For years, you might have felt trapped by lock-in contracts offered by SingTel, StarHub and M1. Rigid price structures and plans with lots of added stuff tacked on — such as SMSes, free talk time, caller ID, one-time activation fees — that you no longer really need.
The main ‘sweetener’ dangled in front of consumers was you could get the latest iPhone or Samsung smartphone at a hefty upfront “discount” — provided you signed a recontract, locking in you again for another 24 months. Obviously it wasn’t really a discount — the cost of the smartphone was just really spread out over monthly instalments.
Thanks to the entry of new players such as My Republic, Zero, Circles.Life, Zero.1 and TPG (coming soon), a myriad of flexible smartphone plans at attractive rates means consumers are now spoilt for choice.
From “no contracts” to “SIM only plans”, the mobile plan war is now in full swing. StarHub’s newly launched SIM-only plans with no hidden admin, activation or SIM card fees have only upped the ante.
So which SIM-only, no contract only plans are best in market right now? It all really depends how much data juice you need. Decide if you are a light, moderate or heavy data user and check our comparison price plans below:
For Light Data Users
*From 6 December 2018, first 10,000 customers will get free 10 GB every month on their new plans for a year.
**Subscribe to My Republic’s broadband services and get a bonus of 3 GB (total of 12 GB per month).
If 3 GB of data per month is not sufficient, upsize and pay $40/month to enjoy 10 GB of data. All M1 SIM only plans offer unlimited calls to 3 M1 numbers (you have to nominate 3 numbers). You can also take your data overseas with the M1 Data Passport from $10/mth.
All mySIM3 subscribers will enjoy promotional waiver of the first month’s registration for Caller ID. This service is chargeable at $5.35/mth from the second month onwards.
For $20 per month, Singtel offers you 3 GB of data for its base plan, plus you get a bonus of 3 GB every month. Do note that his plan does not come with any contract, talktime or sms services.
Say ‘hello’ to simplicity. StarHub is waiving all activation charges and contracts for their SIM Only plans. *From 6 December 2018, the first 10,000 customers will get free 10 GB every month on their new plans for a year.
A relatively newcomer to the scene, Circles.Life has upped the ante by introducing an unbeatable plan, which literally costs ‘zilch’. The ‘Flexi Plan’ offers 1 GB of data, 30 minutes of talktime, free caller ID and 10 sms per calendar month.
There is a one-time registration fee of $38 which gets you a SIM card (Mini SIM, Micro SIM and Nano SIM), delivered to your doorstep, on your desired day and time. You can also port your number from any other telco for free (check if there are any penalty fines before you do so) or simply get a new number instantly from Circles.Life.
If 1GB is not enough for you, download the Circles.Life app and purchase 1 GB for $8 or 2 GB for $12 and 30 minutes of talk time plus 10 SMS for $5. As a fully virtual telco, Circles.Life’s customer service is 100% online only and it has a reputation for being responsive on its online chat.
The SMART 35 plan is ideal for those who love to chat. 1,000 mins of talk time and 1000 SMS. If you subscribe to My Republic’s broadband services, enjoy a bonus of 3 GB (total of 12 GB per month). You can also opt for data boosters or add-ons to suit your needs.
Extended due to popular demand, Zero 1 is offering a promotion at $9.90/month instead of the usual $13.90/month. The ‘1 GB to Unlimited’ plan allows you to surf the first GB at a speed of 4G. Subsequently, it will be at a ‘managed’ network speed.
Registration fee is $10.70 and it comes sans contract. For an affordable $9.90 per month, no harm trying out Zero 1 to see if their ‘managed’ speed network suits your needs.
For moderate data users
Compare M1’s plan to StarHub’s, both priced at $50, and you can clearly see the winner. Provided you’re among the first 10,000 lucky ones to sign up, Starhub will give you 10 GB more every month (total 40 GB per month) for a year.
However, M1 allows you to get an overseas “Data Passport” from $10 per month, with roaming usage capped at 30 GB.
Singtel only offers one ‘no contract’ plan (see table 1) with a 3GB + 3 GB bundle, priced at $20. If you need more data with talktime and sms included, you can opt to upsize.
For moderate users of data, Circles.Life offers a base plan at $28 per month which include an extra 12 GB of data (only for December) if you use the promo code ‘12GBSPECIAL’. Incoming SMS is free and you can easily customise your plan via the Circles.Life app. Pay $6/GB or $10 for an extra 2 GB of data.
Even though My Republic’s 18 GB of data pales in comparison to what StarHub offers, you get a bonus of 8 GB (total of 26 GB per month) if you subscribe to its broadband services.
Zero 1’s ‘3 GB to Unlimited’ plan allows you to surf the first 3 GB at a speed of 4G but subsequently, it will be at a ‘managed’ network speed. As of now, for a limited time only, the registration, SIM card and delivery charges are waived.
For heavy data users
At $98, M1’s plan is the priciest. If offers 25 GB of data but this plan will suit those who need tonnes of talktime.
For StarHub, if you’re among the first 10,000 subscribers, you’ll be offered their “60 GB + 10 GB” plan for $80. Every month for a year. That’s a pretty sweet deal.
Upsize your base 6GB plan by paying $20 for 20 GB. If this isn’t enough data juice, pay an extra $3 per day to enjoy unlimited data. If 100 mins of talktime is not enough, purchase another 100 mins of talktime for just $4. Strike while the iron is hot, use the promo code ‘20GBFREEDEC’ to redeem free 20GB in December for first-time sign-ups (available for the Base Plan only).
Zero is another new telco and it offers only one plan at $59.95 for unlimited 4G data, talk time, incoming calls, free caller ID and sms.
As for My Republic, if you subscribe to its broadband services, you will get a bonus of 8 GB (total of 38 GB per month).
Zero 1’s ‘9 GB to Unlimited’ plan allows you to surf the first 9 GB at a speed of 4G but subsequently, it will be at a ‘managed’ network speed. As of now, for a limited time only, the registration, SIM card and delivery charges are waived.
With so many attractive plans to choose from now, the days of being locked into a contract are numbered. Take note of the day your 24 months contract ends. Mark it down in your calendar. Switch to a SIM-only plan that will help you save big time on your mobile phone bills. This writer certainly will and I can’t wait.
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By Zann Huang
A recipient of the Magnum Foundation Emergency Grant in 2014, my photos from the Middle East and Asia have also been published in Time Magazine and Le Monde etc. My written work ranges from travel, politics (Mid-East) to the environment and finance-related matters.