Published on April 25th, 2013 | by Gerald Chan0
Will SingTel kill my grandfathered mobile plan?
A bit of movement in the mobile phone scene this week. Firstly, SingTel announced that their 4G network covers 95% of the island for street level coverage.
Next up, we have the Samsung S4 launch which will see a great number of people hopping onto the 4G network en masse. Although the HTC One was released a week prior, response towards the phone is rather muted (I think the HTC One is superior to the Samsung S4 overall).
And lastly, we have an announcement by Starhub who would be making moves change their awesome per second billing policy to one that charges a full minute for the first minute from May 1 2013. Talk time past the first minute would be charged per second.
I won’t be surprised if SingTel starts to make moves to kill off my grandfathered mobile plan soon. At present I am receiving a generous 12GB of data monthly, while those that are on the same plan would only enjoy 2GB of data. After all, mobile networks in the US already did that back when the iPhone 5 was first launched.
Unlike 3G networks, 4G networks are pretty much better in every aspect and this serves to benefit the telcos more than ever. With a 4G network, more users can hop on without crowding out each other as compared to the 3G network. So, it actually does not hurt the telco in anyway to have more customers on the network. With a reduced data cap, telcos will be able to easily juggle more users and earn more off them at the same time. With a 4G network, you would be able to easily surf more pages in the same amount of them as compared to a 3G network. Going past your data cap would be easily achieved. In the past, due to the slow network, I was only able to consume at most 2-3GB of data. But on a 4G network, consuming 5-6GB of data is a norm for me. Imagine if I was on the new plan with a cap of 2GB.
SingTel has implemented a more ‘generous’ fee should one exceed their monthly cap since the launch of 4G. This just illustrates how large the capacity the 4G networks afford.
Fair? No. Good business sense? Yes.
And it would be good business sense for SingTel to actually start going after those that are on grandfathered plans once more 4G phones become the norm in Singapore or even start charging for a user’s access to 4G speeds.
According to SingTel’s microsite, it is indicated that their “4G service is offered at the same price as 3G until otherwise determined by SingTel”, whilst M1’s disclaimer states that monthly subscriptions for 4G VAS (Value Added Service) will be waived “until further notice”. StarHub’s message is a little more specific. Under their SmartSurf plans, it is highlighted that charges for the Speed Boost VAS is waived till 31st December 2013. What that in mind, there is a possibility that telcos may “adjust” the price plans after the “free” 4G incentive ends.
Oh boy, once again, the consumer is at the mercy of the telco and with all of them singing the same tune, it is but just a matter of time.