In the past, mobile phone service providers in Singapore typically offered a handset with a plan bundled together at a discounted price. However, more recently, consumers have reaped the benefits of buying SIM cards and mobile handsets separately from open market vendors or online stores. This has resulted in the availability of affordable mobile plans that do not come with a mobile handset.

Mobile companies often advertise their “subsidized” mobile plans as a loss-leader to entice consumers to sign up with them. There are now unlimited calling plans that come with generous data allowances at much lower prices than those offered two years ago. Here are some of the things you should know before looking for an affordable mobile plan:

1. Beware of mobile plan auto-renewals.

Canceling your contract can be quite a challenge, so you should set up alerts to remind you when the end of the contract nears. If your provider keeps sending messages to convince you to keep your plan or reminds you that it is time for auto-renewals, don’t ignore these messages as they may cost you additional charges. For an affordable mobile plan that does not come with a handset, it is highly recommended that you pay for your mobile service on a month-to-month basis. This way, you are free to switch between providers or sign up with another provider if the rates are better. However, switching between providers may incur termination fees, especially outstanding bills.

2. Be aware of hidden costs.

Before you sign a three to six-month mobile plan contract, it is important that you first consider the other bills related to a mobile service, such as SIM card activation fees, handset subsidies, and shipping fees. You can then negotiate with your provider for a better “package” that includes these other basic services, which would reduce the overall cost of your mobile service. Affordable mobile plans with basic functions can be easily found on hardware retailers’ websites, reducing the need to sign up with a mobile service provider. Also, mobile service providers offer membership discounts to consumers who sign up for their e-loyalty program. These membership benefits may include gifts, game items, or exclusive access to mobile offers and events, which can be redeemed via SMS or online.

3. Take note of data allowance availability

One thing to note is that most affordable mobile plans come with limited data allowances. Some of these plans have been designed for voice-only clients and may not be suitable for those who use a lot of data. If you are a heavy user, you may need to explore monthly prepaid plans that come with free data allowances or add-ons. Affordable mobile plans typically do not offer unlimited data, and for this reason, it is important to monitor your usage while on the road. You also recommend that you avoid using roaming services when traveling overseas and opt for a lower rate international plan instead.

4. Identify the local network availability of your affordable mobile plan

Your choice of an affordable mobile plan can be influenced by the location you intend to use it in. For example, consumers who stay in Singapore and regularly travel overseas may prefer a mobile service that offers international roaming services for convenience and affordability. However, if you do not travel overseas, you may look for affordable mobile plans that work only in Singapore. This way, you will avoid any surprise charges associated with roaming services.

5. Avoid being charged for incoming phone calls

Although most affordable mobile plans offer unlimited incoming calls, some providers have started charging their clients should they choose not to accept the call. This can be quite frustrating, especially when you know that this service is not included in the plan. Some of the most common reasons for rejecting incoming calls include accidentally accepting international calls, which would cost you a lot more if tax rates apply. It is also possible to turn on call barring services so that clients do not need to keep rejecting incoming calls. Affordable mobile plans with unlimited incoming calls are readily available on hardware retailers’ websites. This way, you can identify the best deal for your needs before committing to one provider.

Bottom line

Before you sign up for an affordable mobile plan, it is important to take note of your basic needs and budget. Make sure that affordable mobile plans offer unlimited features such as incoming calls and texts, and carefully examine the costs related to each service before signing up. Also, take note of the airtime and bill duration, as well as the mobile coverage area of your plan. This way, you can avoid spending more on a mobile plan that does not meet your needs.

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Vineet Maheshwari is a passionate blogger and relationship oriented digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience in SEO, PPC management, web analytics, domain investing, affiliate marketing and digital strategy. He has helped high tech brands connect with customers in an engaging manner, thereby ensuring that high quality leads are generated over time.