Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

No Contract SIM-Only Plans

The needs of mobile phone users have changed the last couple of years. Some of us prefer to buy our phones from non-telco sources, while others don’t need to change their phones all that often. Furthermore, many of us prefer not to be bound to a contract. It’s like getting a prepaid SIM, but having the benefits of postpaid plans.


Finally, all three telcos have begun to offer contract-free SIM-only plans this year. The latest to join in was SingTel, about two months ago. That’s good news for those looking for these sort of mobile plans. Unfortunately, it turns out that the offerings from the three telcos are more varied that I’d like.

Other postpaid plans, those that are tied to a contract, then to be more comparable between the different telcos. You don’t often find yourself choosing a telco on the basis of the plan alone. It’s different with contract-free SIM-only plans.

M1 offers four plans.

M1 mySIM 30 mySIM 45 mySIM 75 mySIM 125
Monthly Subscription $30 $45 $75 $125
Voice (min) 300 400 800 Unlimited
SMS 1000 1200 2000 Unlimited
Data 3 GB 4 GB 7 GB 13 GB

SingTel purports to give you the greatest flexibility by starting with a very low monthly subscription, then lets you add-on SMS, voice, and data to suit your needs. Their monthly subscription starts at $20, which comes only with 3 GB of data (plus 2 GB of Wi-Fi). Now, you’d likely need a bit of SMS and a bit of voice. SMS starts at $5.35 for 1200 messages. Voice starts at $5.35 for 200 minutes. So comparing with M1, the starting cost from SingTel that includes a bit of SMS (200 more than M1) and a bit of voice (100 minutes less than M1) will cost a little bit more than M1 (or maybe the same, depending on how GST which isn’t very clearly stated).

On StarHub, there are 6 plans. They are basically the same as their ordinary 4G postpaid plans, but with the price halved. Here are the SIM-only plans.

StarHub 4G 300M 4G 3 4G 4 4G 5 4G 6 4G 12
Monthly Subscription $13.95 $21.45 $31.45 $41.45 $51.45 $110
Voice (mins) 100 150 350 450 700 Unlimited
SMS 500 1000 1200 1300 1500 Unlimited
Data 300 MB 3 GB 4 GB 5 GB 6 GB 12 GB

I’ll assume we all need data, and 300 MB is really not enough, so realistically, on StarHub, we’re looking at the 4G 3 plan and upward. That’s $21.45, which seems pretty attractive.

Let’s now compare the plans from the three telcos at 4 usage levels, corresponding to those offered by M1, since they have the least options.

M1 SingTel StarHub
Basic Voice $30 300 $30.70 200 $21.45 150
SMS 1000 1200 1000
Data 3 GB 3 GB 3 GB
Mid-Low Voice $45 400 $36.05 200 $31.45 350
SMS 1200 1200 1200
Data 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB
Mid-High Voice $75 800 $52.10
800 $51.45 700
SMS 2000 1200 1500
Data 7 GB  6 (7) GB 6 GB
Top-End Voice $125 Unlimited $105.60 Unlimited $110 Unlimited
SMS Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Data 12 GB 13 GB 12 Gb

Comparatively, you’ll see that StarHub offers the lowest cost plan, at $21.45. It has the same data bundled as M1 and SingTel (I don’t count the Wi-Fi), but it has the lowest bundled voice minutes. For almost $10 lesser than M1 and SingTel, it seems like a good deal. However, if you really need lots of voice minutes at your basic tier, then go with M1. SingTel is the most expensive at the starting level.

At the “Mid-Low” level, one up from the basic tier, StarHub is also the cheapest. It may have 50 less voice minutes than M1, but at almost $15 cheaper, you could say StarHub is the clear winner.

At the “Mid-High”, go with either StarHub or SingTel. M1 is too costly.

At the top-end, SingTel is the cheapest at $105.60.

M1 doesn’t seem to be particularly competitive. Their strength is only in the entry-level basic tier, useful if you need to talk a lot and hence benefit from their 300 voice minutes.

Note that these prices do not include Caller-ID, which I believe most people will want to have. Also, there may be charges on the SIM card itself. M1 is waiving the SIM card cost till end of this year for new line signups. StarHub charges $37.45, but occasionally has promotions offering free SIM cards (like right now). SingTel appears to be charging $48.15 for registration and SIM card.


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