StarHub launches discounted mobile plan for the visually or hearing impaired

Local telco StarHub has introduced a new mobile service plan for those who are deaf or blind.

Called SmartBuddy, the plan includes 500 minutes of local talktime, or 100 minutes of video calls. Subscribers will also get 5,000 SMS and MMS, and a 6GB data bundle for $26.60 a month. Clients of the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) and The Singapore Association for The Deaf (SADeaf) will be able to sign up for the plan.

The new package, which was launched on Tuesday, is 30 per cent cheaper than the telco's comparable plan for ordinary customers, SmartSurf Lite, which costs $38 per month. It also offers five times the talk time and three times the data access compared to SmartSurf Lite.

For Mr Muhammad Zahier, who is visually impaired, the increased data allowance will come in handy as he relies heavily on the voice navigation of global positioning system (GPS) apps to get around. "The plan also gives me more time to make calls to family and friends, especially when I need help and I'm walking alone outside," said the 26-year-old who is training to become a cashier.

StarHub is not the first telco to launch such a plan. In 2011, M1 launched a discounted plan for clients of SADeaf that comes with 50 minutes of free outgoing video calls, 10,000 SMS and MMS, and 3GB of data for $25.68 a month.

SingTel currently has no such plans tailored for the visually or hearing impaired yet, but the telco said it is working with organisations like SADeaf to provide both mobile and broadband plans to help the hearing or visually impaired.