In a press release yesterday, telco Starhub announced that it will introducing new mobile plans fit for users who burn through their monthly data allowance like wildfire.
Said Wang Li-Na, Head of Product & Marketing at Starhub, “Faster 4G technologies have catalysed the adoption of data-intensive services, and our customers are now sharing more and watching for longer on their smartphones. With SurfHub, we want to continue giving our Hubbing customers the best value, which is what StarHub is known for.”
The plans listed in the press release offer mobile data from 12 to 24GB a month, and prices range from $96.56 to $156.56.
Its largest plan before the announcement was the 4G 12, which offers 12GB worth of data on 4G and unlimited calls and SMSes, but costs a whooping $220 a month.
Rivals Singtel and M1‘s largest plans are the Combo 12 (12GB) at $239.90 and Max+ (13GB) at $228.
12GB Plans Are Not New
Previously, the three telcos were actually offering 12GB data plans to users, but in 2012, these plans were discontinued, with Starhub taking the lead in the GB-xit.
We previously wrote an article giving reasons as to why the telcos, as compared to taking advantage of Singaporeans’ reliance on data (and thus willingness to pay for it), dropped the plans alongside their potential profits and our hopes and dreams.
Basically, it was an issue of the surge in mobile data users resulting in slower and lower quality networks. Singaporeans are a bunch who love value for their money, so the telcos decided that keeping the plans modest was the best way to go – back then.
However, measly data plans simply don’t cut it for the majority of Singaporeans, and with rivals like MyRepublic and Circles.Life declaring war on the big three with the promise of attractive packages, the giants need to fight to retain their customer bases as well.
Not All Singaporeans Are Impressed
While the potential of not needing to tiptoe around monthly data limits does sound promising, not many Singaporeans are impressed by the hefty price tag that comes with it.
Personally, I think that while 12GB is definitely tempting, the talktime and SMS options can definitely be cut down (and thus, the price too). I’m currently on a rival company’s plan which offers me flexibility in tweaking it to my usage habits – it’s not cheap, but I definitely appreciate the freedom that comes with it.
And it seems like with the increase in Singaporeans communicating via text (and even calls) using services like Whatsapp, Line, Skype and Viber, talktime and SMSes are concurrently becoming archaic and simply a waste of space on mobile plans.
4G coverage and speed has been steadily improving in Singapore, and alongside tech-forward South Korea, we have been listed as a ‘global leader’ in that aspect.
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) also announced that it will ensure that our local telcos’ 4G networks will cover at least 99% of outdoor areas from July 2017, and 99% in tunnels from January 2019.
IDA’s taking this very seriously – in fact, operators who fail to meet the standards have the possibility of being fined up to $50,000 a month for non-compliance.
As compared to the situation in 2012, I think it’s safe to say that telcos can now afford to bring back plans with large mobile data bundles, and as consumers, we should have the choice to pick the ones that will fit our lifestyles and budgets best.
Singtel and M1 – your turn.