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I recently switched to a SIM-only plan after being on a contract plan for over a decade. While the contract plan served me well in the past, it felt so good to be “unshackled” by my continuous 2-year “chains”. Plus, my new SIM-only plan cost much less.
Best. Decision. Ever.
Basically, a SIM-only plan is a post-paid mobile plan that only provides the SIM card and service, no phone, no contract, no unwanted extras. However, these days, the competition for SIM-only plans is heating up. Many come with perks such as free caller ID, free talktime and so on.
My sign-up and transition was so smooth and effortless — I simply had to sign up online, input details and the SIM card was delivered to my doorstep. Compared to thinking about renewing my contract or being stuck with limited mobile phone models every 2 years, I can let the SIM-only plan run as short or as long as I want it to, as I’m not tied to any contract or phone.
While SIM-only plans are definitely easy on the wallet, price shouldn’t be the only motivator to switch. Take for example, Circles.Life — price aside, here are 6 reasons why I’d switch to it all over again in a heartbeat:
1. Circles.Life is constantly innovating
In 2016, Circles.Life entered the mobile operator fray that had not seen new competition for 14 years. Where its predecessor, Virgin Mobile, had failed, this new mobile virtual network operator or MVNO was determined to woo users with innovative plans.
It was also around this time that Circles.Life SIM-only mobile plan — a concept previously unheard of — was born.
This innovation disrupted the status quo — contract plans — which positively impacted customer offerings. The other telcos had to be on their toes to also offer customers value and service quality, in order to retain them.
Till today, Circles.Life constantly looks for ways to innovate and improve their products to better serve the needs of its customers. Through 2020, Circles.Life has launched an eSIM, a Multi-SIM, Circles.Life Quest and many other exciting new products.
2. You’re not bound by any contract
It sucks when you see a better offer with another mobile operator but your current 2-year contract still has 1 month to go. By the time you get “unstuck”, the opportunity or promotion is long gone. Chase the offer during your “lock-in period” by all means, but you’ll be slapped with a penalty.
Being on a Circles.Life SIM-only mobile plan means there are no termination fees should you decide to port out. Instead of being at the mercy of a 2-year contract, users benefit by being able to choose the mobile plan that best suits their needs, change to another if their usage patterns shift, or completely stop the service without incurring any penalty.
Even if you want to change to another plan with the same mobile operator, i.e. Circles.Life, there’s no admin fee payable, unlike a traditional contract plan.
Not sure if a SIM-only plan is for you? That’s the beauty of being on one — it’s like a paid trial that you can exit any time and return to your favourite contract plan. With Circles.Life, you only need to stay with them for 2 billing cycles and you’re free to look for greener pastures.
3. You don’t need to pay for unwanted frills
On my contract plan, I was paying for things I didn’t want, and having to add on services I really needed. I was getting so little data that I had to top-up for more, my talktime was too much, and seriously, who uses 1,000 SMSes these days?
To make matters worse, the phone models available for recontract all didn’t suit me. My existing phone was working fine too, plus I didn’t want to make the effort to sell my phone on Carousell!
I would also be getting “perks” such as free streaming services and whatnot… but actually all I really wanted was for my caller ID to be FOC.
Getting on a SIM-only mobile plan meant that I could remove all of these “in-built” frills and “forced” services that I don’t use. Classic SIM-only plans such as those offered by Circles.Life include 20GB/100GB data at just $18/$38 per month — with free caller ID, 100 minutes’ talktime and 25 SMSes (just in case) thrown in.
Not only did I downsize my phone bill, but I also got more control over what I was paying for, as Circles.Life is transparent and upfront about its costs.
Having no unwanted frills doesn’t mean #basic service either. Popular add-ons that Circles.Life offers for users to customise their mobile plans include unlimited outgoing calls ($8/month), and unlimited data ($20/month with 4G Rollover up to 300GB).
4. You can still get one of the latest phones (if you want)
Most MVNOs offer a no-contract SIM-only plan and that’s that — no phone options, even for those who want them. However, with Circles.Life’s combo plans you can get a mobile phone… without getting tied down by a contract. With a wide range of 40+ phones, even existing customers can conveniently check out the latest phones directly from the Circles.Life app.
If you die-die need to switch for some reason, you only need to continue paying for the phone (treat it like a 0% interest instalment plan). Super flexible, right?
5. Retain your number, enjoy roaming, good network coverage & customer service
Being on a SIM-only plan doesn’t mean you get a SIM card, data, a phone line — and that’s it (even prepaid SIM plans aren’t so #basic).
You’ll still have access to all of the other must-haves such as overseas roaming (sigh, when will COVID-19 run its course), good network coverage and customer service. When you port in, you’ll also get to retain your old number (it’s a given, nowadays).
Through Circles.Life’s app, roaming plans (from $5) can be added anytime. There’s also the pay-as-you-go option, where if you connect to preferred partner networks you can get exclusive low rates and you’ll only be charged for what you actually use.
Good network coverage
Circles.Life, which is powered by M1, is one of the top-rated networks for video speeds. According to IMDA’s Quality of Service Survey, Circles.Life is able to provide >99% 4G+ Coverage islandwide, even if you’re in the MRT or underground. This is partly due to innovation — Circles-X, Circles.Life’s proprietary telco technology, crowdsources data from volunteer customers and maps out network coverage so that network problems can be found 10x quicker than physically sending humans to check.
Same thing, no unwanted frills doesn’t mean the mobile operator stints on customer service. Circles.Life has many channels to contact customer service, such as via video call, live chat (app or web), Facebook messenger, message (through a web-based form) and 24/7 voicemail.
There’s a pretty comprehensive FAQ section as well, which addresses common concerns such as tracking orders, understanding your first bill, reporting lost/damaged SIM cards, checking on your porting status (later nobody can contact you) and more.
According to YouGov surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, Circles.Life emerged as the #1 recommended telco. It was also found to have the #1 happiest customers in a Zendesk study (98% satisfaction for customer enquiries). Even the Circles.Life app is highly-rated on the App Store/Google Play (4.7 over 5 stars last I checked).
6. Wait, what? You even get reward perks and benefits?
There’s still more… Circles.Life also doles out reward perks and benefits to its customers. Not all mobile operators do that.
Through the Circles.Life app, while you can fully control your mobile plan and turn on/off roaming plans, the real bonus is being able to do cool stuff like check movie showtimes, book SISTIC events, participate in daily polls and join weekly giveaways. This is via the lifestyle-focused Discover feature.
Other features include a customer loyalty programme, access to online subscriptions and non-telco partner promotions. Circles.Life also has a corporate individual scheme that can be extended to friends/family.
There’s also a referral programme that benefits BOTH the existing customer and the person they referred. Referral perks include: 12 months free unlimited data for your first referral (limited-time), 3 months free unlimited data (subsequent referrals) and 1-year bill waiver ($180 bill waivers for the top 3 referrers per month — yes, there’s a leaderboard in the app).
If your existing mobile contract is coming to an end, why not explore the world of SIM-only plans with Circles.Life — no contract, no pressure! Find out more here.