Opinion: StarHub Announcement of Charging 4G comes with twist

When StarHub announced that they will be charging 4G service from June 2014, many took the matter to Social Media to express their disappointment/anger. The people are right to vent their anger, but StarHub is also right to charge for the 4G service.


Why is StarHub right?

Did you read the contract and all the terms and conditions when you sign up? If you have read the contract carefully, you will realize that the 4G is free for a limited time. In a response I saw on StarHub Facebook page, Someone was asking StarHub why they are charging the 4G service. Their first response was “straight from the book” which I am not interested. However, their second response interest me:

Hi XXXXXX, since the launch in September 2012, 4G Speed Boost has been offered free-of-charge as a promotion for a limited period. As with all promotions, there is an end date. The free 4G Speed Boost promotion which was originally scheduled to end on 31 December 2013, has been extended till 31 May 2014. We seek your understanding on this. Thanks!

So touching, right? StarHub has extended the promotion out of goodwill.

Why are people venting their anger on social media right?

Did StarHub explain to them that the 4G is free for a period of time only?

Did StarHub explain to them that 4G is a VAS (Value Added Service) and NOT a plan?

They gave up their 3G plan with 12GB data for a 4G plan with 2GB or 3GB data when they renew their contract. Of course, you can don’t renew. However, that means you cannot enjoy the subsidized handset pricing.

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So, who is wrong?

Before answering the question, lets go back to 2012. Remember the time we were enjoying 12GB of data on 3G and laughing at those countries that have to buy expensive data plan? One day, our Singapore Telcos decided that the future is 4G and upgraded their network. Actually it is a wonderful decision to improve the network.

At the same time, they decided that all new plans should come with 4G and lower data plan. Back then, 4G overage is not that comprehensive. So, in my opinion, that is the reason they did not charge the 4G service. Sounds OK right?

BUT.. if you piece up the story now, it is so twisted…

Let me put them in point form

  • We enjoyed 3G and 12 GB of data plan previously.
  • Telcos upgraded by adding 4G network
  • Telcos decided that new subscription will get only 2GB or 3GB of data instead of 12GB. Customers with 4G handset will enjoy 4G speed.
  • In 2014, StarHub decided to charge for 4G at promo price of S$2.14 (instead of S$10.70)
  • Customers can opt out by not buying this 4G Boost Service. That means they will use the 3G network.

Did you see what I see (that makes it so twisted)? See again…

  • 2012 – We enjoyed 3G network with 12 GB of data
  • 2014 – We will “enjoy” 3G network again with 2GB or 3GB of data unless we pay for 4G.

In the span of 2 years, StarHub literally reduced our data plan from 12GB to 2GB/3GB and throw us back to 3G network unless we pay for the 4G service.

You can read StarHub FAQ on 4G Speed Boost Service Here

So, do you have the answer of who is wrong?

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Judging from experiences, I predict that other Telcos will be doing similar tactics like when they reduced our data plan in 2012.

Why make a fuss over S$2.14?

If you are still reading my post, you might think that why I make a fuss over the “small” amount of this VAS.

Last week, I had an awakening. While discussing with some friends about this announcement,  someone mentioned something that really jolt me to reality. Like some people, I will just pay up the S$2.14 and get on my life. However, during the conversation, he mentioned “What if this person is not that well-off and a dollar is a dollar more?”

Final Thoughts

As mentioned, these are just my opinions or ranting. However, if StarHub or other Telcos are reading this, I guess your customers will be interested in the answers to these questions: –

  • Is your 4G coverage 100%?
  • Are your customers enjoying the 4G speed as stated in the FAQ?
  • What if I lived in an area that is partially or not covered by 4G?

By charging customers with a service, expectations go higher and service standard must also improved.

My beloved friends and readers, what are your thoughts? Maybe we can pool them together so that everyone can have a broader view of this issue.