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Summary: Telcos' Excess Local Data Charges and Monitoring Tools
By Sidney Wong - 31 Dec 2013,1:54pm

Overview of Telcos' Excess Local Data Usage Charges

Brace for Change

When the three telcos launched new mobile plans along with their 4G LTE networks last year, consumers were outraged by the smaller data bundles. Gone were the days of 12GB 'buffet' style of data usage where it was nearly impossible to hit the limit for most users. SingTel defended its decision on the basis of long term sustainability. 

"We need to break away from the traditional one-size-fits-all approach, which is not sustainable in the long term. Today, 64 per cent of mobile data on our network is consumed by 10 per cent of our subscribers. This prevents the remaining 90 per cent from enjoying the full benefits of the network. With our tiered pricing model, subscribers will pay for what they use, and this ultimately allows us to keep prices for our plans the same over time despite rising network costs." said Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, SingTel's CEO Consumer Singapore.

Excess local data charges were implemented as a tool to manage mobile data traffic flow. As starters, the telcos introduced these charges on promotional rates. Earlier this year, SingTel started the ball rolling by ending its promotional rate for 4G local data excess usage on 15th September.

M1 took a similar step in early December by doubling its excess data charges, which will come into effect tomorrow, 1st January 2014. Last, but not least, StarHub will be ending its promotional rates for excess local data charges and customers will be paying the normal rates from tomorrow.

If you are a subscriber of more than one telco, the different charges and changes can be confusing. We compiled the excess local data charges, data cap and relevant information from the three telcos for your easy reference below:

  M1 SingTel StarHub
Excess Local Data Charges
(per GB)


For 3G: $5.35
For 4G: $10.70


Data Cap
(per month)
$188.32 For 3G: $94
For 4G: $188
4G VAS Waived till further notice
(Usual: $10.70/month)
Waived till further notice
(Usual: $10.70/month)
Waived till further notice
(Usual: $10.70/month)
Mobile Plans Affected


iPhone Value+
iPhone Lite+
iPhone Extreme+
iPhone Max+


BlackBerry MessageSurf+

mData Value+/Value V+ mData Lite+/Lite V+
mData Max+/Max V+
Data Max+

SunSurf Lite+
SunSurf Max+ BlackBerry BIS+/BES+


Mobile Broadband 7.2
Mobile Broadband 21
Mobile Broadband 75
Mobile Broadband 150  

SmartSurf Lite
SmartSurf Value
SmartSurf Premium
SmartSurf Elite

MaxMobile Lite (6GB)
MaxMobile Elite (6GB)
MaxMobile Elite (11GB) 


Surviving the Change - Tips Galore!

If you are concerned about exceeding your data bundle, the good news is that most Android, iPhones and Window Phone devices come with built-in apps to monitor your data usage.

For Android 4.0 and above users, Google has included a data usage function that allow allow you to easily monitor your total network and application usage and set your limits. It can even warn you when you are about to exceed the set limits.

Apple iOS 7 users can track their data usage on their devices via Settings > Mobile > Mobile Data Usage. iOS 7 also breaks down the data consumption of individual apps and system services.

Windows Phone 8 users have a built-in app, DataSense which helps you conserve mobile data by monitoring your usage and saving some tasks until you have access to a Wi-Fi connection again. DataSense can be pinned as a Live Tile on the Start Screen, and your data usage is automatically updated.

Besides the built-in apps of the respective mobile platforms, you can consider third-party apps (including the telcos' apps) that will help you monitor data usage on your mobile devices.

Signing up or re-contracting your line for a new phone, but not quite sure which mobile plan suits your needs? Fret not as we have tabulated all available information and illustrated them for easy understanding in this article, "Illustrated Overview of Tiered Smartphone Plans (Q3, 2012) - Updated!". Just figure out how much data you might be needing on average per month (use the data monitoring tools mentioned above) and the this illustrated article will make a telco plan selection a breeze.

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