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Apple iPad 2 Data Plans Compared!

Apple iPad 2 Data Plans Compared!


The Second Coming of the iPad 2's Price Plans

Spoilt for Choice

Both StarHub and M1 have finally joined Singtel in an eternal rat race for the best iPad and iPad 2 data plan prices, each offering unique price packages that should hopefully appeal to everyone. Like last year's roundup, we have likewise done up a point-by-point comparison of the different plans - both data plans with and without purchase of the iPad 2 alike - available for your consideration.

Postpaid Data Plans
Telco M1 SingTel StarHub
Monthly Subscription
  • Data Lite: S$21.40
     
  • Data
    Unlimited: S$36.38*
    (U.P. $43.87, *Promotion is valid until further notice)
     
  • Data
    Unlimited: S$40 (with 2-year contract and purchase of iPad 2 with M1)
  • S$30.50 (with 2-year contract)
     
  • S$34.50 (1-month plan)
     
  • S$41.40 (with 2-year contract
    + free USB modem and MicroSIM with adapter)
  • S$36.50 (with 2-year contract
    + free USB modem and MicroSIM with adapter) - Exclusive for SingNet BroadBand Customers
  • $40 (with 2- year contract and purchase of iPad 2 with Singtel)
     
  • $5 for USB modem
  • $36.38 (with 2 year contract with free USB modem)
     
  • S$40.02 (with 2-year contract and purchase of iPad 2 with Starhub)
Data Limit
  • Data Lite: 3GB
  • 50GB
  • Unlimited
Excess Charge Cap
  • Data Lite: S$51.36
  • S$94.16
  • NA
One-time fee
  • N.A.
  • S$13.38 / S$37.45 (waived for online sign-up)
  • S$37.45


Prepaid Data Plans
Telco M1 SingTel StarHub
Initial Cost
  • S$20
  • S$12.60
  • S$32
Data Limit
  • 1GB
  • Unlimited
  • 2.5GB
Valid Period
  • 30 days
  • 3 days
  • 60 days
Top-up
  • S$30 for 2GB
  • S$18 for 1GB
  • S$5 for 256MB
  • S$49.50 for 30 days
  • S$24.50 for 7 days
  • S$10 for 2 days
  • S$32 for 60 days
  • S$25 for 7 days
  • S$16 for 3 days
  • S$6 for 1 day
  • S$3 for 1 hour

Singtel has definitely kept the game running, still offering the best value for money plans across a 2 year-period from a postpaid user's perspective. The S$30.50 and S$36.50 (the latter comes with free USB modem and MicroSIM with adapter) plans are sufficient for moderate users as they come with a generously 50GB cap. However, if you are consistently relying on 3G connectivity and do not want to run the risk of running excess charges, you might want to turn to either Starhub's or M1's unlimited plans. 

A 2-year contract is in effect for most of the three telcos' data plans. When there's a contract, there's bound to be a penalty involved. Here's what you need to know if you do an early termination with either SingTel or StarHub:

  • M1: The penalty varies from S$41.67 to S$499, depending on the point in time that the contract is terminated.
     
  • SingTel: Penalty according to number of months left (and equipment penalty if you get the dongle).

    E.g. If you have 20 months left on your contract, you'll have to pay up to 20 months x the monthly subscription; the equipment penalty is already included with plans that come with the dongle, i.e., you just have to return the dongle to Singtel.
     
  • StarHub: The penalty varies from S$22.47 to S$535, depending on the point in time that the contract is terminated.

What if you're already using an integrated voice and data plan? Does it make economic sense to take up a separate data plan just to enjoy constant connectivity on the iPad? As mentioned in last year's iPad writeup, there are two possible alternatives for you to consider:

Creating Wi-Fi Hotspots

This option is catered for those who are looking to get the iPads relying solely on the Wi-Fi connectivity and having an existing or looking to get an integrated voice and data plan.

Singapore is well-connected with its Wi-Fi infrastructure, but there will be times when a Wi-Fi point is out of reach. As such, you can create your very own Wi-Fi hotspot using your modern mobile phone. This is applicable for many devices these days, especially for Android 2.2 or newer equipped phones. Moreover, with iPhone 4's Personal Hotspot function, you can also wirelessly tether your 3G connection on your phone. Here are some recent examples:

  • iPhone 4
  • HTC HD2
  • Google Nexus One
  • Samsung Galaxy S
  • Samsung Wave
  • Samsung Galaxy Beam
  • HTC Desire S
  • HTC Incredible S


Getting a Multi-SIM and cutting it to microSIM size

This method is based on the assumption that you are going for the iPad 3G version. Do note that cutting the SIM card has some risk involved and if you're not careful, you could damage your SIM card.

A microSIM is only different from a SIM card in dimensions. As such, to fully utilize your current subscription, you can opt to apply for a multi-SIM card, which lets you have multiple SIM cards and microSIM cards under the same number. This will chalk up an additional amount to be paid per month and in some cases, a one-time registration fee.

Here's the breakdown of the multi-SIM cost across all three telcos for existing customers:

Telco M1 SingTel StarHub
Monthly
Subscription
  • S$10.70
    (1 SIM + 1 MicroSIM card)
  • S$21.40
    (2 SIM + 1 MicroSIM card) 
  • S$10.70
    (1 SIM + 1 MicroSIM card)
  • S$21.40
    (2 SIM + 1 MicroSIM card)
  • $22.47
    (3 SIM + 1 MicroSIM card)
  • S$5.35
    (2 SIM cards)
Registration
and Activation Fee
  • N.A.
  • S$10.70
  • S$10.70
SIM Card Fee
  •  $19.20 per card
  • S$32.10 (2 cards)
  • S$10.70 per
    subsequent card
  • S$37.45 for 1st SIM card
  • S$21.40 for 2nd SIM card

Existing SingTel and M1 customers have no need to worry since there are existing multi-SIM combinations that allow users to opt for MicroSIM cards instead (cap to one per line). For M1 and Starhub customers, the next step is to cut one of your multi-SIMs to microSIM size. The card measures by 15mm x 12mm so some trimming is necessary. There are a few ways to go about doing it - you can either whittle your SIM card to that specific size with a pair of scissors or if you have the spare cash and want some assurance, there's a tool called Cut My Sim that cuts your SIM card to the actual size and a microSIM to SIM card adaptor. According to the website, this tool costs 19.95 euros.

 

If you are interested in signing up for a plan with Singtel as well as purchase the iPad 2, you can already do so now (Singtel has offering them and their data plans since 14th May). For users interested in signing up with M1, you can purchase all models of the iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G on the 20th of May at M1 Shop at Paragon from 8am onwards and from 10am onwards at all other M1 Shops. Likewise, you can also buy all models of iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G at Starhub outlets from 20th May onwards.