Update (6th June): Just to clarify, there is a cap for the new SingTel plans. The data charge will be capped at S$88 (S$94.16 w/GST). And if you do not recontract after 1st July, you can still stay on the old plan (free 12GB data). New plan will be in effect after 1st July. If you recontract now, you can still choose the old plan.
SingTel made a very big announcement that is going to affect many of the current SingTel users from 1st July 2012. With the introduction of the new 4G network island wide, SingTel has also made changes to the current subscription plan, which I think many will be very unhappy about it.
With the new SingTel Flexi and iFlexi plan for 4G services, users with 4G enabled handsets will be able to enjoy the high data speed. Currently, there is no information on the data plans. SingTel will release them from 1st July 2012 according to the Press Release.
Therefore, I suspect the PR is to address the change in the current subscription from 1st July 2012. What surprises me is that the new plans actually increases the local SMS bundle. According to Straits Times recently, SMS usage has been dropping and SingTel, as a provider of such service, actually increases the bundle thinking that people will benefit from it.
Based on the PR, it mentions 10% of their subscribers are heavy SMS users and about 10% of the subscribers are heavy data users (not sure if heavy means more than 2GB usage per month). It sounds logical since the cost per SMS (above the cap) is 5.35 cents/SMS while for the new data plan, it is S$5.35/GB (check the details in PR).
However, if I read it carefully, there is NO CAP for data usage. Previously, the data is capped at S$30/month for unlimited data usage. I believe this is gone with the new plan. It has been replaced by a cheaper per Gigabyte cost (which SingTel claims in the PR is a 500 times reduction).
This is the current SingTel plan.
Enough of my ranting. However, I am sure the rest (of the Telcos) will follow soon. This will be the end of our nice data plan. However, I am sure network congestion will ease after that. In a business sense, this seems to be the way to go to ease congestion and reduce the cost of increasing equipment to cope with the data traffic increase.
Here is the Press Release
SingTel launches Singapore’s first 4G service for smartphones
Unveils new tiered 3G and 4G plans to ensure high-quality, consistent experience
Singapore 4 June 2012 – Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel) today announced the launch of Singapore’s first 4G service for consumer smartphone users. SingTel is also introducing new Flexi and iFlexi plans with tiered data bundles from 1 July 2012 to ensure a high-quality and consistent mobile broadband experience for all subscribers.
Singapore’s first 4G smartphone service
From 5 June 2012, customers who purchase a 4G-enabled handset with a SingTel Flexi and iFlexi plan can enjoy the 4G service. Three handsets will be available at launch: HTC One XL, LG Optimus LTE and Samsung Galaxy S2 LTE.
SingTel’s 4G service will provide mobile Internet access that is up to five times faster than existing 3G-based smartphone services, with one-fifth of the network latency. Users can enjoy theoretical download speeds of up to 75Mbps and typical download speeds between 3.4Mbps and 12Mbps. SingTel will also introduce its Priority Pass traffic priority feature for the 4G service next year. This will provide subscribers with priority for their data traffic when the network is loaded, thus ensuring smoother streaming and downloads.
Islandwide rollout of SingTel’s 4G network is expected to be completed in early 2013. In areas where 4G has not yet been deployed, users will enjoy 3G connectivity with download speeds of up to 42Mbps. (Please refer to Annex 1 for 4G coverage maps.)
Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, SingTel’s CEO Consumer Singapore, said: “SingTel is excited to be the first to introduce Singapore consumers to the next generation of mobile services. We are pleased to offer it at the same price as existing 3G services. Increasingly, smartphone users are seeking higher speeds and more consistent performance for their digital lifestyle needs. 4G will enable our customers to enjoy bandwidth-hungry applications, such as multimedia streaming, games, cloud storage and video conferencing, on the move like never before.”
New tiered data plans for 3G and 4G users
SingTel’s new Flexi and iFlexi plans for 3G and 4G customers will offer data bundles ranging from 2GB to 12GB, as well as significantly more generous SMS bundles and higher data speeds. Charges for data usage beyond bundled allowances have been revised to $5.35 per gigabyte, which is approximately 500 times more affordable than the previous rate of $2.76 per megabyte. Approximately 10 per cent of SingTel’s subscribers who are heavy SMS users will save from the new improved SMS bundles. The plans will be available to all new and re-contracting customers from 1 July 2012, and will replace existing 3G Flexi and iFlexi plans.
Mr Yuen said: “We need to break away from the traditional one-size-fits-all approach, which is not sustainable in the long term. Today, 64 per cent of mobile data on our network is consumed by 10 per cent of our subscribers. This prevents the remaining 90 per cent from enjoying the full benefits of the network. With our tiered pricing model, subscribers will pay for what they use, and this ultimately allows us to keep prices for our plans the same over time despite rising network costs.”
Mr Yuen noted that based on current usage patterns, 90 per cent of subscribers should not incur higher charges, as their data consumption does not exceed the new bundles.
“At the same time, heavy users will benefit from the significantly reduced excess usage rates. Data traffic on our mobile networks has been growing at 62 percent each year since 2010 due to the tremendous growth of smartphones, tablets and mobile content. By encouraging fair usage of the network, we will be able to deliver consistently high-quality services for our customers,” he said.
Please visit www.singtel.com for more information.
Annex 1 – 4G coverage maps
Coverage at June 2012 (50%)
Coverage at December 2012 (80%)
Islandwide coverage in early 2013
 Five times faster than smartphone-based 14.4Mbps 3G service. Network latency will vary depending on the location of the web servers accessed by the user. 80% lower latency was measured for Singapore-based servers.
 42Mbps theoretical speed with typical download speeds between 1.7Mbps and 4.8Mbps
 Users will be charged $0.01 per 2KB of data up to a maximum of $5.35 per gigabyte block. The rate of $10.70/GB will apply for 4G customers after 1 Jan 2013.