Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Singapore Mobile operators go for Tiered pricing. Both SingTel & StarHub slashes data volume by greater than 90%

Source: CNA

Good news to Telco's & Employees/Engineers working there. But bad news to end users.

Yesterday SingTel announced the new plans for LTE and at the same time announced that they would be reducing the 12 GB limit to 2GB. Within minutes StarHub followed suite and in a more aggressive manner they slashed to 1GB.

This means all you can do with the mobile price plan on SH is watching around 8 hours of Youtube (My observation here) in a month or 40 min / work day of youtube.

No more downloads/videos/streaming on mobile. Ok, no more complaining and as a consumer, now I want few things from SingTel/StarHub.

1. Reduce the prices 

Based on SingTel price plans, a basic plan with 100 min voice min is priced at $25.68/month
at the same time based on current plans the 12GB data with 100 min is priced at $39.90/month
So the current charges are estimated as ~ $14/month for 12 GB.

Now I don't expect them to charge based on the same but based on SingTel pricing itself they intend to charge $5.35/GB. If I apply the same principle, then we shouldn't be paying $14 but $10.70. But I am not optimistic as the market is kind of fixed in Singapore and without real competition all the operators simply price in the same ranges.

2. Improve Coverage, Speeds

I'm sure majority of the people have noticed that lately the mobile coverage/speed in Singapore sucks. I travel quite frequently in the region so I carry the local SIM cards. To my surprise even the developing nations (India, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia) offers much better voice clarity & data speed compared to Singapore. In Australia Optus offers $2 / day package where you can enjoy unlimited voice/data/sms by simply paying $2 a day (info here).

By the way, recently Google study made it official that Singapore offers one of the slowest mobile speeds among developed nations. Now Operators can't give an excuse that they can't go on expanding spree forever because users are using data without paying for.

3. Service

Not really related to tiered pricing or buffet pricing but in general I believe this is high time that Operators need to improve on service levels and treat customers as 'humans'. When we try to reach out to technical support it is common to wait a min of 20-30 min in Q listening to a boring music. The same operator can reach us any time and blast SMS advertisements at middle of night.

IDA as regulator should come in here and stipulate certain SLA/SLG. Not the typical 'paper' SLA but real experience.

In summary I don't mind paying if I am getting the quality, reliability & service.

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