SINGAPORE - From Tuesday, SingTel mobile users who renew their contracts will pay $3 more for their monthly subscriptions, making their mobile plans the most expensive here.
While some consumers have baulked at the new charges, SingTel maintains that the high charges are just on paper, as customers will be getting more value for money.
Its new plans will come with more talktime and SMSes, as well as a waiver of the monthly $10.70 add-on fee for high-speed 4G services that SingTel has yet to charge its 4G users.
Their 4G data allowances, however, will not change for most of the revised plans.
Instead, free Wi-Fi access will be provided at SingTel-operated hot spots so users can avoid busting their mobile data caps, said Johan Buse, SingTel's vice-president of consumer marketing.
"Consumers tell us that they want faster speeds and more generous data allowances," he said. "Our new premium Wi-Fi network complements our 4G network and boosts network capacity in crowded, congestion-prone locations."
Today, the telco has 100 hot spots at 10 shopping malls and three train stations. The telco has promised to increase the number of hot spots across 30 malls and 24 train stations to 1,000 by March next year, and more than 1,700 hot spots by March 2016.
This is still much less than the government-backed free public Wi-Fi network Wireless@SG's 5,000 hot spots available today.
But Mr Buse said it is not SingTel's aim to reach the masses with a pervasive Wi-Fi network, noting that its service is five times faster than Wireless@SG.
However, Wi-Fi usage will be capped at 2GB a month from August next year, with excess usage costing $10.70 per GB - the same rate as excess charges for 4G data.
Some consumers are not buying into the new charges.
Engineer John Wong, 36, said he is already paying $100 a month for 7GB of 4G data, and may consider switching to another telco when his contract expires next year.
Events project consultant Roy Nahar, 34, noted: "SingTel is still not bundling more 4G data at the end of the day, despite the price increase."
StarHub and M1 skirted questions on whether they will increase subscription rates like SingTel. In the past, they have followed each other's lead on price changes.
Get MyPaper for more stories.