Singtel today launched Singapore’s first mobile plans featuring unlimited local data, phone calls, and text and multimedia messaging.
New subscribers to Singtel’s Combo 3, 6, and 12 plans will get unlimited talk time and SMS from today. They will also be able to purchase unlimited data as an add-on for about US$30 per month, which they can share with up to three family members for an additional US$8 per month.
Subscribers to Combo 6 and 12 plans will also be able to pick a free data roaming plan each month, worth up to US$26 per month, for use outside of Singapore.
Fierce competition has been sparked in Singapore’s telco space in the past couple of years. Regulators decided to open up the market to new players in February 2016, expanding the number of mobile network operator licenses from three to four. The arrival of “virtual operators” – which will lease infrastructure from current license holders – has further shaken up the landscape.
Back in March 2016, MyRepublic kicked off a price war when it pledged to offer 2GB of data for about US$5.80 per month if its bid to become Singapore’s fourth telco was successful (it wasn’t – the license ended up going to Australia’s TPG, with MyRepublic pivoting towards a virtual operator model).
The three incumbent licensees – M1, Singtel, and StarHub – followed up with their own competitive data plans within a couple of days.
While this driving-down of prices has, in theory, been great news for consumers, the new, extra-competitive environment has not come without problems for the rival companies. As mentioned above, MyRepublic ultimately lost out on becoming Singapore’s fourth licensed mobile operator and had to come up with a new strategy. In March, M1’s owners – including Singapore Press Holdings – said they would be exploring a potential sale of the company.
Warburg Pincus, China Broadband Capital, and even MyRepublic were said to be among the suitors, but M1’s shareholders eventually took the firm off the market due to an apparent lack of suitable bids.
Expect another price war to commence within the next few days.
Converted from Singapore dollar. Rate: US$1 = SG$1.35.
Update 10:59, September 17: The article previously said “existing customers” will have their plans upgraded. This has been changed to “new subscribers.”
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