MOBILE operator M1 has joined SingTel and StarHub in raising rates for excess mobile data use, in the latest demonstration that data is king.
M1 customers will have to pay twice as much if they use more than their data bundle allows.
The new rate of $10.70 for each gigabyte (GB), capped at $188.32 a month, will kick in from next month. Currently, the telco charges $5.35 per GB, capped at $94.16 a month.
The telco began informing customers about the new rates at the start of this month.
The increase will immediately affect more than a quarter of M1's one million-plus post-paid customers as they are on tiered plans, which start from data bundles as low as 2GB.
"A small number" of them exceed their monthly bundles, an M1 spokesman said.
The excess data rate increase comes as telcos shift their business focus from voice calls to data to boost their revenues.
From September last year, local telcos stopped offering generous 12GB data bundles to new customer sign-ups and those who renew their contracts.
SingTel was the first to end its promotional excess data rates in September this year. Since then, its customers have been paying twice as much for exceeding their data bundle - at $10.70 per GB, capped at $188.32 a month.
StarHub will also increase data rates to $8.56 per GB, capped at $85.60 a month, from next month. It currently charges $6.42 per GB of excess data used, capped at $64.20 a month.
"Data consumption is growing exponentially," said Forrester telco analyst Clement Teo. "The rate increase is inevitable as telcos begin to regulate user behaviour to improve operational costs."
The measure seems to be working, with users beginning to monitor their data use.