Break free from lock-in contracts with the best SIM-only plans in the market.
The SIM-only, mobile plan war is now in full swing.
Gone are the days when fixed mobile plan contracts by Singtel, StarHub, and M1 locked you in for a period of 12- to 24-months with no way out except by paying a hefty early termination penalty.
How did they attract you to sign up with them? The main tactic was to dangle the latest smartphone at an attractive upfront ‘discount’– provided you re-contract with them, locking you in again for another 12-24 months.
Obviously, it wasn’t really a discount – the cost of the smartphone was really just spread out over monthly instalments.
Last updated on 23 March 2021. SIM-only mobile plans and promotions are subject to change without prior notice.
Entry of new players flood the market
The three latest mobile virtual network operators (MNVOs) to join the battle are redONE (through StarHub’s mobile network), ViViFi (SingTel’s mobile network) and Grid Mobile (a new joint venture between SingTel and ST Telemedia),
Add these three to the ranks of My Republic, Circles.Life, Zero1 and TPG, and suddenly, a myriad of flexible smartphone plans at attractive rates are now available, with no lock-in contracts. These are commonly referred to as SIM-only contracts.
This means consumers are now spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the most affordable and cost-efficient mobile plans for their needs.
This has forced the traditional incumbents — StarHub, M1 and Singtel — to also up their game, and in the first half of 2019, all three have launched their own version of SIM-only plans to try and regain market share.
The other major game disruption in the mobile telco wars is the emphasis now on data — SMS is a thing of the past, so are calls made over land lines. All you need is a stable wifi or data connection and you can talk long-distance, message and even do video calls, for free, through chat apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, WeChat… and the list goes on. Add to this the ubiquity of streaming services like Spotify, Netflix and YouTube, as well as online gaming, and you’ll understand why data is now so critical to your mobile plan.
So which SIM-only, no contract mobile plans are best in the market right now? It depends on how much data juice you need. Decide if you are a light, moderate, or heavy data user and check our comparison price plans below. (Check this page regularly as telcos are quick to change their price plans to match the competition).
What is a SIM-only plan?
A SIM only plan offers a package of data, talk time, and SMSes at a fixed monthly cost. SIM only plans are postpaid plans, and function much like traditional mobile phone contracts. The main (and most important) difference, however, is that you are not locked into a minimum contract period, and you are free to switch telcos or mobile plans as and when you wish with no penalty.
Which is the best SIM-only plan?
The best SIM only plan really depends on how much data you need. Check your previous telco bills or the data tracking app on your handset to see how much data you use on average each month. Also keep in mind how much talk time and SMS you use monthly before picking the most suitable SIM only plan for your needs.
Which is the cheapest mobile plan?
It’s hard to beat Circles.Life’s $5/month Plan if you’re looking at the absolute cheapest. The $5/month plan offers 2GB of data, 50min talk time (incoming and outgoing, and free caller ID), and 25 SMS. The catch is that if you exceed 2GB data a month, you’ll need to top up your data plan, starting at $8 for an additional 1GB of data or $12 for 2GB of data.
Help yourself to better financial shape in the new norm, with SingSaver’s all-new Ultimate Savings Guide! Got your free copy yet?
Is a SIM-only plan better than a fixed contract?
Not necessarily. The main advantage of a SIM-only plan is that you are not locked into any telco for a minimum contract period. However, SIM-only plans come with, well, the SIM card only. So if you need a new handset, telcos like StarHub offer attractive discounts for 12- and 24-month contract plans. Research handset prices before you commit to either SIM only or contract plans.
How much data do you need?
According to a 2018 study by Info-comm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Singapore residents consumed an average of 2.7GB a month — up nearly 23 per cent from 2.2GB a month the previous year. Of course, if you spend a lot of time on your phone to play mobile games, stream a lot of music on Spotify or movies via Netflix, or have a lot of real-time video chats, your data consumption is going to shoot up.
The best gauge is to check your recent telco bills on the amount of data juice you use on average per month. To save on data, you can also log on to Wifi networks wherever possible or download the music or video content on Wifi and then consume it offline.
What is a MVNO?
Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) ‘rent’ bandwidth and access to network services on the infrastructure lines and network from incumbents SingTel, M1 and StarHub at bulk wholesale rates. It then sets retail prices and packages accordingly, taking into account download speeds as well as network coverage.
What is ‘managed network speed’?
When a mobile plan promises ‘unlimited data’, check the fine print. It will usually say something like, ‘first 3GB of data at 4G speed, managed network speeds thereafter’ which basically translates to ‘your internet surfing based on the first 3GB of data will be fast but after that, expect both your network coverage and download speeds to become more spotty and slow down.’
Get the best SIM-Only plan through SingSaver
Don’t want to be tied down by a traditional telco plan? Get yourself a SIM-Only plan that gives you what you need with options to customise by using our simple-to-use comparison tool below.
Best SIM-Only plan for light data users: RedOne
|RedOne||3GB (can be used in M’sia too)||$8||300 mins||10|
|VIVIFI Lite||3GB||$8.80||500 mins||20|
|Zero1||6GB to Unlimited data||$9.90 (U.P $13.90)||200 mins, free caller ID||200|
|VIVIFI Plus||6GB||$9.98||350 mins||100|
|TPG||50GB + 1GB roaming data (selected countries)||$10||300 mins||30|
|MyRepublic||6GB + Boundless data (slower speed after)||$10 (limited time only)||300 mins||300|
|China Mobile||5GB||$10||100 mins (local) + 100 mins (selected countries)||100|
|VIVIFI Plus||10GB||$14.98||350 mins||100|
|RedOne||10GB (can be used in Malaysia too)||$18||500 mins||20|
Special mention: TPG’s $10 XL data plan
TPG, an Australian telco has since fully launch in Singapore with its 50GB plan that costs just $10. Part of this package also includes 1GB of international data roaming at 1Mbps for India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. If you go beyond 1GB, excess international roaming charges are billed at an affordable $3 per 1GB.
Launched in May 2019, redONE’s basic no-frills plan comes in at $8. For that price, you get 3GB, 100 minutes of talk time and 10 SMSes — ideal if you don’t consume a lot of data.
The big plus point of this MVNO is that users have free data roaming in Malaysia and no additional charges for calling and texting Malaysian numbers, making it ideal for those who live, work or visit Malaysia often.
For a limited time only, pay for your RedOne bill via Giro and get an additional 100 minutes of talk time for free. More details can be found here.
Awkward sounding name aside, VIVIFI is the latest MNVO launched in July 2019, using Singtel’s mobile network infrastructure.
For extremely light users there’s the VIVIFI Lite Plan, which is affordably priced at $8.80 and comes with 3GB data, 500 minutes talk time and 20 SMS.
If you’re looking for something that gives you a little more data, VIVIFI has just launched the VIVIFI Plus (6GB) and VIVIFI Plus (10GB). Both plans are bundled with 350 minutes talk time and 100 SMS, caller ID and unlimited incoming calls.
Zero1’s 6GB to Unlimited plan allows you to surf the first 6GB at a speed of 4G. Subsequently, it will be at a ‘managed’ network speed. As of now, the registration, SIM card and delivery charges are waived for new subscribers. Due to popular demand, Zero1 has extended its promotion for this plan. Pay only $9.90/month for the first 6 months instead of $13.90/month for this plan — that’s a good $4/month in savings!
MyRepublic’s Lite Plan offers 6GB + boundless data for $10 per month. It comes with 300 talk minutes and 300 SMSes. However, be prepared for slower connection speeds after exceeding 6GB usage. You can also opt for data boosters or add-ons to suit your needs.
Recently launched earlier this year, China Mobile’s $10/month SIM-only plan gives you 5GB data, 100 minutes of local talk time, 100 minutes overseas talk time (mainland China and Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and USA), 100 local SMS, free incoming calls and free caller ID. With 100 minutes of overseas talk time bundled with this plan, you won’t have to pay extra to connect with your loved ones who do not have data overseas.
For $20/month, Singtel offers you 3GB of data for its base plan. Do note that his plan does not come with any contract, talk time, or SMS so it’s a pretty bare bones offer.
Skip the queue and sign-up online to get the best 30GB deal for just $25 a month. Just note that while this plan is bundled with 1,000 minutes of talk time and free incoming calls, it doesn’t come with any SMSes.
For a limited time, get a $5 monthly bill rebate on this plan with promo code 6OFF. But that’s not all. You’ll also get an additional 10GB of data, unlimited talk time for the first 12 months and free registration*.
And those who commit to this plan for a year, get double the data! This means, 60GB of data, 1,000 minutes of talk time and free incoming calls at $20 a month* for an entire year.
*Offer is valid for new StarHub users only.
Best SIM-only plan for moderate data users: Circles.Life
|Grid Mobile||20GB||$17.90||120 mins, free caller ID||50|
|Circles.Life||20GB||$18||100 mins, free caller ID||25|
|Singtel GOMO||20GB||$20||200 mins||200|
|Grid Mobile||40GB||$24.90||200 mins, free caller ID||200|
|Zero1||30GB to Unlimited Data||$24.90||450 mins, free caller ID||450|
|StarHub giga||45GB (can be rolled over to next month)||$25||1,000 mins||1,000|
|M1||30GB + 10GB (first 12 months)||$25 ($20 for first 12 months)||1,000 mins, free caller ID for first 3 months, free calls to 3 M1 numbers||1,000|
|RedOne||20GB (can be used in Malaysia too)||$28||700 mins||30|
|MyRepublic^||50GB + Unlimited Data||$20 (limited time only)||500 mins||500|
|China Mobile||20GB||$20||300 mins (local) + 300 mins (selected countries)||300|
|VIVIFI Share||40GB (can be shared at $5.35/mth)||$29.90||300 mins||100|
|RedOne||50GB (can be used in Malaysia too)||$38||1,000 mins||50|
^Subscribe to MyRepublic’s broadband services and get a bonus of 3GB (making it a total of 43GB per month).
A joint venture between SingTel and ST Telemedia, Grid Mobile offers two affordable mobile plans.
- For lighter users: Priced at $17.90/month, this plan gives you 20GB of data, 120 mins of talk time, 50 SMS, free caller ID and incoming calls.
- For heavier users: Priced at $24.90/month, this plan gives you 40GB of data, 200 mins of talk time, 200 SMS, free caller ID and incoming calls. In addition, this plan also comes with 1GB worth of roaming data in Malaysia per month.
For moderate users of data which includes most of us, the best value-for-money plan is Circles.Life, which goes for $18/month for 20GB. The best part is that you can easily and instantly customise your plan via the Circles.Life app.
For this segment, the toss-up was between M1 and Circles Life. While M1 offers an extra 20GB for an extra $2 per month (provided you sign a 12-month contract with M1), we think that for most average users, Circles.Life’s 20GB is more than enough data.
Singtel’s GOMO package (stands for Go Out More Often) offers an affordable package of $20/month for 20GB.
It is slightly more expensive than Circles.Life, but you get more data, and an additional 100 mins of talk time and 175 SMSes at only $2 more per month. So if you make a lot of calls to landlines or fixed lines and still prefer to SMS, then Singtel’s GOMO package might be for you.
Zero1’s 30u mobile plan, which costs $24.90, allows you to surf the first 30GB at the higher 4G speed. Although it is an Unlimited Data Plan, be prepared for slower, ‘managed’ network speeds after the first 30GB. As of now, the registration, SIM card and delivery charges are waived for new subscribers.
StarHub launched its Giga plan in response to Singtel’s GOMO and M1 offerings. For $25 per month, it offers a sizeable 45GB of data and 1,000 minutes talk time and 1,000 SMS. If you are looking for something cheaper, there’s another plan that offers 6GB of data, 100 minutes of talk time and 100 SMS for just $10 a month.
What’s different about this plan is that any unused data can be rolled over to the following month, which makes this an attractive plan for those who have irregular usage of data every month.
M1’s latest SIM-only, no contract offering offers a 30GB of data for $25. However, you get an additional 10GB and $5 off per month if you take up a 12-month contract with the telco.
While it may not be the cheapest at this tier — Circles.Life’s $18 for 20GB is tops in that respect — M1’s plan comes with free unlimited calls to 3 x M1 phone numbers, 1,000 mins free talk time and 1,000 SMS.
Besides its basic no-frills plan, redONE also offers a 20GB plan for $28 (includes 700 minute talk time and 30 SMSes) and a 50GB plan for $38 (includes 1,000 minute talk time and 50 SMSes).
The big plus point of this MVNO is that users have free data roaming in Malaysia and no additional charges for calling and texting Malaysian numbers, making it ideal for those who live or work in Malaysia.
redONE uses StarHub’s mobile network infrastructure to deliver their services. Users have free data roaming in Malaysia, free unlimited calls to redONE users including those in Malaysia and no additional charges for calling and texting Malaysian numbers.
MyRepublic’s new 50GB data plan is competitively priced at $17/month as a promotional price (usual price $20/month), making it one of the most value-for-money plan for moderate data users.
If you go beyond 50GB a month, you can still remain connected with family and friends thanks to their boundless data. However, just be prepared for slower network speeds.
For $20/month, a plan with China Mobile gives you 20GB of data, 300 minutes of local talk time, 300 minutes overseas talk time (mainland China and Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and USA), 300 local SMS, free incoming calls and free caller ID. So if you’ve got business or family residing in those countries, this is definitely the mobile plan to get.
Sign-up for this 20GB China Mobile plan before 31 March 2021 to enjoy an additional 20GB for the first 6 months and a free Hai Di lao self-heating hotpot. That’s a generous 40GB for the first 6 months!
Awkward sounding name aside, VIVIFI is the latest MNVO to launch in July 2019, using Singtel’s mobile network infrastructure.
Its innovative $29.90 mobile plan (40GB, 300 minutes of talk time and 100 SMSes) can be shared with up to nine users at a cost of $5.35 per additional user, per month.
For the first year of use, each additional user gets an extra 2GB to themselves per month. Free caller ID, free incoming calls and SMSes and no registration fees apply to all additional users too.
Users can also top up their plan beyond the 40GB at these rates:
- Tier 1: Less than 6GB ($10)
- Tier 2: Less than 18GB ($20)
- Tier 3: Less than 30GB ($30)
- For every 1GB above 30GB, $4.50
This plan is ideal for families with young children or elderly folk who don’t use up much data.
Cheapest SIM-only plan for heavy data users: Circles.Life
|Circles.Life||Unlimited||$18 (base plan) + $20||100||25|
|M1||80GB + 10GB (first 12 months)||$35||1,100 mins, free caller ID for first 3 months, free calls to 3 M1 numbers||1,000|
|Circles.Life||100GB at 4G (rollover of unused data)||$38 (for the 1st year, valid for new users who keep their number)||100||25|
|MyRepublic^||Unlimited data (4GB/day at 4G, managed speeds thereafter)||$39 (limited time only)||1,000 mins||1,000|
|China Mobile||100GB||$40||300 mins (local) + 300 mins (selected countries)||300|
|StarHub giga||75GB (can be rolled over to next month)||$45||10,000 mins||10,000|
^Subscribe to MyRepublic’s broadband services and get a bonus of 8GB (making it a total of 38GB per month).
Upsize your base plan by paying an additional $20/month for Unlimited data, with the first month free. If you combine it with their current promotional rate of $18/month for your base plan, that means an amazing bargain price of $38/month for Unlimited data!
Circles.Life has also introduced a new plan which offers 100GB at 4G speeds, 100 minutes talk time and 25 SMS for the same price. However, you’ve got to be a new user to enjoy this promotion and the prices goes back to $48/month after the first year. Not to mention, this plan also allows you to roll over up to 300GB of high speed 4G data that you have leftover each month.
With so many SIM-only mobile plans to choose from now, the days of being locked into a contract is now a thing of the past. When choosing a SIM-only plan, consider how much data, talk time and SMS you really need before making the switch.
If you’re switching from a fixed contract to SIM-only, take note of any early termination penalties. Generally, the earlier you terminate the fixed contract, the heavier the penalty so calculate if what you’re saving by switching is enough to cover that amount.
For example, if your early termination penalty is $200, and you’re 6 months away from the penalty-free period, your new SIM only plan should be at least $33.40 cheaper per month ($200 divided by 6) than your existing contract plan.
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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.