Overview of Tiered Smartphone Plans (Q3, 2012) - Old

Overview of Tiered Smartphone Plans

** Article Updated as of 13/09/12 **  - This Article is no longer applicable as the new plans from StarHub make the comparisons below outdated. Please refer to this new comparison for the latest analysis and updated illustrations.

 

Tiered Smartphone Plans Comparison

It was fun while it lasted, but the free buffet of all-you-can-eat data plans is no longer something consumers can depend on for mobile connectivity, thanks to overcrowded data networks, the unwillingness of telcos and service providers to provision for more profit-eating bandwidth and a host of other factors. With all three telcos introducing new tiered smartphone plans, we have tabulated the plans below for your easy reference.

*Update as of 5.30pm:

We received word that StarHub will be releasing a statement soon on its mobile plans. We will update this article when we have the information. Stay tuned for more. Please take note that the StarHub has not released any specific information on its 4G service plans. 

*Update: StarHub released a press statement following M1's 4G LTE service announcement. Below is its statement: 

Mr. Mock Pak Lum, Chief Technology Office of StarHub - “StarHub will roll out our next generation LTE network systematically. We will launch the first phase of our LTE network soon in key business areas, including Singapore Changi Airport, Marina Bay, Suntec, and Shenton Way. This will be steadily expanded to cover the whole island over a few planned stages. Our LTE network roll-out will culminate with true nationwide coverage when the mobile infrastructure in all MRT tunnels, shared by all mobile service providers, is ready to provide LTE service."

With this update, it just means StarHub has yet to roll out 4G plans officially, as such all data plan comparisons made below would reflect its 3G plans only. M1's latest announcement points to separate price plans for 3G and 4G data usage needs, whereas Singtel has a unified price structure applicable for either 3G or 4G usage. Re-contracting M1 customers will get 1GB complimentary data bundle on the new smartphone plans. Please keep these in mind while sifting through the price plan comparisons below:

Basic Mid-tier High-tier Premium

 

Basic Plans Comparison

 

Data Plan M1 SingTel StarHub
Name ValueSurf+ Flexi Lite  i2Surf 100 
Monthly Subscription 3G: $39 / 4G: $49.70 $39.90 $38
Local Outgoing Mins 120 100 100
Local SMS 600 800 500
Local Data Bundle 2GB 2GB 1GB
Excess Data Charges $5.35/GB, capped at $94.16 $5.35 per GB, capped at $94
*4G subscribers pay $10.70/GB
from 1st Jan 2013
Capped at $30


Analysis for 3G Plan

In terms of local data bundle, it is a tie between M1 and SingTel as both offer 2GB. M1 gains the edge when you take its extra 20 minutes of talk time into consideration. If you use within the 2GB data bundle, M1 is obviously the better choice. 

If you are a heavy user who is very likely to exceed the data cap by more than 10GB, StarHub's data cap of $30 is the lowest, and therefore the most suitable. In addition, StarHub's i2Surf plans offer 24-month multi-SIM subscription for use on another device. This amounts to $256.80 in savings over a two-year period - this is based on the fact all three telcos charge $10.70 monthly subscription (per additional SIM card) for their multi-SIM service.

Of course, if you need more than 2 SIM cards, then you would have to choose either SingTel or M1 as StarHub does not offer more than 2 SIM cards for the same mobile subscription.

Analysis for 4G Plan

SingTel's Flexi Lite will be the top choice if you use within the local data bundle. If you exceed the data bundle, SingTel will be charging a higher fee at $10.70/GB from 1st Jan 2013. Based on a scenario of 12GB data usage in 2013, you will be paying a total of $133.90 ($39.90 + $94) under SingTel's plan as compared to $143.86 ($49.70 + $94.16) for M1.

 

Mid-tier Plans Comparison

 

Data Plan M1 SingTel StarHub
Name LiteSurf+ Flexi Value i2Surf 300
Monthly Subscription 3G: $59 / 4G: $69.70 $59.90 $58
Local Outgoing Mins 300 200 300
Local SMS 800 900 500
Local Data Bundle 3GB 3GB 2GB
Excess Data Charges $5.35/GB, capped at $94.16 $5.35 per GB, capped at $94
*4G subscribers pay $10.70/GB
from 1st Jan 2013
Capped at $30


Analysis for 3G Plan

M1's LiteSurf+ offers 1GB more data bundle (compared to StarHub) and 100 minutes more talk time (compared to SingTel). Hence, it will be a good choice for those who may consume between 2GB to 3GB data every month.

Analysis for 4G Plan

If you use not more than 3GB of local data, SingTel's Flexi Value will be more affordable than M1 only if you do not really require the additional 100 minutes local talk time. However, in a situation where you're a heavy user and tend to exceed the free data bundle, M1's lower data charges of $5.35/GB gives you an additional 17GB of usage before hitting the cap of $94.16. Compared to SingTel where its $10.70/GB charges (effective 2013) would cause you to hit the $94 data cap after only about 8GB of usage.

 

High-tier Plans Comparison

 

Data Plan M1 SingTel StarHub
Name ExtremeSurf+ Flexi Plus i2Surf 700
Monthly Subscription 3G: $98 / 4G: $108.70 $99.90 $98
Local Outgoing Mins 700 500 700
Local SMS 1,000 1,000 500
Local Data Bundle 5GB 4GB 5GB
Excess Data Charges $5.35/GB, capped at $94.16 $5.35 per GB, capped at $94
*4G subscribers pay $10.70/GB
from 1st Jan 2013
Capped at $30


Analysis for 3G Plan

It is a tie between M1 and StarHub as both offer 5GB local data bundle. If your data consumption per month has always exceeded 10GB, StarHub's lower data cap of $30 (which means you'll pay a maximum of $128) will benefit your wallet since M1's plan would cost more after hitting 11GB of usage ($98 + 6*$5.35 = $130.10).

Analysis for 4G Plan

Under a scenario where you use up to 4GB of data a month, M1's ExtremeSurf+ will be more expensive at $108.70 compared to SingTel's Flexi Plus ($99.90). But if you're a very heavy user that may exceed the free data bundle, you would have to consume more than 20GB on M1 before you actually hit the maximum cost you would pay if you're on SingTel. In other words, M1 customers on ExtremeSurf+ would pay lesser for anything below 20GB of data ($108.70 + 15*5.35 = $188.95) than if you were on SingTel where you would have to pay a maximum of $193.90 ($99.90 + $94) - considering charges incurred from next year.

 

Premium Plans Comparison

 

Data Plan  M1 SingTel StarHub
Name MaxSurf+ Flexi Premium N.A
Monthly Subscription 3G: $198 / 4G: $208.70 $205 N.A
Local Outgoing Mins Unlimited 2,000 N.A
Local SMS 2000 2,500 N.A
Local Data Bundle 12GB 12GB N.A
Excess Data Charges $5.35/GB, capped at $94.16 $5.35 per GB, capped at $94
*4G subscribers pay $10.70/GB
from 1st Jan 2013
N.A


Analysis for 3G Plan

M1's MaxSurf+ is obviously the better of the two as it offers unlimited local talk time at a lower monthly subscription (for 3G). However for those who don't require much outgoing talk time at all (within 700 minutes), StarHub's i2Surf 700 plan from the previous tier will be the best bet for high data usage as the total bill is just $128.

Analysis for 4G Plan

Considering both 4G plans, even if you are forking out an extra $3.70 if you sign up for M1's 4G MaxSurf+, the unlimited talk time would more than justify that higher cost. The lower data charges of $5.35/GB remains a key advantage M1 has over SingTel as subscribers would have to pay more in 2013 when SingTel would raise its rates to $10.70/GB.