The telcos are really at war: Last year (Mar 2019), Singtel launched a 20GB for $20 SIM-only plan under GOMO, a sub-brand featuring bright colours and a cutesy mascot to target the younger, data-hungry crowd. Shortly after (May 2019), StarHub pulled what almost looks like a copycat move, releasing their own $25 25GB plan under the name giga – also featuring similar brand colours and cartoon illustrations.
I thought that would be final showdown – at least for a while – but then M1 joined the party with their newest $25 plan that gives you a whopping 30GB of data (May 2019).
It’s a crazy three-way fight, and I’m ready with my popcorn. Which of the big three should shoppers pick? Let’s find out.
- Singtel vs StarHub vs M1
- Other comparable SIM-only mobile plans
Singtel GOMO vs StarHub giga vs M1 – which is the most worth it?
|Singtel’s GOMO||StarHub’s giga||M1|
|Price||$20 monthly||$25 monthly||$25 monthly|
|Data||20GB||25GB (unused data can be rolled over to up to 2 months)||30GB (free data on the weekends + free Spotify streaming)|
|Talktime||200 minutes||1,000 minutes||1,000 minutes (free unlimited calls to three M1 mobile numbers)|
|Caller ID||Free||Free||Free for 3 months|
|Registration fee||Free||Free||$48.15 (waived for new signups)|
Obviously there are cheaper options options out there – there are even $0 plans, as you’d see below – but what we’re actually comparing are plans suitable for the general tech-savvy public who need a sufficiently data-heavy plan with some talktime and text messages.
Singtel’s GOMO is the cheapest one. For most, the bundle will provide enough for you call, text and browse social media whenever you want.
But if you’re an excessive data junkie and need more than the already generous 20GB, then consider giga or M1’s newest SIM-only plan . You would need to pay $5 more, but you get a lot more data, talktime and SMSes.
GOMO Mobile by Singtel ($20) – cheaper, with a big-enough data bundle
Singtel’s GOMO plan is $20 for 20GB, which completely throws Circles Life’s $28 for 20GB plan out the window. The latter recently launched a port-in promo to lower their prices to $18, but we’ll talk about that later (see below).
GOMO SIM-only plan:
- $20 for 20GB data, 200 mins talktime & 200 SMSes
- Free caller ID & incoming calls
- No registration and delivery fees
No travel roamingRoaming now available at $10 for 1GB
If you sign up now, you’ll pay $240 for 12 months.
- $20 x 12 months
In addition to 20GB of data, the GOMO plan offers 200 minutes of outgoing calls and 200 SMSes for free. For most young people nowadays, that’s more than enough. Many people I know only use regular, non-WhatsApp calls and text messages to contact older folks who don’t use smartphones.
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The best thing about GOMO is that there are no hidden charges. No registration fee, no delivery fee – just $20 flat.
The one thing that GOMO lacks is travel roaming. But the saving grace is that from now until 6 June 2019, you will receive a free travel SIM card worth $20. The travel SIM has 3GB for 10 days, and can be used for 8 countries (Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand). The travel SIM is data-only though, so you won’t be able to use it to call any overseas numbers (e.g. if you need to make restaurant reservations and etc). Update: GOMO now has travel roaming, but at a rather pricey $10 for a measly 1GB, and only in 10 countries.
If you’re willing to look past its track record of network and customer service issues, I honestly think the GOMO mobile plan is pretty good. I mean… They seem quite apologetic after all. They even wrote a song to say sorry:
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I personally would try it if I weren’t already bound to a 2-year plan with another telco. The GOMO plan is so competitive that it even cannibalises Singtel’s other SIM-only plans.
Singtel’s cheapest SIM-only plan is $20 too, but only has 3GB of data – no talktime, no SMSes.
giga by StarHub ($25) – costs slightly more, but offers much more data, talktime & SMSes
Now, if for whatever reason GOMO’s plan is not enough for your mobile appetite, you can consider StarHub’s giga, which offers more of well… everything.
giga SIM-only plan:
- $25 for 25GB data, 1,000 mins talktime & 1,000 SMSes
- Free caller ID & incoming calls
- Unused data can be rolled over to up to 2 months
- Travel roaming available at $5 for 1GB
- $2 delivery fee
If you sign up now, you’ll pay $302 for 12 months.
- $25 x 12 months (first month is free)
- $2 delivery fee
The giga plan is $25 monthly, but comes with 25GB of data, 1,000 minutes outgoing talktime and 1,000 SMSes. That’s 5GB more data, and 5X the talktime and text messages. What’s more, unused data can be rolled over to up to 2 months, which is unheard of in the local telco industry.
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I can’t imagine what you would need so much data for, but I suppose if you’re the kind who needs to Netflix on the train and upload videos every day, then perhaps giga is more suitable. Additionally, giga has several add-on packs to further customise your mobile plan.
- Data pack: +$2 monthly for 1GB local data
- WhatsApp pack: +$1 monthly for 1GB local data (WhatsApp usage only)
- Insta ‘n’ FB pack: +$1 monthly for 1GB local data (Instagram & Facebook usage only)
giga’s also good for frequent travellers who don’t want to deal with a separate SIM and/or travel wifi routers.
As mentioned above, GOMO has no travel roaming pass, only a travel SIM. I expect they would eventually add it to the suite of GOMO add-ons, but for now, giga gets the point for this one. GOMO has travel roaming too, but it’s twice the price at $10 per 1GB.
giga’s roaming pass is $5 for 1GB (valid for 5 days), and can be used for 14 countries (Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam).
The giga plan is the same price as StarHub’s cheapest SIM-only plan ($25). I think the two are quite comparable – although StarHub’s plan only has 15GB of data, weekend usage is completely free. So if you use most of your data when you’re out on Saturday and Sunday, then you may just get more utility out of that deal.
There’s no SIM-card fee for giga, but there is a $2 delivery fee.
M1’s SIM-only plan ($25) – competitive price, and the most data
M1 is like the only “uncle” who couldn’t be bothered “acting young”. They switched up their plans and pricing mechanic, but didn’t bother with the kiddy colours and mascots. They used to have quite a few SIM-only plans (called mySIM), the cheapest of which was $20 for 15GB of data. Those have since been scrapped, and the spotlight is now on a kick-ass SIM-only base plan ($25).
M1 SIM-only plan:
- $25 for 30GB data, 1,000 mins talktime & 1,000 SMSes
- Free weekend data
- Free calls to 3 M1 numbers
- Free caller ID & incoming calls for 3 months
- Unlimited music streaming on Spotify
If you sign up now, you’ll pay $300 for 12 months.
- $25 x 12 months
For $25 – the same price as giga – you can get 30GB data, 1,000 minutes talktime, and 1,000 SMSes. On the surface, it seems about the same, but with 5GB more data.
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However, the golden nuggets are found in the value-added services. The 30GB is more than enough for sensible data use, but just in case you need more, it’s free on the weekends. Plus, all your Spotify music streaming won’t count into your data quota. How insane is that??! I’d say it’s as good as unlimited data.
You can also get add-ons for data and talktime:
- +$10 monthly for +10GB & 100 minutes
- +$20 monthly for +50GB & 100 minutes
- +$50 monthly for +150GB & 10,000 minutes
If you look at value, the M1 SIM-only definitely comes through. The only question to ask is if you need that much of everything. I, for one, would probably never use up all that data and talktime, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to pay for it.
Another gripe from customers is that M1 only offers free caller ID for 3 months. After that, it’s chargeable at $5.35/month.
There’s also a $10.70 and $37.45 registration and SIM card fee, but it’s waived for new signups. If you were on the previous mySIM plans, you’d be glad to know that you can switch over at no cost.
Early termination fees are waived and there’s no minimum contract period for the new SIM-only plans, so you’re essentially allowed to break your contract for free.
Other SIM-Only data plans in Singapore
Now, let’s look at the non-big three telcos and MNVOs to see how they stack up. They are, after all, the competition that led to the birth of GOMO and giga.
TPG – $0 unlimited data plan that’s actually FREE
|TPG SIM-only mobile plan|
|Data||Unlimited (2GB per day)|
|Talktime||Free to all local mobile numbers. 20 minutes to fixed lines.|
|Caller ID||Not stated|
|Registration & delivery fee||Free|
TPG is actually an Australian telco, and is Singapore’s newest mobile network provider. They have yet to fully launch in the local market though. For now, all they have is a $0 trial plan.
It sounds like a sweet deal: data is unlimited (capped at 2GB per day) and all calls to local mobile number are completely free, which is super shiok.
… Except the network is still problematic. The reason why this $0 plan (that’s really, actually free) hasn’t yet taken off is because consumers are not satisfied with the quality of the network. Clara has a TPG SIM card and according to her, she doesn’t get network underground (so like, on the train and stuff).
But if you’re super cheapo then just go for it lah. You don’t need to fill in any credit card information, so if the trial ends and they ask you to renew your contract for more money, you can always just cancel.
Circles Life – cheap plans from $5, but $38 to $50 registration fees
|Circles Life $5 Plan||Circles Life Smart Start|
|Price||$5 monthly||$28 monthly ($18 if you port your number over)|
|Talktime||50 minutes||100 minutes|
|Incoming calls||Not free, minutes deducted from your total talktime balance||Not free, minutes deducted from your total talktime balance|
|Registration & delivery fee (one-time)||$18||$38, but can be waived with promo code SUPER38|
Circles Life was the first to introduce $0 plans, but the Flexi Plan has recently been discontinued. In replacement, Circles Life introduced a $5 plan that offers 2GB of data, 50 minutes of talktime and 25 SMSes.
More recently, the super popular Circles Life Base Plan was renamed the “Smart Start”. It remains at $28 monthly, and gives you 20GB of data, 100 minutes talktime (in- and outgoing calls) and 25 free SMSes.
As its name suggests, the Smart Start is a basic plan to which you can stack add-ons. The newest add-on is the Unlimited XP one, which is $30 monthly for unlimited 4G+ data, $20 monthly device credit and $3 monthly cash back for digital subscriptions.
The $28 plan is more expensive than both GOMO and giga… UNLESS you are porting your line in from another telco to Circles Life. You will get a $10 off, making it $18 monthly. That’s $2 cheaper than GOMO for 20GB of monthly data. There’s a $38 registration fee for the base plan, but you can currently get it waived with the promo code SUPER38.
If you can’t be bothered, paying $2 more for double the talktime and 8X the free SMSes is not too shabby either (with GOMO).
Zero1 – “unlimited” data plans from $9.90
|1GB to Unlimited data plan||3GB to Unlimited data plan||9GB to Unlimited data plan|
|Price||$9.90 monthly||$29.99 monthly||$39.90 monthly|
|Data||Unlimited, but only first 1GB at 4G speeds||Unlimited, but only first 15GB at 4G speeds||Unlimited, but only first 27GB at 4G speeds|
|Talktime||200 minutes||200 minutes||450 minutes|
|Registration fee (one-time)||$10.70 (but waived for now)||$10.70 (but waived for now)||$10.70 (but waived for now)|
|SIM card fee (one-time)||$32.10 (but waived for now)||$32.10 (but waived for now)||$32.10 (but waived for now)|
Zero1 has a slightly more unique concept. They offer you “unlimited” data, but for each plan, only the first XGB (depending on your plan) will be at 4G speeds. I’ve never tried it and don’t know anyone who has, but it sounds like a disaster already. Can you imagine the frustration of dealing with slow internet speeds after being spoilt with the instant gratification of 4G?
The cheapest plan is $9.90 monthly, but only 1GB is at 4G speeds. That’s kind of a rip-off. The mid-tier plan is the only comparable plan, but it’s $29.99 monthly for 15GB at 4G.
MyRepublic – “unlimited” plans from $18
|Price||$18 monthly||$28 monthly ($38 for existing broadband customers)||$24 monthly|
|Data||Unlimited, but only first 1GB at 4G speed||Unlimited, but only 3G/day at 4G speed||20GB (new signups get +30GB = 50GB for first 3 months)|
|Talktime||1,000 minutes||Unlimited||100 minutes|
MyRepublic is similar to Zero1. However, instead of positioning it as “unlimited” data, they call it “boundless data”.
The cheapest standard plan is $18 for a sad 1GB of data. The more comparable one is the Power plan that’s $24 for 20GB, which is the same as GOMO.
However, if you’re a new signup, you get an extra 30GB, bumping it up to $24 for 50GB (for first 3 months)! That’s really worth it.
Zero Mobile – truly unlimited data plan, but $49.95
|Zero XS||Zero X|
|Price||$49.95 monthly ($10 off if you port over your number)||$59.95 monthly ($10 off if you port over your number)|
|SIM card fee||$20||$20|
TBH, I hate the sketchy pseudo “unlimited” concept of Zero1. If you really need unlimited data, then you can consider Zero Mobile, which is a MVNO that taps on Singtel’s network.
Their plans are truly unlimited (no quote marks needed), but they’re significantly more expensive. The basic plan (only data is unlimited) is $49.95 monthly (or $39.95 if you port your number over), and there is a signup and SIM card fee of $18 + $20 respectively.
Bonus: Best credit cards for telco bills
Decided on a plan? After signing up, your next MoneySmart step is to set up a recurring bill payment with a suitable credit card. Since (for most people) telco bills amount to quite little of their spending, I wouldn’t suggest getting a dedicated credit card for it.
Here are some cards that give you cash back for telco bills. If you happen to have them — or find that they suit your spending habits better than your current card — go ahead make use of them.
Maybank Family & Friends Card — 5% or 8% cash back
OCBC365 Credit Card — 3% cash back
UOB Delight Card — 3% cash back
So which do you think is the best SIM-only mobile plan for now? Share your experience with us in the comments below!