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Seniors receive cheap subsidised mobile plans to get them connected as Singapore goes digital

By Ken Wong - on 4 Jul 2020, 9:53am

Seniors receive cheap subsidised mobile plans to get them connected as Singapore goes digital

Note: This article was first published on 30 June 2020.

Some of the elderly are being left behind digitally

StarHub, Singtel, TPG, and M1 today announced mobile plans, with some starting from as low as S$5 monthly, to help the elderly and disadvantaged adopt digital technology.

Circles.Life is also on-board but has yet to release any details of their proposed plans.

This is being done as part of the Seniors Go Digital programme launched by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). This is to encourage digital adoption among seniors as well as providing financial assistance to lower-income seniors who want to go digital but cannot afford smartphones and mobile plans.

With the ongoing pandemic and with everyone asked to stay at home as much as possible, having access to the web is more important than ever and the IMDA wants to ensure as many people as possible have access to the internet.

 

IMDA’s subsidised plan

To reach out to seniors, the IMDA is launching their own “Mobile Access for Seniors” scheme in conjunction with four of the five telcos. Under the scheme, seniors who qualify will be able to subscribe to a one-year mobile plan at only S$5 a month, and a subsidised smartphone starting from S$20.

Eligible seniors may register their interest in the scheme with IMDA’s Digital Ambassadors after attending an organised Seniors Go Digital learning programme and picked up at least one basic digital skill, such as basic digital communication skills, navigating government digital services, or transacting with e-payments.

They will be informed of the outcome via mail, subject to the availability of the Mobile Access Plans.

The subsidised plan will come with a minimum of:

  1. Free SIM card registration;
  2. Free caller ID;
  3. Unlimited incoming local calls;
  4. Continued mobile data connectivity, with no excess data charges; and
  5. Other value-added services.

Each telco will offer slightly different S$5 plans

Currently, only M1 has a date for when they will be releasing this plan for open subscription and that's July 17.

 

Other senior-friendly mobile plans

In addition to the plan organised by the IMDA, the telcos are also launching their own senior-friendly mobile plans that cover both SIM-only and handset included plans.

Starhub's plans also reach out to those with disabilities and are available now

In addition to the elderly, StarHub is making these mobile plans available to registered clients of the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) and the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) as well as Persons with Disabilities concession cardholders. According to StarHub, these plans are available for subscription by eligible parties now.

M1 is the only telco offering Viu and TVB subscriptions for a limited period

Both Singtel and M1 will have their own senior-friendly mobile plans available to the public on July 24. TPG and Circle.Life have not announced a date for availability of their plans, with TPG only saying sometime in July.

The lack of contact with other family members was one outcome of the Circuit Breaker period during the Covid-19 pandemic when families were unable to visit each other. While the IMDA and telcos did their bit to keep us occupied at home, the elderly said they felt a sense of alienation as they weren’t tech-savvy enough to keep in touch with other family members.