Budgeting

How To Choose A Mobile Data Plan In Singapore

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Joanne Poh

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While some people might be eager to let you know how much their houses, cars or handbags cost, when it comes to mobile data plans, nobody wants to pay more than necessary.

Unfortunately, while there are only three mobile carriers in Singapore, decoding the various plans is a Nobel Prize-worthy feat.

Here’s a cheatsheet to help you choose the best mobile data plan in a quick, pain-free matter.

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Choose SingTel if… you hardly use your phone

While Singtel is generally regarded as the most expensive telco, it offers one great option for extremely disciplined cheapskates.

Singtel’s Combo 1, at $27.90 a month, gives you 100 minutes of talk time, 500 SMSes and a paltry 100 MB of data.

It is actually possible to survive on this plan, though you do have to be a bit of a scrooge. Here are some tips:

  • Use wifi at the office, at home or in public spaces whenever you can. Thankfully, it’s not hard to find somewhere with a hotspot.
  • In the absence of wifi, communicate with people by SMS, since nobody these days ever uses up the SMS allowance telcos give them.
  • Instead of calling people, send them a text asking them to call you (incoming calls are free).

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Choose M1 if… you are a light to medium user

M1’s prices come out tops for light to mid-range users.

The ValueSurf+ gives you 120 minutes of talk time, 600 SMSes and 2 GB of data for $39.

While you probably shouldn’t start downloading drama serials to watch on the MRT using your mobile phone plan, 2 GB is enough to run chat applications and do some Internet surfing.

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Choose Starhub if… you never, ever put down the phone

If you’re the kind of person who uploads photos of all your food to Facebook and then calls up your five best friends on your mobile phone to give them a blow-by-blow account of the meal, you’re going to need a heavy duty plan.

Starhub’s SmartSurf Premium, at $98 a month, offers 700 minutes of talk time, 1,000 SMSes and 6GB of data.

With this much data and talk time, you had better be a telemarketer or programming apps on your phone to get your money’s worth.

 

Which mobile phone plan are you using and why? Let us know in the comments.

Image credits:
Adrian Tritschler, Daniel Foster, Claire Sambrook

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.

  • Calvin Khoo

    Any recommendations on overseas calls? (Mainly Asia regien)

  • Ashley Joseph

    How to pay no more than $19.90/month for your mobile bill and get unlimited SMS,calls +6GB data*

    1. Cheap dual-sim Android phone.

    2. A StarHub MaxMobile Lite SIM card and plan ($19.90/month for 6GB of data, minimum contract 3 months). There might be a charge to activate the SIM card. Mine was $10. I’ve had minor reception issues so far concerning 3G data at certain MRT stations.

    3. A SingTel hi! SIM card. They start at $8.

    As you’re probably aware, in Singapore even if you don’t talk or SMS much, you’ve to top up your prepaid SIM card every month to prevent it from expiring. Fortunately, when you log into your SingTel hi! account, you have the option of extending the expiry date by paying a small fee. Currently, you can extend the card expiry by 60 days ($0.99) or for 90 days ($1.40).

    4. WhatsApp on your Android phone. Whatsapp now lets you make calls.

    5. Contacts who have WhatsApp.

    And that’s it. So you should end up paying, $19.90 a month for your mobile bill and occasionally extending the expiry of your hi! card or topping up an additional $10.

    A few things to note :

    1. The SingTel hi! SIM card and Top-up cards come with negligible amounts of data which expire quickly and the expiry date cannot be extended.

    2. Incoming calls are only free on SingTel hi! SIM card and Top-up cards for a limited amount of time. This means that you shouldn’t be yakking away on incoming calls. I use my SingTel hi! card for people who don’t use WhatsApp.

    3. You can receive SMSes on the MaxMobile Lite plan even though StarHub states on its website that the MaxMobile Lite plan is data only. I would strongly advise against picking up replying to SMSes though. Don’t want any surprise charges.