SingTel launches LTE at premium price

Melissa Chua

SingTel has extended its priority pricing model for mobile dongle data plans to its new FDD-LTE service, which will go live from 22 December.

The new service, available to both businesses and consumers, will cost S$69.90 per month ($53.50), more than double the carrier’s S$29.90 charge for its basic 3.6Mbps plan. 4G coverage is currently limited to selected high-traffic areas across the island, particularly in central Singapore.

SingTel’s EVP for digital consumer , Yuen Kuan Moon, told reporters at the launch event that SingTel’s LTE subscribers will be guaranteed actual downlink speeds between 3.4Mbps to 12Mbps. The service’s advertised theoretical speed is 75Mbps. Subscribers will have 10GB of LTE data and 50GB of 3G data per month, with excess usage charged at S$0.512/MB, capped at S$94.16 per month.

According to Yuen, the 10GB cap for LTE data will promote more equal use of the carrier’s 4G network. Yuen cited results of internal studies on the carrier’s existing 3G network, which found that while 89% of subscribers consume below 10GB of data per month, some 22% of heavy usage users account for 60% of total data traffic. Having an unlimited pricing model would encourage “strange user behavior” and contribute to network strain, added Yuen.

SingTel also intends to monitor customer behavior on its new 4G network and employ techniques such as dynamic capacity shifting to better cope with data strain in the long run, said Yuen. He added that this course of action differs from carriers’ traditional focus on selling data plans and continually adding capacity as user numbers grow.

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