Apple iPad Data Plans Compared

Apple iPad Price Plans Compared

Apple iPad Prices in Singapore

Thinking of getting the iPad from either of the three telcos in Singapore? Here's a handy guide to the prices of the data plans and the iPad.

Apple's new iPad will be available in Singapore from March 16 onwards. If you are one of the early birds who made the pre-order online, you will most likely receive your order on March 16. Those who hesitated and made the pre-order are expected to wait for an additional two to three weeks.

But if pricing is still a factor, here's a reminder on the prices of the different iPad models:

  Apple iPad 3rd-gen (Wi-Fi) Apple iPad 3rd-gen (Wi-Fi + 4G)
16GB S$658 S$828
32GB S$788 S$958
64GB S$918 S$1,088

Despite having several upgrades such as a higher resolution display, a 5-megapixel rear camera and A5X processor with quad-core graphics, Apple managed to lower the prices of the Wi-Fi models and the Wi-Fi + 4G models by S$10 and S$20 respectively. While the drop in price is insignificant, consumers are more than likely to welcome any price drops. 

With Apple's competitive pricing for its new iPads, it is even tougher for Android tablets to grab more market share from the leader as the tablets are in almost similar price points. For example, two of the latest Android tablets, the ASUS Transformer Pad Prime (32G) Wi-Fi and Motorola Xoom 2 (3G) 32GB cost S$899 (with keyboard docking station) and S$978 respectively.

iPad Models Storage Increase Additional Cost Cost per GB
16GB to 32GB 16GB S$130 S$8.13/GB
16GB to 64GB 48GB S$260 S$5.42/GB

If you are choosing between the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions of the Wi-Fi + 4G model, the table above may be of some help to you. As seen in the table above, you may want to consider getting the 64GB iPad as it has the best storage to cost ratio.


Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 4G?

Choosing between the Wi-Fi and 4G version will be a tough call. What you'll need to know is this:

The price difference between the Wi-Fi and 4G version, regardless of storage, is S$170. This is S$10 lesser than the price difference from the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G iPad 2

As we've mentioned last year, there are some factors that will make the choice easier. The same logic can be applied from the previous iPad 2 onto the new iPad, and if you're set on getting the iPad with a data plan, we'll be providing you with some analysis on the economics behind this purchase.


iPad Prices with 2-year Contract

As usual, the three telcos in Singapore will be offering the iPad with a data plan. SingTel, StarHub and M1 have announced their price plans, and based on what we've seen, the difference is minute.

Mainly, StarHub has a slightly higher monthly subscription. Other than that, all three telcos will bundle the same amount of local data. With no LTE support available for the iPad in Singapore, the alternative would be a HSPA+ 21Mbps connection, which is provided within the data plan.

  M1 SingTel StarHub
Monthly Fee (w/GST)
  • S$40
  • S$40 
  •  S$41.30
    (U.P.: S$43.90)
    *Promotion is valid till 31 May 2012*
Data Credit (GB)
  • 10 (capped at S$30) 
  •  10 (capped at S$94.16)
  •  10 (capped at S$94.16)
Download Speed
  •  Up to 21Mbps
  •  Up to 21Mbps
  •  Up to 21Mbps
SIM Card Fee
  • S$19.26 (existing customer)
  • S$26.75 (new customer)
  • S$37.45
  • S$37.45
Registration Fee
  •  NA
  • S$10.70
  • NA
iPad 16GB
  • S$399
  •  S$399
  •  S$399
iPad 32GB
  • S$499
  •  S$499
  •  S$499
iPad 64GB
  • S$599
  •  S$599
  •  S$599


Total Costs Incurred over a Two-year Contract

With a two-year contract tied to the data plan, we have compiled a table comparing the total amount you have to fork out over two years. We take into account the monthly subscriptions for two years and the one-time charges (including registration fees) as listed above for the respective telcos.

iPad Models M1 SingTel StarHub
  • Total cost over two years: 

    - Existing customers: (S$40 x 24) + S$399 + S$19.26

    = S$1,378.26

    - New
    customers: (S$40 x 24) + S$399 + S$26.75

    = S$1,385.75
  • Total cost over two years:

    (S$40 x 24) + S$399 + S$37.45 + S$10.70

    = S$1,407.15
  • Total cost over two years:

    (S$41.30 x 24) + S$399 + S$37.45

    = S$1,427.65
  • Total cost over two years:

    - Existing customers: (S$40 x 24) + S$499 + S$19.26

    = S$1,478.26

    - New customers: (S$40 x 24) + S$499 + S$26.75

    = S$1,485.75
  • Total cost over two years:

    (S$40 x 24) + S$499 + S$37.45 + S$10.70

    = S$1,507.15
  • Total cost over two years:

    (S$41.30 x 24) + S$499 + S$37.45

    = S$1,527.65
  • Total cost over two years:

    - Existing customers: (S$40 x 24) + S$599 + S$19.26

    = S$1,578.26

    - New customers: (S$40x 24) + $599 + S$26.75

    = S$1,585.75
  • Total cost over two years:

    (S$40 x 24) + S$599 + S$37.45 + S$10.70

    = S$1,607.15
  • Total cost over two years:

    (S$41.30 x 24) + S$599 + S$37.45

    = S$1,627.65

Based on the calculations above, M1 seems to offer the best deals across the board among the three telcos. Both M1 and StarHub do not charge registration fees for the microSIM card whereas SingTel does. 


Multi-SIM Card Charges from the Three Telcos

Both SingTel and StarHub have also given its existing customers an option to sign up for a multi-SIM plan, and enjoy a slight discount on the new iPad. Based on our last check, SingTel will be shaving S$30 off the iPad cost, while StarHub is shaving S$20 off.

However, considering that there's a one-time charge of S$32.10 and S$21.40 for SingTel and StarHub, this is more of a waiver (or nearly one) for the multi-SIM card.

Here's a table that shows you the different subscription, activation or SIM card charges from all three telcos: 

Telco M1 SingTel StarHub
  • S$10.70  
  • S$10.70
    (1 SIM + 1 MicroSIM card)
  • S$21.40
    (2 SIM + 1 MicroSIM card)
  • $32.10
    (3 SIM + 1 MicroSIM card)
  • S$10.70
and Activation Fee
  • Free
  • S$10.70
  • S$10.70
SIM Card Fee
  • S$19.26 (Existing customers)
  • S$26.75 (New customers)
  • S$32.10 (2 cards)
  • S$10.70 per subsequent card
  • S$21.40 

Note: A multi-SIM card shares the data bundle of your mobile phone plan. As such, you will not enjoy data speeds up to 21Mbps as it is only exclusive to the iPad data plans. Most mobile data plans offer data speeds up to 7.2Mbps while those who signed up for the iPhone 4S mobile data plans will get download speeds up to 14.4Mbps. 


Contract-Free iPad + Sign up Multi-SIM service with Existing Mobile Plans

Next, we'll be looking at the cost of signing up for a multi-SIM card. This is based on the assumption that you are an existing customer with the particular telco, with a data plan tagged to your smartphone. Similarly, we will be including the one-time charges, which includes activation and registration fees of the multi-SIM.

To give you an idea of how much it'll cost compared to the new sign up that we've mentioned above, here's the breakdown of the total cost over a two-year period.

iPad Models M1 SingTel StarHub
  • Total cost over two years: 

    - Existing customers: (S$10.70 x 24) + S$19.26 + S$828

    = S$1,104.06

    - New customers: (S$10.70 x 24) + S$26.75 + S$828

    = S$1,111.55
  • Total costs over two years:

    (S$10.70 x 24) + S$10.70 + S$32.10 + S$798

    = S$1,097.60
  • Total costs over two years:

    (S$10.70 x 24) + S$10.70 + S$21.40 + S$808

    = S$1,096.90
  • Total cost over two years:

    - Existing customers: (S$10.70 x 24) + S$19.26 + S$958

    = S$1,234.06

    - New customers: (S$10.70 x 24) + S$26.75 + S$958

    = S$1,241.55
  • Total costs over two years:

    (S$10.70 x 24) + S$10.70 + S$32.10 + S$928

    = S$1,227.60
  • Total costs over two years:

    (S$10.70 x 24) + S$10.70 + S$21.40 + S$938

    = S$1,226.90
  • Total costs over two years:

    - Existing customers: (S$10.70 x 24) + S$19.26 + S$1,088

    = S$1,364.06

    - New customers: (S$10.70 x 24) + S$26.75 + S$1,088

    = S$1,371.55                
  • Total costs over two years:

    (S$10.70 x 24) + S$10.70 + S$32.10 + S$1,058

    = S$1,357.60
  • Total costs over two years:

    (S$10.70 x 24) + S$10.70 + S$21.40 + S$1,068

    = S$1,356.90

When it comes to signing up a multi-SIM plan with the telco, SingTel and StarHub are neck-to-neck with similar costs over the two-year period, while M1 customers will pay slightly more.

A general note for all consumers: the data speeds offered by a multi-SIM plan is dependent on the mobile plan you signed up for. Most mobile data plans offer download speeds up to 7.2Mbps while the iPhone 4S mobile plans offer up to 14.4Mbps. In addition, these are based on theoretical estimates. The actual download speeds are lower.


Two-year Contract Versus Multi-SIM

So what is the preferred option? Signing up for a new data plan to get a theoretical download speed of 21Mbps, or sticking with your current data plan and paying for a multi-SIM? To answer that question, here's the final comparison between the two methods of getting the iPad from your preferred telco.

iPad Models With 2-year Contract With Multi-SIM
  • M1

    - Existing customers: S$1,378.26

    - New customers: S$1,385.75
  • SingTel: S$1,407.15
  • StarHub: S$1,427.65
  •  M1

    - Existing customers: S$1,104.06

    - New customers: S$1,111.55
  • SingTel: S$1,097.60
  • StarHub: S$1,096.90
  • M1

    - Existing customers: S$1,478.26

    - New customers: S$1,485.75
  • SingTel: S$1,507.15
  • StarHub: S$1,527.65
  • M1

    - Existing customers: S$1,234.06

    - New customers: S$1,241.55
  • SingTel: S$1,227.60
  • StarHub: S$1,226.90
  • M1

    - Existing customers: S$1,578.26

    - New customers: S$1,585.75
  • SingTel: S$1,607.15
  • StarHub: S$1,627.65
  • M1 

    - Existing customers: S$1,364.06

    - New customers: S$1,371.55
  • SingTel: S$1,357.60
  • StarHub: S$1,356.90

As you can see, getting the new iPad with a multi-SIM plan gives you significant savings over a two-year period although you most probably have to bear with lower surfing speeds. Even if you've gotten yourself an iPhone 4S mobile data plan, you are looking at a theoretical download speed of 14.4Mbps.

Not too impressed with the new iPad? Fortunately, the iPad 2 is still offered by the three telcos, and there are some discounts tagged to the previous generation tablet. For more information about the prices of the old and new iPad, you can check out the full price plans listed on the three telcos' website:

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