I saved money by NOT recontracting my mobile plan

Singaporeans typically recontract their mobile phone plans every 1.5-2 years for a new mobile phone. It’s the norm because mobile phones either don’t last that long, or the user experience gets really bad after a few Android/iOS updates.

Not a great way to save money if you asked me.

The last time I signed a contract with my local telco was at least 6 years ago when they were still offering 12 GB data plans on 3G network. Since then, I have always bought mobile phones at full price (or slightly discounted rates through friends) to replace damagedĀ ones directly from mobile phone dealers.

If you look at the costs of our mobile plans over the years, they are getting more and more expensive for the value they bring. Offering discounts for mobile phones to lock you in a 2-year contract with telcos is a good gimmick that secures telcos with recurring revenue bya one-off discount.

Here’s how my mobile phone’s consumption is like for the past 6 months.

Month Local Incoming Local Outgoing Local SMS Local Data
May 93.5 mins 81.2 mins 9 messages 6.44 GB
June 19.4 mins 32.3 mins 0 messages 5.36 GB
July 22.6 mins 13.3 mins 8 messages 9 GB
August 46.3 mins 25 mins 2 messages 9.74 GB
September 42.2 mins 2.2 mins 2 messages 11.14 GB
October 42.2 mins 2.2 mins 6 messages 11.14 GB

You probably guessed it! I’m still using the 3G mobile plan with 12 GB data for costs me less than $29 per month.

Until my telco discontinues the 3G network like what they are doing to the 2G network right now, I doubt I would be changing my plan in the near future because the postpaid mobile plans based on my usage are 7-8 times of what I’m paying right now!

Telco Local Incoming Local Outgoing Local SMS Local Data Monthly Subscription
SingTel Free Unlimited Unlimited 12 GB $239
M1 Free Unlimited 5000 13 GB $228
Starhub Free Unlimited Unlimited 12 GB $220

I think there are more like-minded individuals who are no longer signing contracts for their mobile plans because all the telcos have started offering SIM only mobile plans over the past 2 years. Although SingTel is getting there with its 1-for-1 add-on deal, it’s still 60% more expensive than my current mobile plan.

Telco Local Incoming Local Outgoing Local SMS Local Data Monthly Subscription
SingTel Free 150 mins 500 13 GB $46.75
M1 Free 800 mins 2000 11 GB $75
Starhub Free Unlimited Unlimited 12 GB $110

The savings I get by choosing not to sign a new 2-year contract with my telco is more than sufficient to buy a new iPhone every year with enough change to spend on accessories. That said, I don’t buy a new mobile phone every year.

So the next time you intend to sign a new contract with your telco to get a new mobile phone on a discount, I hope you reconsider your decision because the new mobile plan may work out to be more expensive than you think!

Leave a Comment:

9 comments
james says November 8, 2016

the mobile plan u comparing with …wasn’t the best deal.

https://www.m1.com.sg/personal/mobile/plans/mysim

look at upsize data for $5.90

Reply
    Mickey J says November 8, 2016

    Hi James,

    Fair point. However, when I compared at sim-only plans, I was referring to plans that did not require a contract. To qualify for the upsize data add-on for $5.90/mth requires me to sign up for a 12-month contract. However, it’s good to know that if I were to sign a 12-month contract, the M1’s mySIM+45 plan allows me to get 12 GB of data for $50.90 during my contract period and $54.90 per month after the contract expires. SingTel still offers a better deal for SIM only mobile plans.

    Reply
      james says November 9, 2016

      Singtel’s plan include singtel wifi.
      Not all 4G data

      Reply
        Mickey J says November 9, 2016

        You are right. I deliberately ignore SingTel wifi in my case study because my data usage is mostly outdoors and not in places like shopping malls and fast food restaurants.

        Reply
LP says November 8, 2016

Hi Mickey,

But not all data is the same. Having experienced 4G, I don’t think I can stand 3G anymore. It’s a climbing UP onto a hedonistic treadmill, really. I’m currently using less than 1Gb and to do that, i have to switch off certain things (like no pics when using mobile data, no youtube, less fb etc), but I get used to it after a while. It’s climbing DOWN the hedonistic treadmill, HAHA

Reply
    Mickey J says November 9, 2016

    I tend to agree with you. I was given a corporate phone with 4G network in my previous role and yes it’s really fast.

    It takes some getting used to when switching back to 3G after that but because of most of my usage (mostly music on Spotify, cycling data on Strava, etc.), I don’t require high speed data most of the time but high data bandwidth for sure.

    Reply
blancfable says November 8, 2016

Did you know that the telcos are subsidising $500 for a new iphone 7 for a $42 only plan?

Your data usage is very high comparatively to my usage of 3GB a month.

And with the extra data upsize provided by James, I don think your way now is a great way to save.

Reply
    Mickey J says November 9, 2016

    High data usage is really up to individual preferences and in my case, it’s more of the way I use my data for work and fitness.

    The extra data upsize by SingTel is decent, but it requires me to be in a contract. That’s not to mentioned that there will be a subscription fee tagged on to it later on.

    $500 subsidy is nice but the reality is that mobile plans today still costs more than older plans that have been discontinued.

    Reply
    Dan says November 10, 2016

    Especially when now it’s so easy to buy contract phone and sell it away to “earn” the spread.

    Reply
Add Your Reply

Get Retirement Tips and Tricks!

Have tips on personal financing, retirement planning and investment tips delivered to your email.
First Name
Last Name
Email address
Secure and Spam free...