This article was written in collaboration with Circles.Life. 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.
Based on the latest statistics provided by Data.gov.sg, the current mobile penetration rate in Singapore is 154.1% (as of May 2019), which means there are more mobile subscriptions than our total population in Singapore. This comes as no surprise as almost every adult in Singapore will have a mobile phone, with some of us having multiple lines to separate work and personal matters.
Signing up for a mobile data plan is primarily driven by individual needs. A youth who consumes Netflix videos and social media feeds 24/7 will opt for a higher tier mobile data plan than an old folk who primarily uses the call function. Logically, we will subscribe to a data plan that best meets our requirements.
However, there is no perfect plan in life. We are likely to incur some form of wastage when we sign up for mobile plans. For instance, my work involves watching Youtube and TikTok videos on the go and making calls via WhatsApp, which is why I have to choose a mobile data plan with 40GB of data each month. Conversely, I use only about 20 minutes of talktime out of the free 100 minutes.
On the other hand, my mom has a basic 5GB plan but uses only 1GB a month – though there are times when she exceeds the data limit after forgetting to connect to Wifi at home. That aside, she makes phone calls much more often using a cellular connection and thus needs more talktime. So while I am paying for a mobile plan that includes talktime that I don’t need, I am also paying for her plan that provides for excess data that she doesn’t use.
How Can We Save Money By Using A SIM-Only Mobile Data Plan As A Household
Instead of getting individual mobile plans for each person, have we ever thought of sharing one umbrella SIM-only mobile plan as a family or group.
Think of this as going to a chicken rice restaurant with your family or friends. Instead of ordering a single plate of chicken rice for each person, you order a whole chicken to share. Everyone in the group can decide on specific chicken parts they prefer, and how much they wish to eat.
The same logic applies for using a SIM-only mobile data plan as a household. For example, the Circles.Life Family Plan provides a total of 200GB of data, 500 minutes of talktime and 200 SMS (in case anyone in the family still uses it) that can be shared among up to six different lines.
This is great, including for families like mine. While my wife – who regularly exceeds her 12GB plan because she has to play Cocomelon cartoon on her phone for the kids – and I will have more than sufficient data for our work and personal usage, my parents can also use the talktime (and SMS) they need without having to worry that they may bust their own limit if they use an individual plan. The mobile data and talktime are available for anyone within the group to use so we don’t have to ration our individual consumption, as long as we don’t exceed the usage as a group. Even if my mom needs to use more than 5GB of data for a particular month, she can easily do so without worrying about exceeding her limit or having to upgrade to a higher tier plan.
Unlike going to a chicken rice restaurant where we may need at least 3 to 4 pax before it makes sense to order a whole chicken, the Circles.Life Family Plan works well with just two members (two lines) though you can add up to six lines.
At $25 per line ($50 in total), this is a competitive price compared to most SIM-only plans offered by telcos. Based on our latest SIM-Only Plan price comparison, the typical cost is about $25 or more for plans with more than 20GB of data each month. With the Circles.Life Family Plan, you can enjoy 100GB of data per line (assuming two lines) at just $25.
But it gets even better once we add more lines. For sharing among four lines, this will cost only $18 per line (or $70 in total) each month. And if we have six lines, the cost becomes only $15 per line (or $90 in total). This is as affordable, if not cheaper, than most basic SIM-only plans in the market.
|Number of lines||Cost per lines/month||Total Cost/month|
For sharing among six lines, we are still getting at least 30GB of data, 80 minutes of free talktime and 30 SMSes per line – with 20GB, 20 minutes and 20 SMSes remaining. This is probably sufficient even for heavy users who like to kill time with Netflix, social media videos or mobile games during their commute.
If you find this insufficient, simply top up $10 for unlimited talktime or $20 for 80GB additional data with 4G rollover. You can also subscribe to other add-on services including data roaming and parental control.
How Much Can I Save Based On A Group Of Four
Based on a group of four, this is how much they can expect to pay if every individual opts for a plan with at least 40GB of data and 100 minutes of talktime:
|Details of plans||Cost Of Plan|
|M1||– 30 GB + Free 10GB
– 100 minutes talktime
– No contract
|Singtel||– 20GB + Free 40GB
– 150 minutes talktime
– 12 months contract
|StarHub||– 30GB + 10GB
– 1000 minutes talktime
– No contract
|$20 (up $25)|
|Circles.Life||– 50GB of data
– 125 minutes talktime
– No contract
To be fair, the main telcos offer a decent deal, especially if they are having promotions, and I would definitely encourage you to get a SIM-only plan if you don’t need to get a new phone.
That said, from the simple comparison above, we can see that signing up for the Circles.Life Family Plan makes a lot of financial sense because we are paying less per line while getting a substantial amount of data to share among multiple users. Say, if we want to use 70GB a month and the other three members in our group use 40GB each month, we are still within the 200GB plan.
A Family Plan That Is Not Just For ‘Family’
Another thing I like about Circles.Life Family Plan is how inclusive the plan is. The plan doesn’t restrict you from including users based on criteria like home address. For example, while my parents live separately from me, they are still my immediate family members even though our NRIC may show two different home addresses.
For Circles.Life, family isn’t defined by blood. There is no need to prove our relationship with one another. If we have a domestic helper at home whom we regard as a member of our family, we can also include her in the plan. You can choose to sign up for a family plan with your extended family members, housemates, close friends or anyone you consider as part of your family!
Unlike traditional telcos that may require you to sign up for a fibre broadband contract plan before you can enjoy a discount on multiple lines, there are no contract required for Circles.Life Family Plan. You can enjoy more data, the flexibility to distribute data usage based on each family member’s needs and best of all, save money at the same time.