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

SIM-only may offer the best standalone deals.

 

This article has been updated in November 2018 to reflect the latest prices.

Many of us fork outhundreds 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 a substantial amount 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 had to offer more innovative solutions 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

* 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.

** Unlimited WhatsApp does not include video calling. Voice calling is capped at 10,000 minutes per month.

Observations For Users With Basic Data Needs

Based on what’s offered by the individual telcos, M1’s mySIM3 20 seems to be the most affordable plan at $25.35. Of course, this is because it offers one of the lowest data and talktime than many of the other plans. For a user requiring only basic data and talktime, that doesn’t usually exceed 3GB or 100 mins talktime, it may make the most sense.

At the other end, we are starting to see operators, such as Zero 1 and MyRepublic, offering unlimited data, albeit at slower speeds after a certain amount of data, and up to 1,000 minutes of talktime on their basic plans. Zero Mobile’s entry level plan is the most expensive at $49.95, but it comes with 24GB of data and 500 minutes of talktime.

User B – Heavy Data Needs

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

* 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.

** Unlimited WhatsApp does not include video calling. Voice calling is capped at 10,000 minutes per month.

Observations For Users With Heavy Data Needs

Based on the plans available in the market, Zero1’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 clear winner at $40.00.

User C – Extreme Data Needs

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

* 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.

** Unlimited WhatsApp does not include video calling. Voice calling is capped at 10,000 minutes per month.

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. Here, Zero Mobile’s plan seems to be the most affordable choice, offering 24GB at an extremely competitive cost of $49.95. The Circle.Life plan also offers an equally, of not more compelling offer, of up to 26GB for $50.00.

For those who want even more flexibility with data, Zero Mobile offers an even higher-tiered plan, Zero X, which gives users unlimited 4G data, unlimited calls and unlimited SMSes for $69.95. Arguably, this may be the best plan on offer for those with extreme data needs.

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.

** Unlimited WhatsApp does not include video calling. Voice calling is capped at 10,000 minutes per month.

Those who opt to go on 12 months contract with a telco can receive up to 5GB of data for as little as $25.35 on Singtel and M1, and 6GB of data for as littles as $29.35 on StarHub.

An added benefit of signing up for a 12-month contract is that at certain times during the year, the telco operators will offer an even better promotion to get people to choose them. Currently, Singtel is offering an additional 1GB of data for free on any of its 12-month SIM-only plans, and StarHub is going one better, by offering nearly 5GB of data for free on any of its 12-month SIM-only plans.

Compared to the plans with contracts, Circles.Life’s no-contract plan still doesn’t rank a million miles away, offering 6GB of data for just $30 in total. Zero1’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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