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Which Telco Offers the Best Phone Subsidies If You Want to Buy The iPhone 12 Pro Max

Who is the most generous of them all


Just last month, Apple introduced the iPhone 12 in 4 models: iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone is released in two waves, the first wave for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro and the second wave consisting of the iPhone 12 Mini and the 12 Pro Max. The cheapest iPhone 12 Mini starts at $1,149, which is more expensive compared to the iPhone 11 which starts from $1,080 last year.

The various telco companies have introduced their own subsidies and discounts for the iPhone 12 series. In this article, we will discover which telco company provides the best subsidies for the iPhone 12 series.

Read Also: Should You Buy The New iPhone 12? 4 Factors To Consider Before You Spend At Least $1149

#1 Plans With Device Contracts from The Three Major Telco Companies

With the first wave of iPhone 12 releases done, we look forward to the second wave of iPhone 12 releases: the Mini and the Pro Max. We will be using the iPhone 12 Pro Max for comparison, which is available for preorder starting from 6th November at 9 pm.

Storage Capacity 128GB 256GB 512GB
Price $1,799 $1,969 $2,299

Note: iPhone prices quoted are from Apple Store Singapore and based in Singapore dollars (SGD)

We examine the lowest and highest tier plans for you to get the iPhone 12 Pro Max offered by the three major telco companies.

Basic Tier Plans For iPhone 12 Pro Max

Chargeable StarHub ($65 Mobile+) SingTel (X048) M1 (Base Plan)
Monthly Subscription $65 ($1,560 in 24 mths) $58 ($1,392 in 24 mths) $40 (LTE) ($960 in 24 mths)
[Optional: $55 (5G+extra 15GB of data) (Total: $1,320 in 24 mths)]
iPhone 12 Pro Max Upfront Cost 128GB – $1,039
256GB – $1,189
512GB – $1,489
128GB – $1,148
256GB – $1,308
512GB – $1,608
128GB – $1,270
256GB – $1,420
512GB – $1,720
SMS 200 100 100
Data 30GB 20GB 12GB
[Optional: 27GB with Booster) ($10 discount for 6 months]
Outgoing (mins) 200 100 100
Monthly Caller ID rates FREE $5.35 ($128.40 in 24 mths) $5.35 ($128.40 in 24 mths)
Activation of Caller ID FREE $10.70 $10.70
Cost over 24 Months 128GB – $2,599
256GB – $2,749
512GB – $3,049

 

128GB – $2,679.10
256GB – $2,839.10
512GB – $3,139.10
128GB – $2,369.10
256GB – $2,519.10 512GB – $2,819.10
[Optional (5G):
128GB – $2,669.10 ($2,729.10 – $60)
256GB – $2819.10 ($2,879.10 – $60)
512GB – $3119.10 ($3,179.10 – $60)]

In the category of entry-level plans, StarHub offers the most subsidy on the upfront costs of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. You can also stand to receive promotional discounts from the various telcos, such as SingTel’s $50 discount is included on the upfront cost of all phone variations.

In terms of the total spending over 24 months, M1 provides the cheapest offerings (on LTE). When you opt for the M1’s plan with 5G, you will be granted a $10 discount per month for the first six months. M1 also provides a non-5G plan, which lowers the total cost of getting the iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, this plan also offers the lowest amount of data.

Highest Tier Plans For iPhone 12 Pro Max

Chargeable StarHub ($155 Mobile+) SingTel (X0108) M1 ($40 base + $195 addon)
Monthly Subscription $155 ($3,720 in 24 mths) $118 ($2,832 in 24 mths) $235 (LTE) ($5,640)
[Optional: $250 (5G+extra 15GB of data) ($6,000 – $60)]
iPhone 12 Pro Max Upfront Cost 128GB – $249
256GB – $409
512GB – $709
128GB – $518
256GB – $668
512GB – $968
128GB- $160
256GB- $260
512GB- $560
SMS 1000 500 1000
Data 120GB 80GB 112GB (127GB with Booster) ($10 discount for 6 months)
Outgoing (mins) 1000 500 Unlimited
Monthly Caller ID rates FREE  $5.35 ($128.40 in 24 mths)  $5.35 ($128.40 in 24 mths)
Activation of Caller ID FREE $10.70 $10.70
Cost over 24 Months 128GB – $3,969
256GB – $4,129
512GB – $4,429

 

128GB – $4,119.10
256GB – $2,839.10
512GB- $3,139.10
128GB – $5,939.10
256GB – $6,039.10
512GB- $6,339.10 [Optional (5G):
128GB – $6,169.10 ($6,229.10 – $60)
256GB – $6.279.10 ($6,339.10 – $60)
512GB – $6,639.10 ($6,699.10 – $60)]

The upfront cost of the iPhones 12 Pro Max are much lower when you get higher tier plans. You can get the iPhone 12 Pro Max for as little as $160 when signing up with M1. Of course, the trade-off is that the monthly plans are also much more costly – amounting to over $5,600 for M1’s LTE plan.

When making comparisons to the total price across 24 months, StarHub offers the lowest total cost in spite of charging a higher upfront cost for its phone.

#2 Sim-Only Plan Vs Major Telco Companies

Sim-only plans have been a popular choice for consumers who are looking for a plan with cheaper prices. Before looking at Sim-only plans, it is important to note that these plans are not enabled with 5G currently. For this comparison, we will be using the three most popular Sim-only providers: Giga, Circles.Life, and TPG.

Sim Only Plans (currently without 5G)

Sim-Only Telco Companies Giga! Circles Life TPG
iPhone 12 Pro Max Upfront Cost 128GB- $1,799
56GB- $1,969
512GB- $2,299
from Apple Store
$0 upfront,
93/month (128GB)
128GB- $1,799
56GB- $1,969
512GB- $2,299
from Apple Store
Registration cost FREE $38, waived FREE
Cost of Additional Data $10 for 10GB + 100 min + 100 SMS $18 for 100GB at 4G speeds $1/1GB exceeded data
Free Incoming calls FREE $2/month FREE
Monthly Cost $20 ($480 over 24 mths) $93/month for 24 months ($2,232 over 24 mths) $10 ($240 over 24 mths)
SMS 200 NA 30
Data 20GB 20GB 50GB
Outgoing (mins) 200 100 (Free 200 mins)
Inclusive of incoming calls
300
Monthly Caller ID rates FREE FREE FREE
Activation of Caller ID FREE FREE FREE
Cost over 24 Months 128GB – $2,279 256GB – $2,449
512GB – $2,799
128GB – $2,232
256GB – $2,401
512GB – $2,731
128GB – $2,039
256GB – $2,209
512GB – $2,539

From the three options, Circles.Life is the only company to provide an option for $0 upfront cost for its customers. When choosing this option, the cost of the phone will be spread over a 24 months period when paying with POSB or OCBC credit cards.

In terms of the cheapest total cost over 24 months, TPG offers the cheapest rate, with a monthly subscription of $10. This is a better deal than even if you got a 24-month contract on the cheapest plan. However, you will have to pay the full cost of the phone upfront or look for alternative installment plan options.

Cheapest Major Telco Plan VS Sim-Only Plan

The cheapest plan (over 24 months) you can get from the major telco companies is the M1 $40 base plan. From the Sim-only plan category, the cheapest plan is the TPG Sim-Only plan.

  M1 ($40 base plan) TPG
Monthly Subscription $40 (LTE) ($960 in 24 mths) $10 ($240 over 24 mths)
iPhone 12 Pro Max Upfront Cost 128GB- $1,270
256GB- $1,420
512GB- $1,720
128GB- $1,799 256GB- $1,969
512GB- $2,299
SMS 100 30
Data 20GB 50GB
Outgoing (mins) 100 300
Monthly Caller ID rates $5.35 ($128.40 in 24 mths) FREE
Activation of Caller ID (one-time cost) $10.70 FREE
Total cost over 24 Months 128GB – $2,369.10
256GB – $2,519.10
512GB – $2,819.10
128GB – $2,039.00
256GB – $2,209.00
512GB – $2,539.00

While these two plans allow you to spend the least amount of money over 24 months, they offer little to no subsidies on the upfront cost of the phone. You must either make the full payment of the upfront cost or utilise the Apple Installment plans with one of the supported banks.

Read Also: 5 Factors To Consider When Choosing A SIM-Only Mobile Plan During Work-From-Home

#3 Extra Privileges From Various Telco Companies

On top of the subsidies from various telco companies that are made available for all customers, each telco company provides different forms of special privileges for its customers, according to their status.

Telco New Customers Transfer Customers from other telco companies Universal & Recontract Extra Privilege
SingTel $50 $50 $50 $100 off when upgrading to a higher XO plan
StarHub $200 $200 NA NA
M1 $200 $200 NA $100 off when using CitiBank Credit Cards
$120 off when using M1 CitiBank Credit cards

If you are using a CitiBank card to pay for your phone, M1 provides a maximum of $120 discount upfront cost of the phone which applies to recontract, new customers and customers transferring from other telco companies. The $50 discount from SingTel is already included in the upfront cost of the phone. If you are upgrading from the base XO plan to a higher tier XO plan, you will be eligible for an additional $100 discount on the price of the phone.

If you are intending to sign up for a new line or transfer your number to StarHub or M1, you will be eligible for a $200 discount on the upfront cost of the phones. By applying all the discounts provided by M1, the upfront cost of the iPhone 12 Pro Max from M1 can receive a maximum reduction of $320.

Conclusion: M1 Provides the Most Subsidies with Some Caveats

If you are looking to get the new iPhone 12 Pro Max with a basic plan, M1 provides the best upfront and total cost over 24 months within the three major telco companies, whether or not it comes with 5G. This comes with the condition that you will have to fulfill the conditions of paying for the phone with an M1 Citibank Credit card ($120 discount) and being a new customer to M1 ($200 discount), which includes customers transferring to M1.

In our comparison, we compared the cheapest plan from the three major telco companies with the cheapest Sim-Only plan. While you can get the iPhone 12 Pro Max at a cheaper price over 24 months with the TPG Sim-Only plan, you would be required to pay the full upfront cost of the phone unless you are taking advantage of any installment plans. It is important to keep in mind that while these two plans are cheapest, they do not come with 5G on default. In M1’s case, you would have to buy 5G booster packs which start from $15.

For the category of the highest tier plan from each telco company, M1 provides the cheapest upfront cost for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. With that said, it is also the most expensive plan over 24 months. In this regard, the cheapest high-end plan (over 24 months) from the three major telco companies is the StarHub $155 plan.

While there are cheap mobile phone deals for the iPhone 12 out there, it is worth considering if 5G is a necessity for you. After all, some may find it justified to pay extra to take advantage of the fastest internet speeds on their new phones.

Read Also: Should You Buy A iPhone 12 or Samsung Note 20 If You Don’t Need 5G Technology?