TELECOM & INTERNET | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Price competition looms as TPG rolls out trial for unli-data plan

An analyst weighed the possibilities of what could happen if TPG launches 1GB of 4G LTE plan in Singapore.

TPG Telecom, has launched in Australia free trials for its unlimited data plan which provides 1GB of data at 4G LTE speed every day, after which speed is throttled to 1Mbps for the remainder of the day. The subscription charge will be at $10.03 (A$9.99) a month.

In a research note, UOB Kay Hian analyst Jonathan Koh weighed the possibilities of what could happen if TPG launches a similar unlimited data plan in Singapore.

TPG will provide data-only packages and will not be offering traditional voice initially, he noted. Customers have to make voice calls using apps, such as WhatsApp, Line, and Viper. Traditional voice will only be added later.

Singtel’s Optus, on the other hand, has its Unleashed Mobile 12-month SIM-only plan that is only available to customers selected by the telco. Each customer can have a maximum of five Unleashed data lines.

The first data line is priced at A$60, the second at A$50 and the third and subsequent data lines at A$40. Unleashed data plan provides unlimited data, although streaming is capped at 1.5Mbps, which is good enough for standard definition videos.

“Quality of data experience could be affected during peak periods as Optus manages network congestion by deprioritising the heaviest data users,” Koh said.

Price competition would intensify if TPG Telecom launches a similar unlimited data plan in Singapore, Koh said.

TPG is a budget and no-frills player, but its mobile plans are extremely affordable. “Its unlimited data plan would still be considered cheap even if pricing is doubled from A$9.99 to A$19.99 after adding traditional voice (Optus ARPU: A$42),” he said.

Meanwhile, the pricing for unlimited data plans remains prohibitive in Singapore. M1’s 12-month SIM-only mySIM 98 plan offers 100 minutes of talk time, 100 SMS, and unlimited data at S$98 (data speed not throttled). StarHub’s existing mobile plans offer unlimited data over the weekends.

For Singtel, customers can add Data X Infinity for unlimited data to existing plans for $39.90. MVNO Zero1 offers an unlimited data plan (only the first 3GB at 4G LTE speeds) with 200 mins of talk time at S$29.99.

“We maintain our defensive stance on the telco sector as we brace ourselves for the impending entry of TPG as the 4th mobile operator,” Koh concluded. “M1 and StarHub are vulnerable ahead of the commercial launch by TPG Telecom in 4Q2018 due to their greater reliance on the Singapore market.”

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