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[Cheatsheet] The Best SIM-Only Plan in Singapore (2018 Edition)

SIM-only may offer the best standalone deals.


Many of us fork out hundreds of dollars or more each year on our mobile phone subscriptions but rarely consider whether there are better mobile plans in the market when our contracts run down. The main reason – we are often lured by seemingly lucrative deals on the latest mobile phones rather than trying to source for the best mobile plans that fit our needs.

This usually means we end up opting for more expensive plans just to enjoy a handset subsidy. To lower the cost of the new phone, we also typically trade-in our perfectly working mobile phones.

If we could just continue using our mobile phones for a few more years and avoid buying new mobile phones out of peer pressure or glitzy marketing campaigns, we can save dearly on both handset upgrades AND mobile contract – by getting a SIM-only plan.

More Options In Singapore

In the past two years, the rise of SIM-only contracts has been evident. This can be largely attributed to the government’s decision to award Australia’s TPG Telecom a fourth telco license in Singapore.

Since then, existing telco operators have been pushed to offer more innovative services such as SIM-only pricing plans. This has also brought about an influx of several mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) – Circles.Life, Zero Mobile, Zero 1, MyRepublic – further intensifying competition in an already crowded telecommunications marketplace. All this has been to the benefit of consumers in Singapore.

Without any reason to differentiate between the three existing local telcos, as well as more than four MVNOs, simply comparing prices and assessing the best deals on offer makes most sense for consumers.

We look at the SIM-only plans offered in Singapore, and try to compare them to find out which offers the best deal. All promotions and discounts will be disregarded to take away any variances that an individual may encounter depending on the time we subscribe for the plans.

We also use three model users – with basic data needs, moderate data needs and extreme data needs – to determine the best SIM-only plans for each.

User A – Basic Data Needs

100 Mins Talktime, 2 To 3 GB Data, Caller ID And Free Incoming Calls

Observations For Users With Basic Data Needs

Based on what’s offered, M1’s mySIM3 20 seems to be the most affordable plan at $26.75. Of course, this is because it offers less data and talktime than many of the other plans. For a user requiring only basic data and talktime, that doesn’t usually exceed 2GB or 100 mins talktime, it may make the most sense.

At the other end, we are starting to see operators who are offering unlimited data, albeit at slower speeds, and up to 1000 minutes of talktime for their basic plans.

User B – Heavy Data Needs

100 Mins Talktime, 8 To 12 GB Data, Caller ID And Free Incoming Calls

Observations For Users With Heavy Data Needs

Based on the plans available in the market, Zero One’s plan appears to be the most affordable option. However, its plan only offers unlimited data on “managed network” speeds, after an initial 3GB on 4G network.

For fast speeds throughout your usage requirements of between 8GB to 12GB, Circles.Life’s plan appears the winner at $40.00. M1 appears to offer the most value here with 10GB of data at $48.15.

User C – Extreme Data Needs

100 Mins Talktime, at least 23 GB Data, Caller ID And Free Incoming Calls

Observations For Users With Extreme Data Needs

For those with extreme data needs, we assume speed matters as well. This rules out signing up for unlimited data plans which go down to slower speeds after using a certain amount of data. Again, Circles.Life seems to be the obvious choice, offering 26GB at an extremely competitive cost of $50.00.

Going For A 12-Month Contract

In the telco industry today, we can opt for a 12-month contract to boost the benefits that we get on our SIM-only contract. While this is a slight deviation from the origins of the SIM-only plans, doing so is a logical step to take as we’re bounded for a shorter timeframe and receive added perks in the form of more data and/or talktime.

In general, the three main telcos – Singtel, Starhub and M1 – offer 12-month contracts to lock-in customers. We’re comparing with telcos that don’t offer 12-month contracts to view the difference in what we stand to receive. We believe this isn’t wrong as majority of consumers have a requirement to use telco services each and every month rather than being able to say we don’t want to use it in certain months.

Here’s how the charges will look like if we went on 12-month contracts on SIM-only plans.

*The Circles.Life Base plan offers 4GB and an additional 2GB if you port-in a number from an existing telco. You can read up more about this process on their website.

Those who opt to go on 12 months contract with a telco can receive up to 5GB of data for as little as $26.75 on Singtel and M1.

Circles.Life’s plan still doesn’t rank a million miles away, giving an additional 1GB (6GB in total) of data for just $3.25 more (or $30 in total). Zero One’s plan offering unlimited data, with lower speeds after the first 3GB, also looks like a decent deal as we will simply never get a bill shock.

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