SingTel has quashed rumours that it is about to double mobile charges for customers who exceed their monthly data bundle after a flurry of complaints from netizens yesterday.
Fury erupted late on Sunday night when a user of the HardwareZone website posted a screen capture of the telco's "frequently answered questions" web page.
This said that any usage in excess of a customer's 1GB data allowance was to be billed at $10.70 per GB, capped at $188 per month. It added that the new rates - said to take effect from next month - were double the current rates of $5.35 per GB, capped at $94 per month.
The purported increase would apply to customers of SingTel's Broadband on Mobile plans, which allow laptop users to go online wirelessly via a 3G SIM card encased in a plastic dongle.
The monthly subscription for a basic 1GB plan is $9.90, excluding excess usage charges.
SingTel later quashed the rumours. Its spokesman apologised for the confusion and said the information was "erroneously posted" on its website. The web page has since been taken down.
"We assure our customers that they will be informed in advance of any changes in service plans," the spokesman said.
Its current 3G and 4G excess data usage rate of $5.35 per GB, capped at $94 per month - part of a promotion that was supposed to end on Jan 1 this year - "has been extended until further notice".
Rival telco M1 charges the same rate as SingTel for excess usage for all its 3G and 4G mobile data customers - whether they are on smartphones or connected to the Internet wirelessly via a 3G SIM card in a plastic dongle.
When contacted, an M1 spokesman said it "will review current charges from time to time".
StarHub, on the other hand, charges $6.42 per GB of excess data used, capped at $64 a month. The promotional rates are valid until the end of the year.
Mr Tian Ung Ping, StarHub's assistant vice-president of mobile post-paid services, said it is too soon for the telco to comment on any change to this promotion.
Mobile users, however, are convinced that price increases are on the horizon.
Marketing executive Chriselle Ho, 35, said: "I do wonder if SingTel did plan to increase rates this time, and took it down because of negative consumer reaction."