SINGAPORE - StarHub has become the first telco to bite the 4G bullet, saying on Tuesday that it will start charging mobile subscribers $2.14 per month for using its 4G service in June this year.
Currently, all three telcos - StarHub, SingTel and M1 - offer 4G access as a free value-added service (VAS) to their mobile subscribers.
StarHub, for example, had been doing so since September 2012, giving its 3G customers access to 4G services for free as a promotion that was originally to run until year-end. It was then extended until end-May 2014.
From June 1, StarHub customers on the SmartSurf Lite, SmartSurf Value, SmartSurf Premium and SmartSurf Elite 3G plans will pay an additional $2.14 a month for 4G access.
Existing users can opt out of the service by responding to an SMS notification.
Customers on its SmartSurf HD plan will continue to have free 4G service.
A higher "usual price" of $10.70 per month also looms, as the monthly $2.14 fee is pegged as a "promotional rate" on StarHub's website. SingTel and M1 also cite a monthly subscription of $10.70 as their usual price.
StarHub's promotional rate of $2.14 will hold "until further notice", it said.
Over at M1, a spokesman said: "We waived our 4G VAS charge as a launch promotion of our 4G network in September 2012. We are currently reviewing our charges with the upgrade of our nationwide 4G network to support speeds of up to 150 megabits per second (Mbps) and the introduction of high-quality voice calls over our 4G network in the coming months."
According to M1's website, the monthly subscription for the 4G VAS is "waived until Dec 31, 2014".
At SingTel, the telco "regularly" reviews its price plans, it said yesterday.
"Our focus is on enhancing the mobile data experience for our customers by rolling out network upgrades, such as doubling the maximum speed of our 4G service to 300 Mbps later this year," its spokesman said. The SingTel website has the 4G service offered for free "till a date SingTel determines".
This article was published on April 17 in The Business Times.
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