With Zoom calls and binge-watching dramas on MeWatch, previously Toggle tv, being the new normal, senior citizens run the risk of being left behind. Not only are some seniors not digitally savvy enough to make use of these new technologies, many also lack good smartphones and affordable data plans.
To help these elderly, the IMDA has announced a new Mobile Access for Seniors scheme, which allows low income seniors in Singapore to get subsidised phones and mobile plans.
In addition, the 4 Singapore telcos have also released cheap mobile plans as part of the government’s new Seniors Go Digital programme. Now is a good time to get a mobile plan and phone for your elderly parents so you can contact them easily.
What’s the difference between Mobile Access for Seniors and Seniors Go Digital, you ask?
Mobile Access for Seniors is a government scheme by IMDA, and it comes with various eligibility criteria. Seniors Go Digital, on the other hand, is open to those in Singapore aged 60 and above.
If you qualify for IMDA’s scheme, you’ll need to attend a Seniors Go Digital learning programme and enquire at the SG Digital community hub. More details here. Once successful, you’ll get an eligibility letter from IMDA, which you can use to claim the deal from your choice of telco:
Now, if you do not qualify for this scheme, you can opt for one of the 4 telcos’ Seniors Go Digital mobile plans instead. These are open to all Singapore citizens and PRs aged 60 and above and you do not have to fulfil other requirements.
Read on for more details on the Singtel, Starhub, M1 and TPG Mobile plans, including their mobile phone options.
For the Seniors Go Digital initiative, Singtel has released 3 mobile plans: SIM Only, Combo 2, and Combo 3. Here’s a quick side-by-side comparison of the plans:
Of the 3 mobile plans offered to seniors, it’s safe to ignore Singtel’s $20 SIM-only plan. Singtel’s is the most expensive SIM-only plan among the 4 telcos, and it’s also the only one with a 12-month contract! Meanwhile, direct competitor Starhub has a more attractive $8 SIM-only plan with no contract.
If you don’t mind the 24-month contract, Singtel’s Combo 2 for seniors is a decent deal at $34.32/month. With just 2GB of data, it’s adequate for seniors who mainly use the phone for calls, but not if they consume tons of video content. Its main benefit, however, is the free device.
After the 24-month period, you end up spending $823.68. The Samsung and OPPO phones are worth about $300 if you buy them separately, while the Huawei tablet is about $350.
The most expensive is Combo 3, which comes in at $49.80/month for 24 months – a fairly hefty recurring expense. It comes with 6GB of data a month, and unlimited(!) talktime and SMSes. But, just like Combo 2, we think the main draw here is the free phones, which are of a more premium range and include the new iPhone SE. Is $49.80/month worth it for an iPhone? For comparison’s sake, an iPhone SE 128GB costs $719 from the Apple store, and you have the option of getting it with a 0% interest 24-month instalment plan at about $30/month. That works out an extra $20 you’re paying every month for the phone service.
For now, the 3 Seniors Go Digital plans are available in physical Singtel Shops only, where there is an express queue for seniors. Those who sign up also get a free digital skills workshop at 8 Singtel stores.
Unfortunately, online sign-ups and training are not available at the moment, so if you’re concerned about the pandemic, you’ll have to wait.
For its Seniors Go Digital range, M1 simply applies a 25% discount to its usual mobile plans. There are basically 2 types of M1 mobile plans, either SIM-only or one that comes with a phone. Here’s a comparison of the two mobile plan types with pricing for seniors:
After Singtel, M1 has the second most expensive SIM-only plan for seniors at $18.75/month (25% discount off the usual $25). However, it’s also got the most data (30GB) and a whopping 1,000 minutes of talktime. There’s also no contract. So if you’re getting a phone plan for an elderly family member who loves watching videos and talking on the phone, …