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I Picked M1 for the Budget Sim Only Singapore Mobile Plan

My Mobile Plan’s 24 month contract is up.

And now M1 is charging me $37/mth for it. I got to do something about this.

As a frugal office worker, who travels from site to site, which new plans and which set up should I pick?

My Requirements

If you do not know what you want, you will have a hard time figuring out what is suitable to you.

I am a frugal budget user. I use only what I need. I need some outgoing calls and SMS as I need to make them for operation and support purpose.

I don’t need a new phone.

If my phone breaks down, I know I can get one for SG$200-300.

Here are my requirements:

3GB of data is just about enough. I never exceeded it but that is because I am rather careful with it. I wish it could be more so that I don’t have to keep looking over my shoulders.

100 SMS should be enough. Free incoming calls and SMS is a must.

I believe I can keep within 100 mins of talk time. If it comes close at most I rely on data calls.

Re-Contracting and Selling Off an iPhone

This used to be my go to option.

When you purchase a phone, the telecom company subsidizes part of the cost of the phone so that you will signed a 24 month contract with them.

In the past we used to re-contract, buy an Apple iPhone and sell it off. It is even better if you can get loyalty discount vouchers of $100 or more.

The contract value for my $40 budget plan is $300 and if you can get $150 more on top of that its a good deal.

The best phone do that is the hottest phone out there and that is the iPhone X.

Re-contracting my i-Lite+ for $28(after M1 corporate plan discount) I will probably pay $1,340 for the iPhone X.

We usually compute the 2 year cost of ownership and for this set up, it amounts to $28 x 24 mths + $1340 = $2012.

A check on Red White Mobile shows that currently, from the safe side, I can sell off the brand new iPhone X for $1900.

My average cost per month will become (2012 – 1900)/24 = $4.66/mth.

That is really cheap.

But I couldn’t get an iPhone X due to the high demand.

The iPhone 8 Plus 256GB will cost around $1,030. The 2 year cost of ownership is $1702. On Red White Mobile, the 8 Plus fetch for $1300.

My average cost per month will become (1702-1300)/24 = $28 16.75/mth

I realize I made a computation error (thanks to a reader pointing out to me). This would be my best option and something I should have picked.

However, you are tie in to the contract for 2 years.

Comparing the No Contract Sim Only  Across 4 Telecom Operators

I really like the new MVNO operator Circles Life.

I think they are modelling themselves like Ting in USA where they give great a great Android interface, lets you customize your plan, and monitor your usage.

Compare M1, Singtel, Starhub, Circles Life No Contract Sim Only Plans

Compare M1, Singtel, Starhub, Circles Life No Contract Sim Only Plans

Circles Life offering is competitive but it does not come with free incoming calls. You can add $2/mth however, to fulfill it.

They have the best data offering that fits my needs.

Singtel and Starhub has adequate data and Starhub comes up closest.

But if I were to signed a no contract, M1 would be the comfortable one with its balance of SMS and talk time.

However 2GB of data is quite a challenge to live with.

In the past 12 months, my usage have flirted close to the 3GB limit.

These prices, according to my needs is not far from re-contracting my plan and purchasing an iPhone 8 Plus.

Comparing the 12 Month Contract Sim Only  Across 4 Telecom Operators

Another option for me is to signed on a 12 month Sim Only contract.

12 month is a good enough time frame, if I can get a better ceiling for the services I need.

Compare M1, Singtel, Starhub, Circles Life 12 month Contract Sim Only Plans

Compare M1, Singtel, Starhub, Circles Life 12 month Contract Sim Only Plans

Again M1 looks the best option for the budget frugal travelling worker.

The data gets bumped to 5-6 GB/mth. This is good enough.

I am still constrained by the 100 mins talk time and 100 mins SMS. However, I have the option of telling people I will switch to data messaging and using data calling if necessary.

What separates M1 from the rest is that if I signed up for the corporate plan, while I do not get the previous 35% discount on my bill, I get 12 month free caller ID. That cost $5/mth (a bloody rip off of a vital service that is likely low cost to the telecom operator)

This gets Kyith’s requirement price down to $20/mth.

Over 1 year the cost of mobile telecom  bill becomes $240/mth.

I went with M1.

Service Quality of M1 (and some comments about Circles Life)

If you have switched telecom operators enough, you would have figured out the service quality.

I have only used Singtel and M1.

They are never equal.

Singtel has relatively good coverage, but on my Circle Line, I find the reception to be particularly bad. Same for the north south line.

Since I take Circle Line a lot, that is one of the reasons I was receptive to M1 in the past.

M1 is generally well covered in Singapore but there are some spotty areas.

The most spotty is the north east line (NEL) stretch lose to Serangoon MRT, Kovan MRT.

One of my 4G or 3G is very spotty there.

Circles Life is a MVNO that rides on M1 network, so it is likely the quality at best will match up to M1.

However, it is likely the quality at peak hours are given to M1’s customers over the MVNO’s customers so they are likely not technically the same.

From research on various channels, it seems Circles Life is livable but more spotty than M1.

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Raymond Chiam

Monday 13th of November 2017

i was struggling with the decision a couple of months back. one thing you didn't factor in, is probably the importance of caller ID. if you are willing to live without it, then M1 is $20 / mth. Otherwise, you got to factor in another $5, which Circles give FOC.

Caller ID is important if you miss a call and need to know who it is.


Monday 13th of November 2017

Hey Raymond, could you leave without it, in your line of work?

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