Telco Circles.Life rolls out free mobile plan with a catch

Circles.Life announced its new mobile plan, which comes with freebies including a free SIM card and free monthly phone data and talk-time. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/CIRCLES.LIFE

SINGAPORE - Amid a mobile price war here, a telco is offering a deal in which consumers get a free SIM card as well as free 1GB of mobile data, 30 minutes' talk-time and 10 SMS every month.

So what's the catch?

Circles.Life, which rolled out the offer on Tuesday (May 22), said earlier that consumers need to buy something once every three months to keep their line. For instance, the latest version of its CirclesCare app offers a 1GB of mobile data add-on for $8 a month, or a 2GB add-on for $12 a month.

But the telco clarified later on Tuesday that consumers may also keep their line as long as they use it as a primary number at least once every three months - including receiving one-time passwords for online banking and shopping.

Said Mr Rameez Ansar, Circles.Life's co-founder, as he announced the offer: "We believe in empowering people by making digital access more available for everyone... with no strings attached."

The telco's new plan, called $0/month Flexi Plan, is aimed at the elderly and users who want to get a back-up line for their second mobile device.

Consumers need not sign a service contract for this plan just like the other plans that Circles.Life sells. Its most popular plan, which comes with 6GB of mobile data, costs $28 a month. It also allows customers to add on 20GB of data for $20 more a month.

Circles.Life is what is dubbed a virtual telco, which does not build its own physical mobile networks, but lease them wholesale from an existing telco. Circles.Life leases from M1.

The other three virtual telcos here are fibre broadband service operator MyRepublic, Zero1 and Zero Mobile. MyRepublic leases mobile network capacity from StarHub, while Zero1 and Zero Mobile both lease from Singtel.

Last week, MyRepublic announced two mobile plans - a 1GB mobile data plan at $8 a month, and an 80GB mobile data plan at $80 a month - offered only to its current fibre broadband subscribers and select customers. It said it will be offering services to other customers "soon".

MyRepublic's unique "boundless data" feature for all mobile plans promises customers they will not be charged for exceeding their data limit. Instead, it will reduce customers' surfing speeds.

Zero1 offers the cheapest unlimited mobile data plan at $29.99 a month, but it slows down users' surfing speeds after they exceed 3GB of usage. Meanwhile, Zero Mobile has a customer referral programme that allows subscribers to earn credits to drive down their monthly bill. Its unlimited data plan costs $69.95 a month.

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