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Data Wars: Telco data plan comparison
By James Lu - 20 Mar 2016,7:30am

Data Wars: Telco data plan comparison

Note: This article was first published on March 11, 2016.


Begun the Data War has

This week, all three telcos announced add-on options for new and re-contracting subscribers to increase the amount of data in their mobile plans. 

The first to do was Singtel, with its DataX2 plan. For S$5.90/month, DataX2 doubles your plan's data cap, so if you're on Combo 2 (2GB), you get 4GB total data.

Next up, M1 announced Upsized Data. For S$5.90/month, you get double your current data cap minus 1GB. So, for example, if you're on Lite+, you normally have 3GB data, but with Upsized Data you have 5GB. If you're on Max, you normally have 7GB, but with Upsized Data you have 13GB.

Finally, StarHub announced 3GB-for-$3, which simply adds 3GB data to your current plan for S$3. However, the S$3 price is only valid for new or re-contracting subscribers that sign a 24-month contract before 1st April. After 1st April, the price will increase to S$6/month.

Unfortunately, for all three telcos, the new add-on options do nothing for existing subscribers as they are only available for new and re-contracting customers. Additionally, none of the add-ons are eligible for the lowest-tier value plans.

 

Why now?

It wasn't too long ago that all three telcos were offering 12GB data with their basic plans. When 4G LTE came about, those plans were swiftly replaced with today's 2 and 3GB data plans, so why are the telcos now once again offering affordable data? The answer could be the looming threat of MyRepublic. The fiber broadband provider is currently bidding to become Singapore's 4th telco, and if successful, is planning to shake up the telco space by promising, amongst other things, an unlimited mobile data plan for $80/month (or $60 if you also subscribe to their fiber services).

As such, you can probably look at these new data add-ons as ways for the three existing telcos to lock down customers into 24-month plans before MyRepublic has the chance to entice them away.

Our suggestion is to wait and see what MyRepublic offers before signing a new contract. It's possible that MyRepublic will offer even better data plans (right now they only have two plans previewed, but expect more options when they launch), and even if you do decide to stick to your current telco, expect them to revise their offerings once again to battle MyRepublic.

Having said that, if you really can't wait for MyRepublic, the new data add-on plans are actually not bad. Let's take a closer look to see who's offering the most data for your dollar:

Basic plans comparison 

  M1 Singtel StarHub
Name Lite+ Combo 2 4G 3
Monthly subscription S$42 S$42.90 S$42.90
Local outgoing mins 200 200 150
Local SMS 1,000 1,000 1,000
Data bundle 3GB 2GB 3GB
Top-up data subscription S$5.90 S$5.90 S$3
(S$6 after 1st April)
Top-up data 2GB 2GB 3GB
Total data 5GB 4GB 6GB
Total monthly subscription S$47.90 S$48.80 S$45.90
(S$48.90 after 1st April)
Cost per 1GB of data S$9.58 S$12.20 S$7.65
(S$8.15 after 1st April)

 

Mid-tier plans comparison 

  M1 Singtel StarHub
Name Reg Combo 3 4G 4
Monthly subscription S$62 S$62.90 S$62.90
Local outgoing mins 300 300 350
Local SMS 1,200 1,200 1,200
Data bundle 4GB 3GB 4GB
Top-up data subscription S$5.90 S$5.90 S$3
(S$6 after 1st April)
Top-up data 3GB 3GB 3GB
Total data 7GB 6GB 7GB
Total monthly subscription S$67.90 S$68.80 S$65.90
(S$68.90 after 1st April)
Cost per 1GB of data S$9.70 S$11.47 S$9.41
(S$9.84 after 1st April)

 

Mid-high tier plans comparison

  M1 Singtel StarHub
Name Reg+ Combo 4 4G 5
Monthly subscription S$82 S$82.90 S$82.90
Local outgoing mins 400 400 450
Local SMS 1,500 1,300 1,300
Data bundle 5GB 4GB 5GB
Top-up data subscription S$5.90 S$5.90 S$3
(S$6 after 1st April)
Top-up data 4GB 4GB 3GB
Total data 9GB 8GB 8GB
Total monthly subscription S$87.90 S$88.80 S$85.90
(S$88.90 after 1st April)
Cost per 1GB of data S$9.76 S$11.1 S$10.74
(S$11.11 after 1st April)

 

High-tier plans comparison 

  M1 Singtel StarHub
Name Max Combo 6 4G 6
Monthly subscription $102 $102.90 $102.90
Local outgoing mins 800 700 700
Local SMS 2,000 1,500 1,500
Data bundle 7GB 6GB 6GB
Top-up data subscription S$5.90 S$5.90 S$3
(S$6 after 1st April)
Top-up data 6GB 6GB 3GB
Total data 13GB 12GB 9GB
Total monthly subscription S$107.90 S$108.80 S$105.90
(S$108.90 after 1st April)
Cost per 1GB of data S$8.30 S$9.07 S$11.77
(S$12.10 after 1st April)

 

Premium plans comparison 

  M1 Singtel StarHub
Name Max+ Combo 12 4G 12
Monthly subscription S$228 S$239.90 S$220
Local outgoing mins Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Local SMS 5,000 Unlimited Unlimited
Data bundle 13GB 12GB 12GB
Top-up data subscription S$5.90 S$5.90 S$3
(S$6 after 1st April)
Top-up data 12GB 12GB 3GB
Total data 25GB 24GB 15GB
Total monthly subscription S$233.90 S$245.80 S$223
(S$226 after 1st April)
Cost per 1GB of data S$9.36 S$10.24 S$14.87
(S$15.07 after 1st April)


Conclusion

In the Basic Tier StarHub's 3GB-for-$3 scheme is quite attractive, giving you the most data for the lowest price. In fact, across all tiers, StarHub's 4G 3, even if you signup after 1st April at $6/month, offers the most data for your dollar. However, as the tiers increase in price, StarHub's flat 3GB extra becomes less and less attractive, and at the top-end Premium level, is dwarfed by the extra 12GB offered by M1 and Singtel. 

M1 generally has the best data plans, offering as much extra data as Singtel, and also having 1GB more data in its base plan - all while its subscription plans are S$0.90 cheaper or more.

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