Singapore's biggest telecom company, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel), has been in the news recently for both good and bad reasons.
On 22 May, the telco made international headlines when it announced acquisition of Singapore's most popular food website, HungryGoWhere, for S$12 million (US$9.4 million). This was part of the deal to acquire 100 percent of GTW Holdings Private Limited (GTW), the owners of HungryGoWhere.
Last week, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said it had slapped a monetary fine of S$400,000 (US$310,433) on SingTel for service disruptions to its 3G mobile services.
Yesterday (Monday, June 4), SingTel announced the launch of Singapore's first 4G service for consumer smartphone users.
But the announcement came with changes to the telco's mobile data plans which are applicable from next month.
New tiered data plans for 3G and 4G users
The telco said it is introducing new Flexi and iFlexi plans with tiered data bundles from 1 July 2012 to ensure a high-quality and consistent mobile broadband experience for all subscribers.
"From 5 June 2012, customers who purchase a 4G-enabled handset with a SingTel Flexi and iFlexi plan can enjoy the 4G service," said the telco in a statement. "Three handsets will be available at launch: HTC One XL, LG Optimus LTE and Samsung Galaxy S2 LTE."
SingTel said its 4G service will provide mobile Internet access that is up to five times faster than existing 3G-based smartphone services, with one-fifth of the network latency.
According to the telco, users can enjoy theoretical download speeds of up to 75Mbps and typical download speeds between 3.4Mbps and 12Mbps.
While there is still an ongoing debate on net neutrality, SingTel is going ahead with its Priority Pass traffic priority feature for the 4G service next year.
This feature will provide subscribers with priority for their data traffic when the network is loaded, thus ensuring smoother streaming and downloads.
SingTel said that islandwide rollout of SingTel's 4G network is expected to be completed in early 2013. In areas where 4G has not yet been deployed, users will enjoy 3G connectivity with download speeds of up to 42Mbps.
Also, the telco announced that its new data plans will be available to all new and re-contracting customers from 1 July 2012, and will replace existing 3G Flexi and iFlexi plans.
"We need to break away from the traditional one-size-fits-all approach, which is not sustainable in the long term," said Yuen Kuan Moon, SingTel's CEO Consumer Singapore. "Today, 64 per cent of mobile data on our network is consumed by 10 per cent of our subscribers. This prevents the remaining 90 per cent from enjoying the full benefits of the network. With our tiered pricing model, subscribers will pay for what they use, and this ultimately allows us to keep prices for our plans the same over time despite rising network costs."
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