Monday, May 05, 2008

SingTel Broadband on Mobile

I recently signed up for the Singtel Broadband on Mobile for Fio. We had decided that this plan is more than sufficient, instead of signing up for a regular broadband plan, since she uses the internet mostly in office and only for a few hours at home during weekdays evenings and weekends. Such a low level usage really does not justify signing a regular fixed line broadband plan. A basic SingNet broadband (1Mbps) plan is cheapest at S$22.89 per month (2 years contract) after discounts. However, for a basic Singtel Broadband on Mobile (512kbps) plan is at S$11.21 per month (2 years contract) after discounts. The answer is obvious.

How Broadband on Mobile Works
Broadband on Mobile does not require a fixed line. The modem is usually a USB HSPDA key which functions similar to a mobile phone. This USB modem requires an individual SIM card. The modem will then connect to the internet via the mobile phone 3G network. To put it simply, whenever there is a phone reception, you can get internet connection with your USB modem. There is no need to hunt for wifi hotspots anymore.
The SIM card can be removed from the modem and plugged into any HSPDA-capable phone and get connected to the internet.
Note that this SIM card is capable of making voice calls and SMS but dependent on the device and charged separately.
Comparing the Broadband on Mobile Providers
I am looking at 512kbps download speed. At the time of research, there was only SingTel and MobileOne providing this service. Basically, both telcos charge the same subscription fee at S$22.42 per month. The differences are in the contractual terms.
For SingTel, a 2-year contract entitles 50GB per month of data usage and free 12 months of subscription (free on every even month) and wavied registration, SIM card and free USB modem. Learn more here.
For MobileOne, a 6-month contract entitles to unlimited data usage and free rental of one USB modem or desktop modem/router anytime during contract period. There is a one time registration and SIM carge of S$26.75. MobileOne also recently up their 512kbps speed to 1Mbps. Learn more here.
Though there is a limited data usage for Singtel, but I have checked that Fio's earlier monthly broadband usage falls far below the 50GB limit. There is just no need for unlimited data usage unless I am getting this as my main internet service provider. Though a 6-month short contract and option to freely switch modem equipment with MobileOne is attractive, while a 2-year contract with Singtel seems too long, Singtel still offers an overall cheaper rate over the first 6 months! With SingTel, there is also no need to pay for registration and SIM card.
StarHub only later launched their Broadband on Mobile free for new sign-ups of cable modem plans such as the MaxOnline Express Plus plan at S$59.92 per month for a 2-year contract. Learn more here. Nevertheless, the subscription fee for the basic StarHub plan is still more than getting a basic SingNet broadband + SingTel Broadband on Mobile.

Performance
I was initially rather concerned about the connection speed with the SingTel Broadband on Mobile, but a speed test should that it can steadily provide around 600kbps of download speed. My basic SingNet 1Mbps plan provides me around 1000kbps of download speed. There is definitely a difference between these two plans when tested in the real world, but for general surfing, downloading of MS auto-update files, uploading of photos, the SingTel 512kbps Broadband on Mobile works great! SingTel Broadband is also the most value for money service available now.
Below is a bandwidth test using the SingTel Broadband on Mobile.
I strongly believe that with MobileOne's new move of increasing the bandwidth, SingTel might catch up and SingNet users should know that they will give existing subscribers on contract, a free bandwidth upgrade.


DISCLAIMER
I do not work for any telco or service provider. My comments are purely personal and may not be absolutely accurate. Please take my review only as an opinion.

4 comments:

Shufen said...

I saw the advertisment poster for this service the other day, so can u use this for laptop broadband connection? or is it just mobile phone surfing? I am a bit tired of hunting for wi-fi spot as well =P

WILLIAM TAN said...

yes it is a USB key, just imagine it is a thumbdrive. this thumbdrive acts like a mobile phone and a modem.
all you need to do is, plug it in.
wait for auto-installation,
a program will run,
click connect.
and start surfing.
no more hunting for wifi.

do check out the broadband services provided by the 3 telcos.
StarHub is fre with the new Maxonline PLUS plans, but StarHub broadband is generally much more expensive than what SingNet offers.
a lot of people go for M1 because can anytime swap the rented modem to other type of modems and short contract of only 6 months, and now M1 is fastest at 1Mbps.
if contract is of no concern, SingNet is the cheapest of the lot.

Totorodustie said...

Oh sounds good, I have friend using M1 services but often get disconnected. Thanks for the info, now I'll decide if I need to be wired all day long, anywhere =P

WILLIAM TAN said...

hmmm... depends where your friend is using. It must be able to access the 3G network which SingTel claims to be island-wide coverage. My mobile line from M1 is not capable of receiving 3G network in a few places, I know because my LG KS20 is set to auto detect 3G but some areas can only access GSM.
SingTel for the win!
But I must comment that when using the SingTel Broadband on Mobile, some sites such as blogs tend to cause the IE to hang for a while (~20sec) and loads full page when recovered. Could be IE's issue... Another problem is the poor streaming capability, had sluggish playing on imeem music players.

At the end of the day, Broadband on Mobile is a supplementary ISP and never intended as a fixed line broadband replacement.