Monday, June 4, 2012

SingTel 4G smartphones are on sale today

SingTel, one of three telcos in Singapore, has become the first to launch 4G (Fourth Generation) smart phones in Singapore yesterday. The 4G service providers up to five times faster internet speed compared to the maximum speeds delivered on the 3G network! The 4G network technology is called LTE (Long Term Evolution) and  marketed as 4G LTE. It is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals.[1]
"LTE stands for long-term evolution of 3G and offers much higher data transfers compared with the 3.5G (HSPA) speeds most commonly used now. The theoretical speed of LTE is 75Mbps, more than three times faster than HSPA, which tops out at 21Mbps in Singapore. 
SingTel expects to provide between 3.4 and 12Mbps download speeds when the network is loaded with more customers on 4G plans."[2]

SingTel is currently offering 3 LTE enabled smartphones by June 5th: HTC One XL, LG Optimus True HD LTE and Samsung Galaxy SII (S2) LTE. LTE coverage in Singapore is currently available only in half of the island but will be available in 80 per cent of the island by the end of the year, and islandwide by early 2013.[3]

HTC One XL one of three 4G mobile phones available from SingTel  - Source : 
But the greater speed comes at a cost. New data plans offered for 4G are not "eat-as-much-as-you can" style:
Among SingTel’s new price plans — which would apply to both 3G and 4G customers from next month — the lowest data bundle for its Flexi Lite plan was at 2GB, down from the previous 12GB cap. Data usage caps for the other three plans — Flexi Value, Flexi Plus and Flexi Premium — were also cut to 3GB, 4GB and 12GB respectively.
 Charges for excess usage will be S$10.70 per GB and S$5.35 per GB for 4G and 3G subscribers, respectively. All excess usage charges will be capped at S$88 per month.[3]
This may look like bad news for some but it is actually a very very good news. Connecting internet on mobile network has been painfully slow in the past few years thanks to the large number of users and these unlimited data plans offered. In Singapore, 10 percent of all users are the download maniac minority and abuses these plans at the expense of the majority. According to SingTel CEO Consumer Singapore Yuen Kuan Moon, 90 percent do not use more than 2-, 3-, 4- or 12GB in their respective Flexi plans. But the last 10 percent of its customers consume 64 percent of the company's mobile data! By providing a tiered data bundle, the company hopes to improve the speed for the majority by giving heavy users a disincentive to consume too much data. [2]

[1] - LTE
[2] - SingTel announces LTE plans for mobile phones
[3] - Faster 4G is here, but at a cost

 it also unveiled plans that do
away with the “buffet-style” mobile
data bundles that consumers had become accustomed to.

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