Singapore’s second largest cellco by subscribers, StarHub, has unveiled a new range of SIM-only plans, designed to tap into a growing trend for mobile users in the city-state to buy their own smartphones and seek improved non-contract deals from the three incumbents. Amid increasing competition from its rivals Singtel and M1 – the latter launched a one-month SIM-only plan in July this year priced at SGD30 (USD21.4) for 3GB of data, 300 call minutes and 1,000 SMS, while Singtel followed suit with a ‘customisable’ SGD20 plan in September that also includes Singtel WiFi connectivity – StarHub has now rolled out SIM-only plans starting from SGD13.95 a month (300MB of data, 100 call minutes and 500 SMS), rising to SGD110 a month (12GB of data, and unlimited calls/texts).
With the domestic mobile market gearing up for the impending launch of a fourth operator, the incumbents have been revamping and improving their offers to shore up customer loyalty. Only last month, the Singaporean broadband disruptor MyRepublic strengthened its bid to secure the nation’s fourth mobile licence, launching a 4G data trial in the Jurong Lake District area. In the two-month live trial, the ISP is allowing 1,000 selected users to test its 4G voice and data services using a free Xiaomi 4 smartphone loaded with a MyRepublic SIM card. Moreover, as part of the newcomer’s charm offensive, it is promising a return to the days when people could browse the web with unlimited data plans – services, it notes, that Singtel, StarHub and M1 stopped providing in 2012 to the dismay of their customers. MyRepublic’s 4G trial is likely to conclude by the year-end, ahead of the upcoming bid for the fourth telco licence which is expected to be awarded by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) in Q1 2016. The ISP, however, will have to fight off bids from at least two rivals – Circles Asia and OMGtel – before it can then proceed to bid for spectrum frequency rights. If successful, MyRepublic will then be able to accelerate its commercial rollout, with a live service going online in late 2017.