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  • Queen of sgForums
    驚世駭俗醜不啦嘰 moderatress
    FireIce's Avatar
    263,590 posts since Dec '99
    • Digital mobile telco Circles.Life is offering an extra 20GB worth of data for S$20 for new and existing subscribers.

      Currently, its base plan — which offers 6GB of mobile data — costs S$28. With the latest option, a 26GB plan will cost S$48 monthly, making it the cheapest no-contract plan in Singapore.

      A 23GB sim-only plan offered by Singtel costs S$107 monthly, while Starhub customers are charged S$110 monthly for a 12Gb no-contract plan. Similarly, M1's no-contract plan with 15GB of data will cost customers S$125 monthly.

      With this latest data plan, Circles.Life hopes to capture a bigger share of the local telco market.

      Mr Rameez Ansar, Circles.Life Co-Founder and Director said: "In Singapore, we are on track to achieving a high single-digit market share within a few years."

      The digital telco, which is currently leasing mobile network capacity from M1, also revealed that it will be expanding to Indonesia and Hong Kong, partnering regional telco players in the process.

      Circles.Life has hired a new director, Donald Chan, to spearhead its plans to expand abroad. Mr Chan was the former Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Clifford Capital, and previously worked for Temasek Holdings and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

      todayonline

    • Circles.Life customers running in circles after complaints about services

      Nearly one year after its launch in May 2016, Singapore’s mobile digital telco Circles.Life is facing a chorus of complaints about its delivery of SIM cards, botched number porting, and customer service responsiveness.

      However, the virtual network operator is adamant that these complaints are isolated, stating that its customer satisfaction scores are “unparallelled in the industry”.

      Some customers of Circles.Life feel that they are running around in circles, especially since the company does not have any brick and mortar storefronts.

      SIM cards are issued via couriers, while other services like number-porting and purchases of phones are done online.

      Ms Jane Leow is one of the customers who was left without a SIM card after a scheduled delivery was not fulfilled by Circles.Life, despite waiting in her office the entire day.

      “I scheduled the delivery to my office on March 29 since it’s a weekday, between 2pm to 6pm,” said Ms Leow, 33, a civil servant. “I waited at my office the whole day and there was no call.

      “I later got an SMS that the delivery attempt was not successful. I was prompted to pay $15 for a redelivery.”

      Since its public launch in May 2016, the Consumers Association Of Singapore (Case) has received seven complaints against Liberty Wireless, which operates Circles.Life.

      The latest complaint filed to Case in April 2017 was regarding number porting.

      “The consumer reported that the company failed to properly transfer his existing phone number from his original service provider,” Case’s executive director Loy York Jiun told TODAY.

      A check on Circles.Life’s Facebook page also revealed numerous feedback over the past two weeks about the delivery of SIM cards, number porting, and customer service responsiveness.

      It was deja vu again for Ms Leow on April 3, as she applied for leave from work just to receive the delivery of her new SIM card — this time at her home — between 2pm and 6pm.

      At 5pm, Ms Leow was worried that the delivery would fail again.

      Frustrated that there was a long waiting time just to chat with one of its agents online, she decided to message them on their Facebook page instead at 5.11pm.

      Ms Leow explained: “The website indicated that there were 10 customers ahead of me, and I didn’t want to wait for 30 minutes and repeat my complaint.”

      To her horror, the Circles.Life officer manning its Facebook page claimed that the courier delivered her SIM card at 1.59pm.

      Shortly after leaving a flurry of messages on the Circles.Life Facebook page, there was a knock on her door at 6.10pm by the Singapore Post courier, with her SIM card.

      Despite the deluge of customer feedback, Circles.Life said its delivery success rates are “in the highest tier of the industry benchmarks”, which includes telcos as well as other e-commerce companies.

      “We are always improving our delivery process with the goal of zero failed deliveries in mind at all times. Therefore, we are always exploring options,” said the company’s marketing manager, Megan Yulga.

      While there are no current plans to allow for self-collection, Circles.Life is not ruling out that option, as long as the regulatory documentation checks are fulfilled.

      The lack of other channels to contact Circles.Life representatives is also a big concern for customers.

      “What if there is a network outage? We can’t even chat with them online then,” said Mr Muzkmmil Mohamad, 30.

      “The current channel isn’t feasible. (Circles.Life) needs to have a customer service hotline,” the administrative assistant added.

      The lack of 24hours live chat is also a concern for Ms Leow. Currently, Circles.Life’s live chat channel is only manned from 9am to 10pm on weekdays.

      “What if I have a query in the middle of the night? Do I need to wait until the next morning?” Ms Leow asked.

      For now, Circles.Life claims that it has been achieving industry standard customer service ratings of “well above” 90 per cent, while averages for the telco industry hovers between 60 per cent and 70 per cent.

      “If our customers give overwhelming feedback that new channels would make their experience even better, we will absolutely explore those options,” Ms Yulga said.

      Ms Yulga also stressed that Circles.Life’s infrastructure is ready to accommodate a bigger capacity, such as its recent promotion offering an extra 20GB worth of data for S$20 for new and existing subscribers.

      “Given our operations experience and long planning for the 20 GB for S$20 data plus option, we have been able to not only maintain, but also in some metrics, exceeded our operational metrics despite the strong response from the launch of our new product,” said Ms Yulga.

      “Despite us meeting our operational metrics, the sheer volume of growth means there are rare and isolated cases where deliveries have not gone to plan.

      “Separately, our port-in your number system continues to be the most seamless experience in Singapore today and issues related to that have been extremely rare.”

       

      today

  • subraa.singapore's Avatar
    2 posts since Apr '17
    • Please advice me where "Digital mobile telco Circles.Life" is exactly located. I mean the Head office in Singapore. Thanks!!!

  • Queen of sgForums
    驚世駭俗醜不啦嘰 moderatress
    FireIce's Avatar
    263,590 posts since Dec '99
    • LIBERTY WIRELESS PTE. LTD

      221 HENDERSON ROAD
      #06-02
      HENDERSON BUILDING
      SINGAPORE (159557)

  • Eunice is nice's Avatar
    13 posts since Jun '17
    • When unlimited data plan is not unlimited

      Your unlimited plan is not unlimited.

      By Tan Zhi Xin

      Circles.Life, Singapore’s first all-digital network operator, is determined to shake up the telco scene. It does not have the deep pockets the three major telcos have, neither does it own telecommunication infrastructure. But it has nimbleness.

      The new entrant targets Internet savvy users in Singapore by offering flexible contract-free mobile plan with unlimited bonus data reward program. The main draw is the free unlimited Whatsapp feature. There is a catch. Its unlimited feature is not literally unlimited.

      The unlimited feature is not unlimited  

      Circles.Life user, Winston Ong ranted over social media about how the telco charged him for overusing his supposedly unlimited Whatsapp data. Ong was penalised for exceeding a limit that nobody knows.

      The free unlimited Whatsapp feature entitled to users who signed up with Circles.Life is a marketing stunt aimed at attracting customers. The mobile plan supposedly allows users to “send unlimited, free of charge, text messages, video clips and photos via WhatsApp” when in reality, it has a ceiling cap.

      In fact, Circles.Life did warn its users of potential charges. Those who bothered going through the 8000-words long terms and conditions would realise that the feature is subject to Circles.Life’s Fair Usage Policy (FUP). The terms and conditions states explicitly, “In the event you consume more than 1 GB of data on WhatsApp, you may be charged for the data usage above 1 GB at a rate of US$6 per GB.” Circles.Life also reserves the right to “modify the scope of WhatsApp features covered by Unlimited WhatsApp Plus anytime without prior notice to the user.”

      Another limit most users do not know of is that video calls are not covered under the free unlimited data offering. Again, if one paid more attention while signing up or bothered to read the terms and conditions, he would have realised that the plan does not include free video calling.

      In this sense, Circles.Life did not violate any agreement or break their promise. It might not have been ethical in their advertisement about free unlimited data, but who can the consumers blame when they made the conscious decision to check the “I agree” box under the terms and conditions without even reading it?

      There was a golden age in the telco scene not too long ago

      Not too long ago, users in Singapore were still experiencing the golden age of the telco scene. Two of the major carriers, Starhub and M1, offered unlimited data to subscribers. Singtel on the other hand, offered 12 GB mobile data plan. It was a period of time when smartphone users could watch their favourite videos and play mobile games to their hearts’ content.

      The carriers soon realised the unsustainability of offering such data plan. M1 was the first to do away their unlimited data plan in 2011, followed by Singtel, which slashed its data cap from 12 GB to 2 GB in July 2012. Starhub was the last to stop offering unlimited data. By 2013, none of the major carriers offered data plan exceeding 3 GB.

      It was clear that the golden age was over. What came afterwards was public outrage, which was understandable in a country with mobile penetration rate consistently exceeding 100%.

      Mobile penetration rate (%)

      Source: Data.gov.sg

      “That (offering unlimited data) is a very costly way of selling spectrum,” says Canalys’ principal analyst Daryl Chiam. Chiam added that most users do not download more than 5 GB worth of data per month.

      “Service providers often guess wrong and find themselves losing money either because they underestimated average usage or because a small number of people abuse the system and use way more than the provider anticipated,” says telecommunications industry analyst Jan Dawson.

      Indeed, another key reason why major carriers moved towards tiered plans was network congestion. It was estimated that roughly 2% of the heavy users congested the network for the remaining 98%. Singtel also revealed that 11% of its 3G subscribers accounted for 60% of the data traffic. Mobile network resources are limited. High traffic means congestion, which then translates into slower speed. The inability to deal with network congestion is an economically sustainable way resulted in the decision to do away with it entirely.

      Throttling remains the main issue in countries offering unlimited data

      Mobile plans offering unlimited data usage are emerging elsewhere in Asia. But there are many limitations to these unlimited plans, with throttling being the main issue.  While there is no limit on the amount of data a user can use in any given billing period, there is a limit on the amount of full-speed data he can enjoy. That means data speed may slow down significantly if a user exceeds a certain threshold. This is referred to as “throttling”. Throttling is almost always purposeful to discourage users from hogging the network.

      China’s Unicom recently launched the “ice cream” data plan offering unlimited data usage and calling. The plan comes in two versions – one for 198yuan ($28.65) per month for unlimited data usage with 1500 minutes of free calling; and the second for 398 yuan per month for unlimited data usage and calling. However, the 398 yuan plan only offers up to 40 GB worth of data at 4G speed. Afterwhich, the speed is reduced to 3G. There is also a daily limit of 2 GB of data at 4G.

      Digital mobile service provider, Webe, offers Malaysia’s first unlimited mobile Internet and voice plans that also come with unlimited SMS and calls. The price tag stands reasonably at RM79 (US$18.40), after discount. Webe also throttles users from leeching off network. Network speed is expected to improve in 2017, but for now, speed continues to be the main drawback.

      Similarly, Indonesian telco, Indosat IM3, offers a limited unlimited Internet plan at Rp50,000 (USD$3.80) with 500MB FUP at a maximum speed of 185 Mbps. That means, once user exceeds 500MB data limit, the speed will be reduced to 16 Kbps (or around 1% of the initial speed). This also means you can no longer stream a YouTube video properly.

      Perhaps we do not really need unlimited mobile plan

      1 GB of data provides up to five hours of streaming live TV, 17 hours of Internet browsing, eight hours of video streaming on YouTube (SD), 341 tracks on Spotify, or 14 hours of Skype video chat. Perhaps we need more than 1 GB but is there a need for unlimited data? Are we paying for unlimited data or the sense of security knowing that we will not have to pay additional fees?

      Either way, offering unlimited data to everybody is impossible on a technical level. This is not just an issue Asia faces, but also a common problem major carries in the United States are struggling with. Currently, telecommunication infrastructures everywhere in the world are simply not sufficiently advanced to feed our insatiable hunger for data. Throttling is the only solution to appease the major crowd.

      The bottom line is that users who want unlimited mobile data have to accept throttling as part of the package. At the end of the day, the majority should not be sanctioned because of a bunch a selfish minority.

  • Micheritan's Avatar
    2 posts since Jul '17
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