Singapore Telecommunication Limited Jumps into the Unlimited Mobile Data War

Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGX: Z74) is looking to increase the pressure in a data package war that has been ongoing.

Data consumption is on the rise. For context, in the second quarter, StarHub Ltd (SGX: CC3) reported that data usage per customer had increased from 3.3 GB a year ago to 4.0 GB. For M1 Ltd (SGX: B2F), data usage was up from 3.3 GB last year to 3.9 GB in its second quarter. For the same period, Singtel reported an average smartphone data usage of 2.8 GB.

As traditional telecom services like SMS, IDD calls and voice calls are being replaced by OTT apps, Singapore’s’ telcos are shifting its focus towards data packages.

It’s war!

On 9 March 2016, Singtel got the ball rolling by offering “DataX2”. As its name may suggest, the option will double the existing plan’s data allowances for a flat monthly fee.

The next day, M1 responded with an Upsized Data option to new and existing customers. The Upsized Data option will boost data allowances by between 2GB to 12GB depending on the mobile subscription plan. StarHub was not far behind, launching on a Plus 3 option on the same day as M1. The option offers to boost existing data allowances by 3GB for a $3 monthly fee, at the time.

In mid-September 2016, Singtel upped the ante by offering “DataX3”. This is in same vein as DataX2 but offers to triple the data allowances. In November 2016, M1 released two new plans, the Upsized Data Plus (offering an additional 4GB to 24GB) and the Upsized Data Super (adding 6GB to 36 GB).

At the end of April 2017, StarHub came in with “DataJump”, which provides the option to increase data allowances between 5GB and 20GB on existing mobile plans.

But that was not the end.

Going all way

At the end of August this year, M1 announced Singapore’s first unlimited 4G mobile plan called “mySIM 98” for $98 per month. On the same day, StarHub rolled out new plans which offered unlimited data usage on the weekends.

On Friday, Singtel responded with an unlimited data plan option.

Existing Combo 3, 6 and 12 mobile customers will be upgraded to unlimited talk and SMS. With an add-on of $39.90 per month, Singtel is also offering unlimited local data with its new “DATA X INFINITY” plan. Notably, the announcement shifts the attention away from talk and SMS, and into data as the new battleground.

It would seem like data is now headed down the path of offering unlimited usage. The humble SMS, which started off with usage caps, ultimately ended up as a default offering.

We will have to observe what happens next.

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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.