Virtual telco dangles free mobile data

Competition for mobile customers in Singapore has intensified, with virtual telco Circles.Life giving away 20GB of mobile data a month free to entice customers to port over their lines from Singtel, StarHub or M1.

The free trial, valid until the year end, is targeted at users who are or will soon be out of a telco contract. It is part of Circles.Life's plan to grab up to 275,000 subscribers by 2019.

Come Jan 1, those who have signed up for the free trial will be automatically ported over to the telco's basic 6GB plan for $28 a month - unless they indicate they do not wish to continue with the service. Those ported over will also get an extra 20GB of data, worth $20, free every month for three months.

"We are doing this because we are confident they will switch to a full Circles.Life plan," said Mr Rameez Ansar, co-founder and director of one-year-old Circles.Life, at a press conference at The China Club in Shenton Way yesterday.

He said the Singapore firm is confident of grabbing 3 per cent to 5 per cent of market share by 2019, two years ahead of its initial plan. This translates to about 165,000 to 275,000 mobile subscribers by 2019. It leases network wholesale from M1 and does not operate its own network.

Circles.Life, which is planning a service launch in Indonesia by next year, sells line-only plans that do not tie consumers to two-year contracts. Such plans have become increasingly popular with consumers as they are cheaper than plans that come with subsidised handsets.

During the first six months of this year, more than 30 per cent of some 20,000 new customers added to M1's post-paid subscriber base were line-only customers. M1 has 1.26 million post-paid customers as of the end of June, and these include Circles.Life's customers.

In March, Circles.Life upped the ante for line-only plans with its generous 26GB line-only plan for just $48 a month. Now, every telco is bundling more mobile data for less.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2017, with the headline 'Virtual telco dangles free mobile data'. Print Edition | Subscribe