This article was written in collaboration with MyRepublic. All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg based on our research. DollarsAndSense.sg is not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view our full editorial policy here.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the world in a manner that none of us could have anticipated. Global travel has come to a standstill with most countries introducing strict border restrictions. Many of our holiday plans are cancelled. For better or worse, even going to the office daily is no longer something that many of us do anymore as we adjust to work-from-home.
In the new normal that we live in today, many of our consumption habits have evolved. Netflix subscriptions may have replaced movie outings, while online food orders have gained significant traction and getting groceries delivered may have become a weekly affair.
With all these changes, we may also find ourselves using our mobile phones differently from the past.
If we are mainly working-from-home these days, we are likely to see our mobile consumption habits changing. For those looking to renew their mobile phone plans soon and are considering a SIM-Only plan, here are 5 factors that we should consider during this work-from-home period.
#1 How Much Data Do We Need Each Month?
Even if you are living as a hermit like Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, the chances are that you will still go out occasionally to buy groceries, meet a friend or do a quick workout. And this means you will need some mobile data to stay connected with the rest of the world – even if it’s just on WhatsApp or to navigate yourself so that you don’t get lost.
As such, you should figure out how much mobile data you need each month in the new normal.
For some, data requirements will be kept minimal since most of us already have a home broadband plan and can tap on it when we are working from home. We can choose a Lite Plan, such as the one offered by MyRepublic, which gives us 6 GB of data and 300 minutes of talktime for just $10/month.
For others, we may still need a sizable amount of data. This is particularly true if we have weekly or bi-weekly work-from-home schedules, as well as for those who still have to meet up with clients and colleagues regularly. If we are constantly on the go each day, insufficient data is not a problem we want to have. For these working professionals, the Core Plan offered by MyRepublic, which gives us 50 GB of data and 500 minutes of talktime each month would be perfect. This would cost just $20/month.
If for any reason, working-from-home has increased your appetite for data – maybe you work at a café that doesn’t provide free Wi-fi, there is also an Unlimited Data Plan, which gives (as you may already guess) unlimited data and 1000 minutes of talktime for just $39/month.
#2 Flexibility To Upgrade Or Downgrade Your Plan Anytime
Even though many of us are currently working-from-home, we should be mindful that our work-from-home arrangements may be temporary. When the situation improves, we may be required to go to the office more often. As such, our mobile data consumption may differ in the future.
Ideally, we want to sign up for a SIM-only plan that allows us to change or even cancel our plan at no additional charge anytime. This way, we have the flexibility to change our mobile plan if our consumption changes, rather than being locked into a plan that we can’t downgrade/upgrade from.
All of MyRepublic SIM-only mobile plans give customers the flexibility to upgrade, downgrade or cancel their plan anytime at no cost.
#3 Free Incoming Calls
If we are working-from-home, we will likely find ourselves receiving more calls on our mobile phone from people we work with. This is because we no longer have a direct office line for people to call us and it’s unlikely many of us would be willing to share our home number. Our colleagues may also call us more often on the phone to discuss work since they no longer see us in the office.
While most mobile plans these days give free incoming calls, this is not something that we should take for granted. There are still some plans that do not provide for free incoming calls and the last thing we want is to realise we have signed up for a plan that will charge us for work-related calls that we are accepting from our colleagues, clients and boss.
All of MyRepublic mobile plans come with free incoming calls that do not count against the talktime customers get each month.
#4 Free SMS
With messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram getting increasingly popular in Singapore, one might wonder how relevant Short Message Service, better known as SMS, still is today.
While very few people, at least in Singapore, still use it regularly, we may want to ensure that our SIM-only mobile plan still provides us with a respectable number of free SMS each month. This is important in the off-chance that we have older relatives/friends who do not use the same messaging apps as us, or do not have a data plan that allows them to stay connected through these apps when they are out of their home.
In an emergency such as a blackout or if mobile traffic usage is very high, an SMS is also an alternate way to communicate quickly with the people we need to, especially if voice calls cannot go through.
#5 Value-Added Services
Value-added services are something that we may overlook when searching for a suitable SIM-only mobile plan. However, it’s something we shouldn’t ignore because the last thing we want is to religiously try to save money on our SIM-only mobile plan, only to end up incurring added charges on services that we need.
For a start, Caller ID is something that we all need so we should ensure that our SIM-only plan already includes free Caller ID as part of the package.
Also, check out the prices for data add-ons even if we don’t intend to use them. This will indicate how much more we may need to pay if we need a little more data in the future. For example, MyRepublic charges a reasonable $2.99 for a 3 GB data add-on and $5.99 for a 10 GB data add-on.
Currently, most of us won’t be travelling overseas, but it’s also worth noting how much more we may need to pay for roaming add-ons when we do travel again in the future when the pandemic is over.
Monitor Your Usage Regularly To Avoid Incurring Additional Charges
In 2020, we may find our mobile data consumption changing quickly on a month-to-month basis, depending on which stage of the reopening of the economy we are in.
During the 2-month circuit breaker period from April to June, it’s likely that our mobile data usage was kept to a minimum because we were spending most of our time at home. When Phase 2 commenced, we started going out a little more and this may have increased our mobile data usage slightly. Once Phase 3 arrives, our usage may further increase.
To avoid being caught out suddenly by an increase in mobile usage, it’s useful to have an app that helps us monitor our monthly data usage.
For example, MyRepublic mobile plan users can download the MyRepublic app from Google Play (for Android users) or the App Store (for iOS users). This will allow us to track our mobile data, call time and SMS usage easily. In addition, we can also use the app to change our plan, get add-ons or update our account details. The app also doubles as a way to contact MyRepublic for those who have questions or need help.
Ultimately, our mobile plan needs to serve our lifestyle, rather than for our lifestyle to be dictated or limited by what our plan is able to offer. We shouldn’t have to proactively limit our mobile usage when we need to use it – especially for work purposes.
At the same time, it also makes no financial sense to be paying more for our mobile plan when we don’t need so much mobile data. So choose what you need, rather than to be using additional mobile data because you have already paid for it.
Check out this infographic for a quick recap on what to consider when choosing a SIM-Only mobile plan during work-from-home: