Singapore Telcos’ Data Wars: Singapore Telecommunications Limited’s View of the Battleground

Data consumption by mobile users in Singapore is on the rise.

As traditional telecom services such as SMS, IDD calls, and voice calls are being replaced by OTT (over-the-top) apps, Singapore’s telcos appear to be shifting their focus toward data packages. In their efforts, the telcos have been offering customers options to upsize their data plans.

Data wars

On 9 March 2016, Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGX: Z74) got the ball rolling by offering its DataX2 option. As the name suggests, the option will allow Singtel’s subscribers to double their data allowances for a flat monthly fee. Soon after, Singtel’s peers, StarHub Ltd (SGX: CC3) and M1 Ltd (SGX: B2F), responded with similar plans.

In mid-September 2016, Singtel upped the ante by offering DataX3. This is in the same vein as DataX2, but with offers to triple the data allowances. During Singtel’s fiscal third-quarter (the quarter ended 31 December 2016) earnings briefing, the telco’s chief executive officer, Yuen Kuan Moon, commented on the progress of the DataX3 plan:

“With regards to the performance of DataX3 since we launched it, we’re encouraged by our customers’ response in signing up for DataX3. They not only have traded up, continuing the previous trend of DataX2. We are seeing a lot more up trading than down trading.”

The consumption of videos by mobile users is driving the need for more data. Yuen said:

“It frees them to use data because it’s now very affordable, and the allowances are giving them a lot more options to watch videos and do other things on their mobile phone.”

The competition to offer more data at attractive prices is not expected to subside. In November 2016, M1 had rolled out two new Upsized Data options: Upsized Data Plus and Upsized Data Super. You can read about M1’s views of the data package market here.

It is likely that competitive pressure in the data space is still high. We will have to see what happens in the next quarter and beyond.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chin Hui Leong doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.