Unlimited Data Plans Aren’t Relevant in S’pore Anymore

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Back when all three Singapore Telcos took away our 12 GB data bundles, we were devastated.

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As if to rub salt into the wound, you’ll be getting either 2 GB, 3 GB or 4 GB bundles while paying the same price.

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Your days of surfing the web and checking out YouTube was effectively over. Or streaming other types of videos. The incognito type.

Yeah, my colleague was devastated.

Their excuse for doing so? Because they want to limit usage of the 4G network so that they can free up the network and make it faster.

Yup, that was a bad time in history.

After suffering through that, can you blame us for being hungry for free Wifi?

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Then, in 2017, something magical happened.

Singtel, M1 and Starhub all coming up with their versions of unlimited data plans

Really?! Unlimited data plans?! If you didn’t know this, you’re living under a rock. Seriously.

Here’s what their plans look like.

Singtel

Image: Singtel

Singtel chose to go the add-on route. If you’re signed to a Combo 3 Mobile Plan and above, you can add unlimited data bundle to your plan for $39.90.

A bit pricey, but as long as you overshoot your normal data bundle by at least 4 GB, it’s worth the price. Which, well, I think you will.

Ah Hock loved Michelle and asked her, ‘Ai stead mai?’ in the 90s. Today, he tried again but would it work? Prepare some tissue paper and watch their love story here:

Starhub

Starhub chose to offer unlimited data only on weekends. Pretty smart since Singaporeans don’t have much time to use mobile data during the weekdays.

We’re usually at work or studying in school, which means…

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FREE WIFI!

M1

M1, on the other hand, decided not to go unlimited full on. Instead, they’re offering $40 for a 10 GB plan with 100 mins free talk time and 100 SMS / MMS.

If not, there’s still a $98 plan and you can YouTube your way home every day.

But then again, is unlimited data a good thing for us?

To answer this question, you’ll need to look back at the past. What was the reason for the three major telcos capped their data bundle for the users?

Because you’ve got to remember that data back in the past was practically unlimited. Yes, we can’t finish using 12 GB worth of data back then.

It’s because of network congestion.

Think of the network as an expressway. And each car is a person using the network. What happens if everyone starts using the network every time of the day?

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Yup, a jam occurs and you’ll start experiencing slower network connections.

It’s not so unlimited after all

That’s why even though telcos today are offering unlimited data, there’s a small little clause within that you might not have paid attention to.

There’s a limit on your data bundle, or what they call fair usage. The moment you exceed that, your network connection will be slowed down until your new month starts.

While this is to prevent abuse…isn’t unlimited about abuse?

But here’s the thing, do you really need unlimited data?

Unlimited data sounds good. Really, really good. But the question is whether it’s something you really need.

Say, you’ve already gotten use to the current way of using your data. Would you be willing to spend extra money for data you might potentially not use?

I mean, there are so many workarounds today to deal with limited data that I can safely say most Singaporeans do not really need unlimited data.

Plus, plenty of video streaming apps allow you to download videos for offline watching. Netflix for one allows you to download many of its shows and watch in full HD glory while you’re in the train – you won’t have to KPKB when the bars in the your phone started to drop and the video buffers at the most inappropriate time (and then kena Stomped).

My colleague who watches Netflix, and who has unlimited data plan, still downloads the shows.

Even if you watch YouTube or Facebook videos, you can optimise the data by selecting video qualities that doesn’t require too much data to stream. In fact, the default setting, if you’re using data, is the lowest quality.

Even music, if you happen to be a Singtel user, you can sign up with Spotify and stream music all day long at no data charges.

Least of all, free Wifi exists everywhere in Singapore, from Starbucks outlets to within shopping malls as well. Singtel user? Step into West Mall and your phone will run faster than Usain Bolt.

So the question is, do you really need unlimited data?

If you save extra $50 per month, you’ll get $1,200 in two years. That’s the price of one or two phones – without contract.

Yah, while we were all waiting for a data war, we might now realize that apps, and society, has adapted so fast, the data war we’ve been anticipating turned out to be so un-interesting.

Do come back to the Goody Feed app tomorrow for more commentary!