Prices of broadband plans have hit rock bottom, with service providers now turning to new payment options and giving out freebies to drive sales.
ViewQwest, for instance, is rolling out Singapore's first prepaid broadband plan at the four-day Sitex trade show, which opened yesterday.
It charges customers an upfront fee of $1,008 to provide its 1Gbps broadband service for two years. This works out to $42 a month, one of the cheapest 1Gbps plans here.
The cheapest 1Gbps plan is offerred by M1 for $39 a month, while MyRepublic is offering two 1Gbps lines for $59.99 a month.
The original price for ViewQwest's 1Gbps plan is $65 a month. Those who do not wish to pay upfront can also pay a discounted monthly rate of $53.50 for this plan as part of its Sitex promotion.
ViewQwest's basic two-year 2Gbps plans are going for an upfront fee of $1,392, which works out to $58 a month - the only 2 Gbps plan here.
If customers terminate the contract, there will be no refund. This is similar to having to pay an early termination fee for breaking the usual monthly-paid two-year mobile or broadband contract.
Mr Mike Ang, president of the Association of Telecommunications Industry of Singapore, said ViewQwest is applying a business practice on consumers.
"In business, we give you 30 days' credit, but if you pay in 10 days you pay 1 per cent less," he said.
Other service providers at Sitex are dangling freebies. StarHub is pushing its 1Gbps broadband plan as part of a two-year multiple-service bundle.
The bundle, dubbed HomeHub 1000, comes with six months of free broadband subscription and Sports Group subscription.
The total package was originally $88.80 a month.
Singtel, too, is pushing a multiple-service package. Those who sign up for its Singtel TV package, which starts at $64.90 a month, get eight months of 1Gbps broadband service (worth $69.90) free.
Meanwhile mobile customers who sign up for M1's 1Gbps plan, priced at $39 a month, will get an additional 1GB of mobile data and $100 off any mobile handset they buy, among other freebies.