Regular vs SIM Only Postpaid Plans – Which is for You?

SIM Only postpaid plans were introduced in Singapore back in 2015 and have since gained popularity among many Singaporeans due to their affordable pricing. Are SIM Only plans better than smartphone-bundled postpaid plans? Let’s find out.


What is SIM Only?

Before we can understand SIM Only plans, we have to understand how regular postpaid plans work. Every time you re-contract a regular postpaid plan, you get to purchase a new phone at a subsidized price, a few hundred dollars off the original pricing.

But what you may not know is that part of what you are paying for in your monthly smartphone bill actually is for this “subsidy”. SIM Only plans gets rid of this process entirely, so you are essentially paying only for the network service.


Benefits of SIM Only Plans

As mentioned in the introduction, SIM Only plans are a lot more affordable than regular postpaid plans, at least on the surface. Depending on which telco you go to, S$20 a month can get you 3GB of mobile data, which would usually cost you over S$40.

Most SIM Only plans are no contract, which means you can terminate the plan anytime. If you find something better, you make a switch anytime. However, Singtel and M1 offer plans that lock you for a year, offering more mobile data if you do so.

Another benefit of this would be that you do not have to wait for 2 years to replace your phone. Damaged your phone but repair costs are unreasonably high? Lost your phone in another country? No need to wait for 2 years, just get a replacement anytime.

Lastly, not having to purchase your phone from your telco means that you get a wider range of smartphones to choose from. See a great phone deal on Lazada? Want to get a phone that is not available in your country? With SIM Only, nothing is stopping you.


Benefits of Regular Postpaid Plans

Contrary to beliefs, there are some benefits to paying for regular postpaid plans. Firstly, not everyone can spend over S$1000 on a phone at one go. With smartphone-bundled plans, more people can afford the flagship devices they dream to have.

Next, not all smartphone subsidies are equal and some telcos heavily subsidize smartphones from certain brands. With careful planning, you may save even more money than switching to SIM Only and purchasing the phone separately.

For those eligible, Corporate Individual Scheme (CIS) is the most compelling reason to stay with traditional postpaid plans. Factoring in the price of a smartphone, the subsidy you can get will save you more money than switching to a SIM Only plan.


Conclusion – Which to Choose?

Here is what I recommend. If you are intending of purchasing budget phones like Xiaomi’s Redmi series, SIM Only plans is the only way you should go; paying S$0 for a phone when renewing your telco contract is just a waste of “subsidy”.

For everyone else, it boils down to two factors: whether you are eligible for CIS and whether you are able to pay for the smartphone of your choice in one go. If your answer is no to any of them, I recommend sticking to the regular postpaid plans.

Otherwise, switching to SIM Only plans seem like the obvious choice right now. While you can expect to pay approximately the same as what you would with regular postpaid plans in the end, you get a lot more freedom with SIM Only plans.

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