Here's why telcos revived their unlimited data plans
The big three are scrambling to secure subscribers as new players enter the fray.
Mobile operators M1, StarHub, and Singtel have reintroduced unlimited plans, more than five years after they were abolished. RHB Research thinks this as a tactical move to secure subscribers ahead of new mobile entrants.
According to a report, the revised plans coincided with the timing of new device launches in 4Q2017 where recontracting activities are typically the strongest.
M1 was the first to unveil its upgraded 4G SIM-only plan last August, which offers unlimited data on a 12-month contract for $98.
StarHub’s unlimited offerings, meanwhile, are confined to weekends, whilst Singtel’s customers on the Combo 3, 6, and 12 handset bundled plans can opt for unlimited data for an additional $39.9 per month.
"Broadly, we see the unlimited offerings as ARPU-accretive as they are higher ARPU plans (encourages up-trading). At the low end of the market, Circles.Life’s $28 per month data bundled contract-free plan (6GB – which is an additional 2GB data on top of 4GB base data for port-in customers, 100min voice and unlimited WhatsApp) remains popular," the team said.
The new mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) and TPG are projected to focus on the low to mid-end of the market via attractive data bundles.
MyRepublic (MR) is expected to offer a dual bundle service, with a mobile and fixed broadband, to differentiate itself from its MVNO peers and give its bigger rivals a run for their money. TPG is also expected to do the same, which it has successfully done in the Australian market.
Ahead of its 4G mobile licence bid which it lost to TPG in late 2016, MR had committed to reviving unlimited mobile data at $80 per month if it was successful in becoming the country’s fourth mobile operator.
Unlimited device bundled data plans by the big three telcos in Singapore are currently priced from $98 to $279.8.
"Unlike the incumbents, we think the new players would be less compelled to partake in aggressive handset subsidies but instead offer instalment plans for handsets or peddle mid-end phones at promotional rates," the team said.