StarHub donation drive for unused mobile phone services well-received

Suhaimi Mansoor, 58, is a beneficiary of StarHub's programme. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Suhaimi Mansoor, 58, is a beneficiary of StarHub's programme. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Mobile phone users backed a move by telco StarHub to transfer unused data, talktime and SMSes to disabled and needy people.

But some wondered if the telco should also donate free talktime and data to those who need it most in today's connected world.

"I seem to have over a hundred 'free' SMSes at any given time which I almost never use since I use free messaging services like WhatsApp, and it would be better to donate those to someone who could use them rather than letting them go to waste," said Mr Siddharth Singh, 24, managing partner at craft beer distributor Brews Brothers.

Photographer Olivia Kwok, 28, said she would sign up if SingTel had a similar initiative, adding: "I think it is a wonderful idea donating unused services in regular data plans to individuals who might not be able to afford the luxury of being 'connected' at all times."

StarHub's 4G4Good donation drive ran for 1 1/2 months in July and August and collected pledges from post-paid subscribers.

It aims to help 500 beneficiaries from five charities - Asian Women's Welfare Association, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore, ISCOS (Industrial &Services Co-Operative Society), Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and Society for the Physically Disabled - with their basic communications needs for a year.

Last week, some of them received SIM cards preloaded with the 120 minutes of talktime, 500 SMS and 1.5GB of data usage for monthly use.

Secondary 5 student Aleric Chan, 17, said he would support the move to help the needy and vulnerable communicate without worrying about expensive bills.

"If they don't have to worry about the bills, family members can also check on them more often," he said.

"To us it may be a small amount, but to them it may make a huge difference in terms of peace of mind."

Others were supportive of the drive but suggested the telco add its own contribution. Said management assistant Clara Tan, 43: "It's a nice thing, but perhaps as a giant firm themselves, they could do more and donate some talktime on their own."

joseow@sph.com.sg