Feature Articles

iPhone Price Plans - Choosing the Right Fit *Updated as of 9th Dec*

iPhone Price Plans - The Breakdown

Update - As of 8th December 2009, SingTel has announced its revised rates for its iPhone plans. Our analysis has been updated to reflect SingTel's updated iFlexi plans. StarHub has also matched SingTel's $30 data cap offer, followed by M1 which increased its data bundle to 12GB and introducing the $30 data cap.

iPhone Price Plans - The Breakdown

A few weeks ago, both StarHub and M1 have made official announcements that the iPhone will be available to both carriers by the end of 2009. A quick check on the pre-order site on Sunday revealed that registration has been closed for both companies, indicating the imminent arrival of the price plans.

Surely, Starhub launched its price plans on Monday morning, revealing new price plans that goes hand-in-hand with their iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Shortly after, M1 also revealed its iPhone price plans and by 8th December 2009, SingTel announced its price plan revision.

With all three telcos' price plans set in stone, it's time to analyze the offerings from each of them. We start by checking out the pricing of the iPhone, seeing as that is what consumers are getting all excited about in the first place.

iPhone Price Plan Comparison - Low-End
Plan M1 iPhone Value Starhub 3G Smartsurf 100 SingTel iFlexi Lite
Monthly subscription $36 $38 $39
Outgoing talktime 100 mins 100 mins 100 mins
Bundled SMS 500 500 500
Bundled Data 12GB 12GB 12GB
iPhone 3GS 32GB Price $658 $668 $658
iPhone 3GS 16GB Price $518 $538 $518
iPhone 3G 8GB Price $398 or $0 with Take 3 $388 $388

iPhone Price Plan Comparison - High-End
Plan M1 iPhone Unlimited Starhub 3G Smartsurf Unlimited SingTel iFlexi Premium
Monthly subscription $198 $205 $205
Outgoing talktime Unlimited 2000 mins 2000 mins
Bundled SMS Unlimited 2000 2000
Bundled Data Unlimited Unlimited 30GB
iPhone 3GS 32GB Price $0 $0 $0
iPhone 3G 8GB Price $0 $0 $0

For the purpose of this article, we'll be looking at the most basic and high-end plans as a comparison. For the full comparison, check out our round-up of the iPhone price plans for a quick gauge.

The following information was correct as of 7th December 2009

With similar offerings of talk time and bundled SMS amongst StarHub and SingTel, the former is pricing the iPhone slightly cheaper at $10, $20 and $30 as you go up the price plan ladder. On the extreme end, the StarHub SmartSurf Unlimited gives you 2000 minutes of talk time and SMS, which is approximately 33% more than what you get on SingTel for a free iPhone 3G or 3GS.

M1's offering, which was announced later in the day, trounced the other two telcos' offerings with an even lower price point for its monthly subscription and iPhone pricing. As you can see from the comparison for its entry-level plans, M1's iPhone Value plan comes in at the most affordable $36, with the iPhone 3GS priced at $658. Looking at the highest-end plan, both M1 and StarHub gained the upper hand with an unlimited data bundle against SingTel's 3GB limit. Furthermore, M1 comes with unlimited outgoing talk time and SMS, making it the clear winner amongst the three telcos for now.

The following information has been updated as of 8th December 2009

As of now, SingTel has countered and matched both StarHub and M1's offer. For its bundled data, SingTel has increased it to 12GB, and introduces the lowest data cap rate at $30. Unfortunately, the telco has not budged and isn't introducing unlimited data usage for its highest level plan, unlike M1 and StarHub's offer.

On the highest iFlexi Premium plan, SingTel has matched up to StarHub's offer of 2000 minutes of talktime and SMS.

Furthermore, SingTel has also matched the prices of its iPhone to M1's offering, and for its iPhone 3G 8GB on the lowest end plan, it'll be $10 cheaper than M1's offer of $398 for the iPhone.

To quantify it in numbers, let's take a look at the total cost of the iPhone 3GS 32GB, should you opt for the cheapest plan over the next 24 months:-

  • M1 - ($36 x 24) + $658 = $1522
  • StarHub - ($38 x 24) + $668 = $1580
  • SingTel - ($39 x 24) + $658 = $1594

Without a doubt, on a 24 months outlook, M1's iPhone offering would still be the cheapest of the lot, followed by StarHub and then SingTel. But if you're a heavy outgoing caller, there are considerations to take note of, and you might do better with the mid-range plans that costs no more than $60 on all three telcos.

Note that these calculations are based on the fact that you won't be exceeding the data limit. With SingTel announcing its revised bundled data and data cap, there is a paradigm shift in the data costing, which we'll analyse in the next page.