The mobile phone penetration rate in Singapore reached 148% in 2014, according to a report by Info-communications Development Authority (iDA).
A Google report also showed that Singapore has the highest smartphone penetration rate, with 85% of mobile phone users carrying a smartphone.
Based on those figures, each Singaporean has at least one mobile phone or even more than one, and the majority of Singaporeans need 3G or 4G service on top of basic services like voice calls and SMS.
Things get a bit tricky when you have to deal with so many phone services, especially when it comes to data usage.
If you subscribe to a plan that offers large data usage, you had better be ready to pay high monthly charges for that plan.
On the other hand, if you subscribe to a plan without much bundled data, you may end up paying much more if you go over your data limit. Isn't that a pain in the neck?
But Singaporeans' chances of cutting their phone bills are not as dismal as they might seem. We at GET.com will share with you 5 ways you can save money on mobile phone bills so that you can GET more for your money!
1. Make Use Of A Corporate Plan Or Student Plan
Before you sign up for a new line or renew your contract, always check with your company just in case they have corporate plans for employees.
Depending on what agreement your company has with the local telcos and which plan you sign up for, you can save $5 to $10 or more on your monthly mobile phone subscription fee for a standard plan.
If you have children who are in school, have them sign up for student plans. Student plans are even cheaper than bundled mobile plans, so I'd suggest you take advantage of this student benefit if you have school-going kids.
2. Sign Up For The Right Plan
This is a difficult task because it's difficult to know exactly how much data, phone minutes or SMS messages you will need each month. But you can always use your past experience as a gauge and decide which plan would suit you better.
If you are a data person and depend on being online for everything, it's best that you sign up for a plan that gives you more data. These days, you can use all kinds of free apps to bypass traditional phone services.
I don't remember when I last received an SMS from anyone, except from banks. Apparently, everyone in Singapore has chosen WhatsApp as the default tool for texting.
If you don't feel awkward about the way your voice sounds, you can also use the recording function of WhatsApp and WeChat to send voice messages instead of making phone calls.
Have you noticed people on the train or at the station speaking directly to their phones with their thumbs holding down the centre of their phone screens? They are doing just that!
3. Use Data Roaming And Data Sharing Plans
Before you travel overseas, make sure to switch off the data roaming service on your phone.
Making a few phone calls from overseas shouldn't break your bank, but mobile data can be a killer. Telcos charge astronomical fees for overseas data usage!
If you can't help posting your travel photos instantly on social media, sign up for your provider's data roaming service before you leave, to avoid receiving a bill shock after your trip. For instance, Singtel's DataRoam Saver plan charges just $10 for 1GB data when you are in Malaysia. But if you use Pay-per-use DataRoam, you need to pay $25 for 1MB!
And if you and your family members don't use a lot of data individually, you can share data among yourselves.
For example, Singtel's MobileShare Supplementary Plan allows you to share your existing postpaid mobile plan's bundled data, and even talktime and SMS across multiple devices. You pay $10.70 per month to share data with an additional device under your existing plan.
4. Use WiFi As Much As You Can
Always turn on Wi-Fi on your smartphone; it will help you search for Wi-Fi connections and notify you when Wi-Fi is available. Your phone should switch to available Wi-Fi connections and cut off mobile data (check your settings if this doesn't happen automatically).
Singapore is widely wired and there are many places that you can connect to public Wi-Fi (Wireless SG) to use internet for free. These include parks, many MRT stations and shopping malls.
iDA has a list of Wi-Fi hotspots, and all 3 telcos provide mobile phone users with login credentials to use Wireless SG's free internet service.
If you have broadband at home, use a wireless router to create your own Wi-Fi network. You have already paid for your broadband, you should fully utilise it to reduce your mobile phone's data charges.
5. Use Credit Cards To Earn Cashback On Recurring Bills
Use a cashback credit card to pay all your mobile phone bills, so you can earn cashback or rewards points. That will help you save money too.
For example, under Citibank One Bill service, you can use a Citibank credit card to pay all your recurring bills, including mobile phone bills with all three telcos (Singtel, Starhub and M1). You will earn rewards points on these bill payments. You can then redeem rewards points for cashback or shopping vouchers.
And if you have Citi Cash Back Card, you can also earn 0.25% cashback on these transactions.
All the 3 telcos are also participating merchants in UOB Bill Pay Service. You can use a UOB credit card, such as UOB One Card, to pay all recurring bills and earn rewards points.
And if you spend a minimum of $300 a month (for 3 straight months) on at least 5 purchases a month, this card will give you 3.33% cashback on all your spending, including phone bill payments.
With OCBC 365 Credit Card, you can earn 3% cashback on recurring telco bills, as long as you spend a minimum of $600 on this card per month. Even if you don't spend that much, you can still earn 0.3% on payments for your phone bills.
At GET.com, you can compare the Best Cash Back Cards in Singapore. You can select the one that best suits your lifestyle and that will let you earn maximum cash rebates for your spending.