The three big telcos have long been a source of angst for Singaporeans, who complain about slow internet and exorbitant excess data usage charges.
Then Circles.Life and MyRepublic came along, and now it seems like we have a way out of overpriced mobile data plans!
What’s more, you’d no longer have to commit for 2 years and be obligated to wait for re-contract discounts on your new handset. Savings on SIM-only plans’ make up for having to pay the full price for a new mobile phone. Another huge draw is that they bundle more data.
Cowed by the competition, Singapore telcos have started offering SIM Only plans as well with more attractive add-ons. For instance, Starhub just announced new “extra large” data bundles for its SIM Only plans on 5 December 2018.
New virtual telcos have also joined the fray since, such as TPG Telecom, Zero 1 and Zero Mobile (yes, they’re different). So how do these different SIM Only Plans compare with each other?
Cheapest SIM Only plans from Singapore telcos (2019)
Swipe left to see all 4 plans
|Plan||Circles. Life Base Plan||Singtel SIM Only||M1 mySIM 20||Starhub $25 SIM Only|
|Data||6 GB||5 GB||3 + 12 GB||13 GB (free unlimited weekend data)*|
|Talk-time||100 min||150 min||100 min||100 min|
|SMS||$0.05 per SMS||Free 500 SMSes||Free 100 SMSes||$0.0535 per SMS|
|Contract||No contract||12 months||No contract||No contract|
*For 12 months only from sign-up only.
Circles Life SIM Only Plans
Circles.Life plans were the first no-contract phone plans in Singapore’s market.
The most popular Circles plan is the Base Plan with $20 add-on. It used to offer 26GB at only $48 per month, which was unheard of when it was first launched. With the new update from 1 March 2019, the $20 add-on gives you unlimited data.
Without the add-on, the base plan costs $28 per month, offering 6GB of data, 100 minutes of free talktime, free caller ID and pay-as-you-go SMSes.
Circles.Life also has a Flexi Plan, which literally costs nothing and offers 1 GB of data, 30 minutes of talktime, free caller ID and 10 SMS. You can build on the plan by adding on $8 for 1 GB or $12 for 2 GB and 30 minutes of talktime for $5. Great for mindfulness gurus that want to go on a data detox yet stay somewhat contactable, hey?
Circles.Life’s USP is that it is a fully virtual telco, which means that their customer service is 100% online only. Porting your number from any other telco can be done without ever meeting a customer service officer in person. They’re also known for great customer service.
Singtel SIM Only Plans
|SIM Only 5GB||SIM Only 10GB||SIM Only 30GB||SIM Only 55GB|
*All plans offer 150 minutes of talktime and 500 SMSes.
There are 5 types of Singtel SIM Only Plans, which give a lot of flexibility. The cheapest plan costs $20 per month, offering 5GB data, 150 minutes talktime and 500 SMSes.
The rest of the SIM Only plans all offer the same amount of talktime and SMSes, so the prices are purely pegged to the amount of data.
There is 1 no-contract plan from Singtel which costs $20 per month but it only offers 3GB of data with no free talktime and SMSes. If you really want something like this, building on Circles.Life’s Flexi Plan is more bang for buck ($12 per month for 1GB+2GB).
The other 4 Singtel SIM Only Plans require you to commit for 12 months.
M1 SIM Only Plans
|mySIM 20||mySIM 40||mySIM 50||mySIM 98|
|Price||$20 per month||$40 per month||$50 per month||$98 per month|
|No contract||5+10 GB||15+10 GB||30+10 GB||Unlimited|
|12 months contract||3+12 GB||10+15 GB||15+25 GB||Unlimited|
*All plans offer 100 minutes of talktime, 100 SMSes, and unlimited calls to 3 M1 numbers.
All SIM Only Plans come with free 100 minutes of talktime, 100 SMSes and unlimited calls to 3 M1 numbers. You can also take your data overseas with the M1 Data Passport.
While M1 used to reward their customers for loyalty, offering more data for their 12-month contract plans, now it seems that no contract plans offer the same amount of data.
This means that if you want a basic no-contract plan, M1’s mySIM 20 (no contract) actually wins Circles Life’s base plan (6 GB for $20) by offering you 15 GB.
Another benefit for all around heavy phone users is that you can get potentially UNLIMITED 4G data, talktime and SMSes with the M1 mySIM 98 ($98 per month), which is quite something.
Starhub SIM Only Plans
|$25 SIM Only||$50 SIM Only||$80 SIM Only|
|Price||$25 per month||$50 per month||$80 per month|
|No contract||3 GB||30 GB||60 GB|
|No contract (for 12 months only)||13 GB + unlimited weekend data||40 GB + unlimited weekend data||70 GB + unlimited weekend data|
|Talktime||100 minutes||300 minutes||500 minutes|
*All plans come with free incoming calls, caller ID and international roaming.
Starhub has recently revamped their SIM Only plans, doing away with all activation charges and contracts for their SIM Only plans.
If you sign up now, you get free 10GB every month on their new plans for 12 months. Chiong ah!
What’s more, the plans come with free incoming calls, caller ID and international roaming. You can also add 500 SMSes at $3 a month.
MyRepublic SIM Only Plans
|Smart 35||Mega 55||Xtra 85|
|Price||$35 per month||$55 per month||$85 per month|
|No contract||9 GB||18 GB||30 GB|
|No contract plan for broadband customers||12 GB||26 GB||38 GB|
All MyRepublic SIM Only plans come with 1000 minutes talktime, 1000 SMSes, free incoming calls, SMSes and caller ID.
This makes the Smart 35 plan a strong contender to Circles.Life’s base plan for people who need a lot of talktime, like salespeople or freelance telemarketers, if there’s such a thing.
But the $85/month Xtra 85 for 30 GB (38 GB if you’re a broadband customer) is just simply ridiculous.
If you’re gonna pay more than $80 a month, go for Starhub’s $80 SIM Only plan instead, which gives you 60 GB, twice of what MyRepublic is offering. Or, just sign up for unlimited data with Circles Life, Zero 1 or Zero Mobile.
Zero Mobile SIM Only Plan
Zero Mobile, not to be confused with Zero 1, was launched in December 2017. Headquartered in Australia, it offers a no-contract plan at $64.95 per month that offers unlimited “Superfast 4G” data, unlimited local calls and 200 local SMSes. There’s also free number porting and free caller ID.
Sounds too good to be true? Yeah, we think so too. They did add a disclaimer that “unlimited” data and calls must follow fair usage policy. This means, basically, not “unlimited” lah:
- “Unlimited” talktime: not over 5,000 minutes in a month or 200 minutes in a 24 hour period
- “Unlimited” SMS: not over 5,000 SMS in a month or 200 SMS in a 24 hour period
- “Unlimited” data: Personal use only. No tethering.
Aside to that, there’s a whole host of one-time charges, such as sign-up fee ($18), SIM card fee ($20), minimum charges ($107.95) that add up to be quite a lot of money!
Zero Mobile reviews seem to allude that their customer service isn’t that great, so use at your own risk.
Zero 1 unlimited SIM-only plans
|1GB to Unlimited||3GB to Unlimited||9GB to Unlimited|
|Price||$9.90 per month||$29.99 per month||$39.90 per month|
|No contract||1 GB||3 GB||9 GB|
|Talktime||200 minutes||200 minutes||450 minutes|
|SMS||200 free||200 free||450 free|
Zero 1 is the third virtual telco following Circles Life and Zero Mobile. They launched unlimited plans in March 2018.
Apparently, you get 4G speeds on the first GBs that you pay for, and
managed SLOW network speeds thereafter…
How bad are these “managed network speeds” though? Well, if you just need to play Spotify, read Reddit, or watch Youtube at 240p, the “managed network speeds” suffice. But using Facebook or Instagram won’t not be a smooth experience.
From $13.90/month (ongoing promotion at $9.90/month), Zero 1’s unlimited data prices are dirt cheap. Ironically though, their “unlimited” data plans only suit people who don’t use much high-speed data.
Downsides are that there is no app to check your data usage unlike Circles Life and the big 3 telcos, and the customer service is apparently not that great as well.
TPG Telecom Singapore SIM Only Plan
As if we don’t have enough telcos in Singapore’s market.
TPG Telecom, Australia’s 2nd largest fixed telco, has launched in Singapore early this year.
The only plan they are offering now is a free no-contract plan, believe it or not. It’s part of TPG’s year-long trial and offers 2GB of data, 20 SMSes and 20 minutes of outgoing calls to local fixed lines.
You have to check back on TPG’s website to see when you can register as there are limited registrations every day. After registration, you have to go down to Shaw Centre to collect your SIM card.
It seems that TPG is still in a very nascent stage of setting up business in Singapore, but let’s hope that more competition will actually help to drive prices down, at least!
So, which is the best SIM-only plan?
So how do you know which plan to sign up for? Here’s a quick guide:
If you don’t want to commit to a long-term plan: Circles.Life, MyRepublic or Starhub
If you want that flexibility of a no-contract plan, you should go for Circles Life, M1, MyRepublic or Starhub.
Singtel is still quite traditional in the sense that plans reward their customers who commit to the plans for at least 12 months.
If you don’t need much talktime: Circles.Life
Circles Life obviously understands the phone-phobic millennial generation. It doesn’t offer free incoming calls, although you can add on at $2 per month if needed. There’s free caller ID so you can always know who’s trying to bug you before deliberately missing the call. To make up for that, there’s unlimited WhatsApp so you can text instead. Wonderful.
If you need a helluva lot of talktime: MyRepublic or M1
MyRepublic plans offer 1,000 minutes of talktime, which is A LOT. If that is still not enough, you can add on $15 with M1’s plans to get unlimited talktime.
If you are the last person on earth who uses SMS: M1
So you only open the Messages app to get your OTPs. Same here.
Choose M1 my SIM 20, cos it now offers 15 GB of data at $20, which is more data, talktime and SMSes than Circles Life’s base plan for $8 less.
If you need a lot of data: Circles Life, Singtel, Starhub or M1
Circles Life’s recent update to its $20 add-on has officially knocked it out of the park. Do note that after 20GB, the speed will slow significantly.
But if you need more SMSes and free incoming calls, you can go for M1’s mySIM 40. For $40, you get 25GB of data. Still not enough? You can go for Singtel’s SIM Only 30 GB. Commit to 12 months and pay $46.75.
For a couple of bucks more, you can upgrade to StarHub’s $50 SIM Only plan, or M1’s mySIM 50, which offers 40GB.
But if you just want the MOST 4G data you can ever get on a SIM Only Plan, then mySIM 98 is a good plan, offering literally unlimited data at $98 a month… and not the “managed networks” variety.
What data plan are you using right now and are you satisfied with it? Tell us in the comments!
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