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Should you change telco to Circle Life?

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At $50 a month, you get 26 gb of data usage compared to paying over $62.90 (Starhub 4G4 Contract Plan) for a mere 4gb of data usage. It is a very good deal indeed.

But let’s look at it in detail before deciding.

 Circle LifeStarhub 4G4 (Contract)Starhub 4G4 (no contract)
Data Usage6 gb4 gb4 gb
Call Time100 mins350 mins350 mins
SMS0 Free1200 Free1200 Free
Free Incoming Call$2 per monthFreeFree
Caller IDFree$5$5
Cost Per Month$30$67.90$36.45

I wouldn’t take free SMS into the analysis as the SMS usage is pretty low for most people nowadays.

To even things up, Circle Life charges at $4 per 100 mins block. For analysis purpose, the additional 250 mins call time would cost an additional $10. Starhub Data Jump is at $10 for 5 gb block which means $2 per extra gb of data usage.

 Circle LifeStarhub 4G4 (no contract)
Data Usage6 gb6 gb
Call Time350 mins350 mins
Cost Per Month$40$40.45

Looking at the base plan only, Circle Life is cheaper by 45 cents which is not a lot. If you are not an active outgoing caller, you wouldn’t need to upsize the call time.

* To add Starhub data jump, there is an activation fee of $10.70 (with GST). 

For Starhub excess data usage is charged at $10 per gb of data (before GST) with a total excess data usage capped at $168 per month. The cap means that you will pay only $168 for the excess data even though you have used for an example an excess of 20gb.

 Circle LifeStarhub 4G4 (no contract)
Data Usage26 gb26 gb
Call Time350 mins350 mins
Cost Per Month$60$36.45 + $168

To use 26 gb of data a month is considered a pretty heavy data user. How about a more moderate usage of 15 gb per month?

 Circle LifeStarhub 4G4 (no contract)
Data Usage26 gb15 gb
Call Time350 mins350 mins
Cost Per Month$60$46.45 + $60

Here are some basic facts about data usage. Its computed based on sending and receiving outside of wifi networks.

Depending on the encoding used, 1 character is between 1-4 bytes of data. If you send or receive a word e.g “Hello”, that’s 5 bytes of data usage. If you type 5 million characters a month, the max is only 20 mb of data usage.

Photos! an average of 500kb to 1mb per photo depending on the quality (megapixel) set on the phone. If you send and receive 60 500kb photos a month (Send and receive 2 photos a day), that’s 60mb a month. If it’s a 1mb per photo, that’s 120mb.

Videos! A good qualify 40 mins video would be about 200mb-300mb. If you watch a drama episode a day, 30 x 300mb = 9gb!

Facebook! Words doesn’t eat much data but FB auto loading of videos and viewing photos do take up quite a bit of data usage. A short few mins video would be about 20-30mb.

Circle Life advertised unlimited whatsapp usage (without video calls), unlimited usage means it doesn’t use up your base plan (or upsized) data usage. But they have a clause – Fair usage policy of 1gb for whatsapp data usage. Quite a bit of people actually used over 1gb and got charged for it and of course they are unhappy about it. The fair usage policy is to maintain the data speed so that it doesn’t clog up the data speed and everyone can have a decent speed while surfing. I feel that its pretty fair after all it’s FOC (although they used the word unlimited which is not so right).

I’m sure most of you would received forwarded videos and pictures on Whatsapp or Line or other messengers all day long.

Here are some tips for whatsapp.

  1. Off the auto media save feature. Auto media save will download every picture or video received onto your phone using up storage space and making your gallery messy.
  2. View or send video in WiFi connected environment.

An average whatsapp video is about 15mb-30mb. If you watch 100 video clips (average 30mb per video) in a month (average 3 videos a day), that’s 3gb in data usage. If your auto media save feature is on, you would have used 3gb of data without even noticing it.

I’m sure now you know where you are using your data on.

The biggest concern I believe is about getting the “subsidized” new phone from your telco. If you look at Starhub Contract and No Contract Plans, the difference is $31.45 per month, with 24 months contract, the extra cost is $754.80 for 2 years.

Samsung Galaxy S8 (64gb)Starhub (Contract)Circle LifeRetail Price 
Paid monthly from plan$754.80$47.83 x 24 months-
Paid upfront$399--

You actually bought the “subsidized” phone at retail price on instalment plan. The only phone discount you actually get is the re-contract vouchers which Telcos sometimes gives.

My conclusion is that Circle Line is a better choice as it does not tie you down with a contract and allows you to change your plan anytime you want.

Example 1 – you need only about 200 mins call time for the month, you only need to upsize thru the app compared to Telcos like Starhub which has a minimum of 350mins.

Example 2- you are going away on a 2 week holiday to Europe, you can remove the $20 for 20gb upsize for that month.

I personally loved the flexibility!

Here’s the process of signing up a Circle Life account.

The Base plan ($28) is 4gb data and if you port your current number over, you get 2 extra gb.

  1. Go to https://www.circles.life/ and sign up and account.
  2. Choose whatever upsize you want
  3. Enter your personal particulars and upload the front and back of your NRIC / Passport (Enter the referral code 8FSXQ for a $20 discount, if you skip this part, you will never get this discount again)
  4. Pay $18 for registration and Sim card. (Registration/Sim Card fees is $38)

After they have verified your uploaded NRIC, they will prepare shipment (by Singpost). The porting of your current number will happen after 1-2 business days. You may have read about the complaints online on sim card delivery and number porting, for me there is no issue at.


Happy surfing!




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