The end of all-you-can-eat 4G

Dianne Northfield/Tolaga Research
24 Aug 2012

In launching LTE services, a number of operators have offered a range of promotional plans and service pricing discounts. As these discounts expire there are notable modifications in the more permanent LTE offers on the table.

In Singapore, changes to SingTel’s LTE service plans are among the more extreme in the Asia-Pacific region. On commercial launch of its 4G service, the operator introduced a data only plan with a data cap of 10GB, priced at S$69.90. The data coverage associated with the plan was S$0.512 per MB.

With the introduction of handset offerings, from July 2012, SingTel’s caps were subsequently reduced to 2GB, 3GB and 4GB, along with a new 12GB plan, with service priced at S$39.90, S$59.90, S$99.90 and S$205 respectively. These 4G data cap and price changes also apply to the operator’s four existing 3G plans which were all previously capped at 12 GB.

In addition, overage charges will increase from S$5.35 per GB in July 2012 to S$10.70 per GB from January 2012. New tablet plans launched in August 2012 carry a data allowance of 10GB and are priced at S$49.90 and S$64.90, with a cheaper tablet offer associated with the more expensive monthly plan.

This reversal to tiered pricing plans and significant plan price hikes relative to the changed data allowances are justified by SingTel along the following lines: “Today, 64% of mobile data on our network is consumed by 10% of our subscribers. This prevents the remaining 90% from enjoying the full benefits of the network.

With our tiered pricing model, subscribers will pay for what they use, and this ultimately allows us to keep prices for our plans the same over time despite rising network costs.” With its own LTE service launch imminent, rival operator StarHub has also announced plans to discontinue its 3G 12GB data plan in favor of 3G plans with 1GB, 2GB and 5GB data bundles. For its part, Singapore’s M1 has launched its LTE services initially only for business users, while the operator eliminated unlimited 3G data plans in late 2011.

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