that can meet your data requirements. If you are using say 8GB on average per month, then find plans that is slightly above your average. In this case, 10GB.
Why find the lowest? Isn’t it more prudent to have more data? Of course, it is always better to have more data for emergency cases. In my case, there was one month where I have to rely on my mobile phone to tether with my laptop and that caused me to use 18GB for that month just because I cannot find a Wi-Fi connection at the place of meeting my client.
But for the vast majority of the users here, most will not use that much data. No point having a lot of data but you don’t use it and it is just a waste of money. Even a $20 per month savings over 2 years will give you $480 to use for your next holiday in Bangkok.
Step 4: Find Out the Real Retail Cost of Your Phone
A lot of people do not know but there are good reputable mobile phone shops that sell cheaper than the recommended retail price. Only the very latest phone will not have that much discount. If you are not into the latest phones, buying the second latest phone is more than enough for a lot of people.
For example, the recommended retail price for the Samsung S10 is $1798 for the 512GB variant. Because the Note 10 is already available, making the S10 an ‘older’ model, shops are selling the S10 512GB version at $1020 which is a $778 savings!
You can check prices using these sites:
Do note that the shops above most likely will deal with cash and at most credit cards with added some percentage (mostly 3%) to cover the commission cost to the credit card companies. Yes it is the same when buying computer parts from Sim Lim Square.
My method is to pay by credit card and then call up my credit card company to pay by instalment over 12/24/36 months and pay an admin fee of 30-40 dollars. So yes you are right, those no-interest instalment plans do have fees just that you don’t see it as individual accounting items in your receipt. All are hidden in the selling price :D. You’re Welcome!
Just remember to add the admin and commission fees to the cost of buying the phone using the card.
Step 5: Compare Plans
So now you know the cost of your plans and the phone and now is to do some comparisons
Here’s how I do it
- Add up the monthly mobile service cost and the cost of buying the phone divide by the number of months paying towards the phone. Usually 24 months.
- Take a mobile phone plan from the telco that matches your data requirements and the phone that you want to buy. Do remember to add the upfront cost as well by dividing the upfront cost by 24 months too and add to the monthly payment.
- After you compared THEN you include the promotions, taking care that the promotions will last for as long as the mobile phone plan (i.e. 24 months). Anything less I treat it as non-existent.
- As an additional step, look through their customer loyalty program. Usually, these extra perks are worth the while to pay a bit higher for the mobile plans. Grid Mobile allows me to have bill discounts after I hit a certain amount of points from referral or for just staying with them. Grid also gives me the extra 20GB although it didn’t say how long it will last, it still gives me 20GB per month which is more than enough for me (15GB).
- Also remember to use Referral Codes so you can get a bit more discount or more loyalty points. Do ask friends and family. If you don’t mind you can use “WILZGRID” (Grid Mobile) or “BOOSTER” (Circles Life)
About Wilson Wong
Founder of the 10500+ members Singapore Photography Interest Network photography group, avid gadget lover and budget wanderluster. He also writes for Techgoondu.com a tech website for the non-techies about the latest trends in personal tech. His wish is to help people get the right stuff and enjoy life without cutting off limbs to do so.