Singapore Telco

Pros & Cons of Prepaid vs Contract Mobile Plans in Singapore

Looking for your next mobile plan but not sure what works? We list down the pros and cons of the prepaid and contract plans to help you in your decision.

If you’re planning to switch to a new mobile plan in Singapore, you would know that the options available are endless.

The first thing you would need to decide is whether you want a prepaid or postpaid mobile plan – but how are they different and how do you know which one to choose?

Firstly, as implied by their names, prepaid and postpaid mobile plans differ regarding when customers need to pay their bills.

For prepaid plans, you are usually required to pay a fixed amount upfront on a regular basis before you can enjoy the perks of your mobile plan. The frequency of these payments depends on the plan and can range from as short as 7 days for tourist plans to 90 days for lengthier plans.

Postpaid plans, on the other hand, allow customers to pay at the end of the billing period based on their mobile usage during that period. This billing is usually done on a monthly basis, after which the inclusions in your mobile plan will be refreshed for the next billing cycle.

While the timing of payment is the biggest difference between prepaid and postpaid plans, there are also several other factors such as prices, inclusions, and contracts that set them apart.

We go into detail about these differences and the pros and cons of each type of plan below.

Prepaid Mobile Plans

Typically, prepaid mobile plans are popular amongst students or senior citizens looking for budget-friendly options, and tourists visiting Singapore on a short-term basis. Prepaid plans usually offer a fixed set of inclusions, such as the amount of data you can use and the number of calls and SMS you can send.

You have to pay for this plan beforehand and then begin using your phone. If you exceed the stipulated amounts specified in your plan, you likely will not have access to your inclusions until your next payment.

The 4 major telcos in Singapore – Singtel, Starhub, M1, and TPG – all offer prepaid SIM card mobile plans.

PriceValidity PeriodDataOther Inclusions
Singtel’s hi! SIM Cards$890 days (top-up to 180 days)1.5GB for 30 days
  • $10 value
  • Free 30-day Viu Premium & Banglaflix
$15120 days (top-up to 180 days)8GB (3GB for 120 days, 5GB for 30 days)
  • $15 value
  • Free 30-day Viu Premium & Banglaflix
$38180 days11GB (8GB for 30 days, 3GB for use in both Singapore & Malaysia)
  • $38 value
  • Free 30-day Viu Premium & Banglaflix
Starhub$890 days1GB for 30 days-
$15180 days8GB for 180 days
  • Free 5000 mins local calls for 28 days
  • Free 200 local SMS for 28 days
$50180 days100GB for 10 days-
M1$890 days1.5GB free data for 30 days-
$124 weeks56GB (2GB/day)Unlimited incoming calls
$14180 days4GB free data for 120 days + 4GB rewards data for 30 days-
$6012 weeks168GB (2GB / day)Unlimited incoming calls
TPG$1030 days100GB
  • Unlimited calls to local mobile lines
  • Unlimited SMS to TPG lines

Do take note that prepaid plans’ inclusion can often be expanded with top-up options that are available at all telcos. With this option, you can build upon the basic plans outlined above to achieve a plan that suits your needs best.

Contract Mobile Plans

Traditionally, contract or postpaid mobile plans come with handsets and allow customers to choose from affordable payment options for their chosen device.

They also usually include contracts, which require customers to stick with the same mobile plan for a specific period of time (usually 2 years) or pay a hefty fee to opt-out of the plan.

That being said, not all postpaid plans follow this description.

Following MNVOs’ introduction of no-strings-attached SIM Only plans, it has become common in Singapore for all major telcos to have postpaid plans that offer more flexibility for customers.

Although SIM Only plans function similarly to traditional postpaid mobile plans, they differ in the key aspect that they do not come with lengthy contracts. While some SIM-only plans do require customers to commit for a minimum of at least 2 billing cycles, for example, you will not be required to stick to the same plan for 2 to 3 years before making a change.

Additionally, SIM-only plans do not offer subsidies or other more affordable payment options for your mobile phones like traditional postpaid plans do. As its name suggests, these plans usually only offer inclusions like data, SMS, and calls.

Here are the best SIM-only plans available in the market right now:

Price (Monthly)DataOutgoing talk timeSMS
VIVIFI Lite$8.803GB50020
redONE Amazing8$85GB + Unlimited free internet300 mins300
CMLink$106GB100 mins100

Circles.Life offers the absolute cheapest SIM-Only plan in the market. If you’re more concerned with data usage than with price, Circles.Life also offers other higher-tier SIM-Only plans which offer up to 200GB data bundles at only $18 monthly.

Read Also: Circles.Life Plans: Should You Switch Over?

Prepaid VS Postpaid: Pros & Cons

It’s hard to say if one type of mobile plan is better than the other.

The best mobile phone plan for you depends on your own needs and mobile phone usage patterns, as each plan caters to a different demographic with unique needs. Here are some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages of both types of mobile plans to aid you in choosing the one that fits you best.

1. Budgeting

With prepaid plans, you’ll always be certain of how much you’re going to be spending on your mobile phone plan each month (or each validity period depending on the plan).

This makes it infinitely easier for you to plan your finances for all of your other needs without worrying about your mobile fees. Prepaid plans are also generally cheaper than postpaid plans.

Postpaid plans, however, carry the risk of overspending, as you pay according to your usage. The relatively unpredictable nature of postpaid payments makes it harder for you to manage your finances.

2. Hidden Costs

Prepaid plans are upfront and clear about the benefits and usage limits when you make your initial payment. Typically, customers are not able to use their data or make calls beyond the stipulated limit in the plan, which means that you will never incur additional hidden charges with a prepaid plan.

Postpaid plans will charge you based on your usage behaviour, and sometimes this can lead to a bill shock. For instance, customers may be charged extra fees for roaming charges from when they’re out of range, which can be an unwelcome hidden fee.

Thankfully, telcos, both digital and traditional ones, now offer an app, or at least a way, for you to monitor your plan usage throughout the month.

3. Flexibility

Despite the chance of hidden costs with postpaid plans, it has to be acknowledged that they also come with the extra flexibility that prepaid plans don’t.

With prepaid plans, you are required to stick to the inclusion limits that come with the plan. If you’ve exceeded your data usage limit in the middle of the month, that often means that you won’t be able to enjoy data until your next cycle.

On the other hand, postpaid plans allow you to use as much as you want and pay accordingly. This flexibility is highly valuable for customers like businessmen, who have unpredictable usage habits.

Moreover, postpaid plans such as the SIM-Only plans are also catching up with prepaid plans in terms of being contract-less, which offers them an additional layer of flexibility that puts them on par with prepaid plans.

4. Extra benefits

Postpaid plans also have to be recognized for the extra benefits that they offer – usually, this comes in the form of subsidies or affordable payment options for handsets. Prepaid plans, in contrast, typically do not offer such extra benefits.

As Singaporeans’ mobile phone usage evolves to centre around data usage rather than SMS or traditional phone calls, telcos in the country have adapted swiftly to offer data-heavy plans that cater to the market’s preferences.

Telcos have also innovated their existing mobile plans to offer more flexible and affordable options that cater to every customer’s unique needs. Considering the pros, cons, and comparisons listed above might be useful in helping you choose the best mobile plan for yourself.

As Singaporeans’ mobile phone usage evolves to center around data usage rather than SMS or traditional phone calls, telcos in the country have adapted swiftly to offer data-heavy plans that cater to the market’s preferences. Telcos have also innovated their existing mobile plans to offer more flexible and affordable options that cater to every customer’s unique needs. Considering the pros, cons, and comparisons listed above might be useful in helping you choose the best mobile plan for yourself.

Read Also:

Tan Boon Hun

Boon Hun spent over five years in the content marketing space as the managing editor of Goody Feed creating interesting and relevant content for the social media generation. In 2022, he moved to the FinTech space while remaining true to his roots, intending to bring financial literacy to more people in Singapore. When not doing his work, he can be found watching people build homes on YouTube.