Why You Shouldn’t Sign Up for SingTel’s BlackBerry VAS plans

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This post is my personal opinion and research. If you’re a smart consumer, please read what I have to say. If you have comments, I welcome them. I’ll keep this as short as possible.

You might be thinking why I wrote this. It’s definitely not to pull any service provider down. Let me share them.

  • I am a SingTel customer, I’ve got a BlackBerry and need BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS).
  • I am also a StarHub customer and I have another BlackBerry service activated.

An hour ago, I called SingTel to enquire about their BlackBerry plans. I was told that their BlackBerry Flexi plans cannot be ‘activated‘ and must be signed as a plan. So that means I have to wait till next year to recontract. Next, I was offered 3 plans – 1GB, 3GB and the Unlimited plan. Briefed about the prices and was told 1GB doesn’t include any web surfing and 3GB can surf web but only via BlackBerry APN.

Read more after the jump!

The keyword – BlackBerry APN. So I went on to ask if I were to use maybe BOLT Browser, will I be charged? “Yes… Blah blah blah”. And next I asked “Does that mean I’m losing out?” and I got “Yes, blah blah” for an answer. Seriously, was that staff trained?

For everyone’s advantage, I’ve made the chart below for your comparison. It’s for your reference before you consider signing up with SingTel / M1 / StarHub.

Singtel M1 Starhub BlackBerry VAS Comparison

Download as PDF

Summary

  • It’s unfair to compare SingTel’s 1GB plan with M1/StarHub’s. But for another $3 with StarHub/M1, you get more value on your BlackBerry device.
  • WARNING: SingTel’s 3GB bundled data covers only BlackBerry APN.
  • WARNING: SingTel does NOT cap your data usage.

Review: StarHub’s BlackBerry Premium Value-Added Service

For almost a year, I’ve been using StarHub’s BIS with no problems. Speed is satisfactory and I don’t remember any downtime. There was once or twice when the outage was at RIM’s side – StarHub shouldn’t be blamed for this.

The only thing I don’t like is the unstated data usage on my bill. It’s only reflected as “BlackBerry Premium”. Good thing is I don’t exceed my 1GB usage. So it doesn’t really affect my service usage satisfaction.

Are you a SingTel BlackBerry user? Drop your feedback here and hopefully SingTel hears/sees them!

  • eugene

    Hey, can I ask something? By using the blackberry browser, the usage is deducted from the flexi plan or the blackberry inter service usage?

  • Tracy

    Do you know that Singtel Blackberry plan users cannot use the same plan to use an iPhone? If you sign up for Blackberry plan $48, you’re stuck with it. Good luck if you wanna switch to an iphone plan.

    Switch to m1 or Starhub Blackberry plans. Less complicated, better service!

    • Felix Ker

      I’m a StarHub user and it’s pretty good so far. My data can even be tethered, as long as I don’t exceed 1GB, I don’t pay extra. :)

  • char

    Hi, if i sign up for the singtel bb flexi ($48/mth), i will be able to have push email, fb, social networking stuff as well as surf internet w/o need of wifi hotspot right? Since it include 3Gb for bb, i dont necessarily have to sign up any BIS add on? Please advise thanks!

  • ita

    I just canx my 30gb mobile on broadfband serv and applied for 3gb BIS plan for $24.90.They claimed that I don’t need to apply the mobile on broadband service for internet surfing ect.I hope I won’t get extra charges for surfing.crossing my fingers.singtel cust serv officers are trully not trained about BIS service!!! I kept calling them and found diff answers. Duhhhh….

  • Sirium

    If I get Blackberry Flexi plan, which has the 100mins/500sms/12GB plus the blackberry services of 3GB, I should not encounter the problem of not being able to surf the internet or be unable to access Whatsapp, right?

  • BlueBerry

    Guys,

    Here’s an update to the 3 new, 1GB BIS SingTel plans.

    The BIS Social -
    BIS Social – 1GB local data bundle: Applicable for Instant Messaging (AIM, BlackBerry
    Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger), Social
    Networking (Facebook, MySpace and Twitter) and WAP data services via IDEAS only. Internet
    browsing is only applicable at WiFi hotspots (for handsets with WiFi only).

    The BIS Value -
    BIS Value – 1GB local data bundle: Applicable for email/Instant Messaging and WAP data
    services via IDEAS only. Internet browsing is only applicable at WiFi hotspots (for handsets with
    WiFi only).

    Finally, The BIS 1GB -
    Basically, everything. Just like Starhub and M1 basic plans.

    Just upgraded mine and within 30mins I was able to do everything including “Whatsapp” etc..

    I pay a mere $3.20 additional, to have my BB fully functional. Am sticking with SingTel. Btw, no doubt their Tech and CSO support suck. You will really need patience, if that is your virtue.

  • Berryless

    Btw, SingTel Tech CSO’s are downright rude, dumb and stupid. Am with them right now on phone. They pretend to understand but are clueless to the problem. Am on hold for the 6th time while this fella checks with someone. Further to that he keeps putting me on hold in between the conversation when he is unable to answer my question. Finally, I requested to speak to his Sup. and he was able to somewhat answer my questions. Goodness, train your people!!!

  • BlueBerry

    Singtel has got new BIS plans since the above article but i think they work about the same.. check it out at the following link -

    http://info.singtel.com/personal/communication/mobile/mobile-phones/blackberry

    Personally, am on BIS Value 1GB. At that time didn’t thought I would require more but over the year that has changed. With this plan you can’t do much except for BBM and receive push email. If you want to you apps like “Whatsapp, PingChat, Pinch, etc..” you will need a full BIS plan like the one that is offered by M1 or Starhub. You can get it with SingTel too but pay more. Additional info: When I install the above apps my BIS goes offline and I cant BBM or receive push mail unless I remove the above apps. So silly. My friend who has got a plan with Starhub can do everything. So cool. The only reason I am with SingTel is bcos I am on contract and they are honouring certain add-on value services at a discount. If I were to take up these add-on value services with other telco’s my bill will go up by $10 more monthly… Not sure if I should make the move after contract ends…

  • Air

    The only issue I have with BB Torch is the youtube prob. Singtel has been keeping it’s end of the deal for me. Except the bill is $50 per mth. Other than that, I’ve no issue with them. They explained every single detail to me including the no data cap thingy. But guess wat, to date, the highest so far tat I’ve use is ONLY 1gb. 14gb left wasted… :-P

  • sha

    Wait, I’m confused. Is it necessary to get a BB value added service to be able to use the internet on the BB? So a flexi lite plan won’t enable you to do so?? (referring to singtel plans)

  • Awkwardy

    is it true Singtel’s BB plans are THAT bad?! cause i just subscribed to singtel, and after 3days (today), i finally called to ask why my BB hasnt been activated yet. and this guy actually helped me access all the apps (Twitter, App world).

  • Mako

    I personnally also have the exact same problem. I’ve been with M1 for more than 10 years, and had used their 1GB BIS just before i left them for SingTel, which I “assume” to be the best, esp when come to the technical portion, coz they own the lagest shares, and had the most dish and equipment around, thus reception would be best.

    However, this same BIS problem really puts me off. All the CSO all says different thing each time I call up for query on BIS. The problem for my case is that I’ve the iPhone 12GB plan, thus checking if I can don’t subscibe to BIS and still utilise the 12GB.

    After I finally decided to add on a 1GB, and iPhone utilise the 12GB, I went to the Hello Shop. Thankfully when reach my turn, the more knowledgable CSO had highlight to me abt the 1GB can’t surf net, and have also advice me on alternative to using BIS, e.g. opera mini, watsapp, etc.

    Does anyone knows how to contact some big shot in Singtel to highlight this issue? This is redeculious. Esp when these all goes thru RIM side, then why is there a diff among the 3 telco???

    I want this to be resolved asap, so that I could quickly sign up for the 1GB and able to do all things on my BB 9780.

  • Alvin

    I subscribed to a singtel 1GB BIS plan on top of my iFlexi plan which includes 12GB bundled data.
    Initially, I wasn’t able to use my 12GB of bundled data as Singtel “blocked” the service after 1GB BIS service was activated.

    After searching of many solutions online, I came across this forum thread (http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/showthread.php?t=2706297) and it enabled me to toggle between my bundled data and bis plan. However, the bundled data automatically switches off after sometime while we aren’t browsing using the browser. This doesn’t favour my whatsapp which solely uses the bundled data and when people messaged you, you loose the credibility of having to receive the message at that instant.

    Conclusion:
    1.There’s no need for BBM, use whatsapp! Cause it connects to more platforms.
    2. Features such as facebook, twitter, myspace and email could be accessed through the browser.
    3. There are 3rd party apps which you can use for chatting, (although lousier interface) google blackberry third party apps!.
    4. The only catch is that, if you need GPS on your phone you die also have to subscribe to blackberry services.

    Cheers!

  • shawncassidy

    i’ve been on M1 BB plus plan (1GB) for almost a year now. No problems encountered when I use it locally (for BBM, FB, e-mails, web browsing, etc.) and when I am overseas. I was once with Singtel since my first hp line about say 15 yrs ago (I’m still is for my office hp line though due to corporate plan) and have since converted all my other 4 lines which I use for my kids, mobile broadband and BB (all registered under my name) to M1. The cool part for M1 is I get to enjoy 35% off all my subscriptions, thus a great great savings. i’ve called Singtel hotline and asked if they have such plan but they said I have to opt for some kind of Mio Home (which I have to subscribe to Mio TV) plan to enjoy this discount. Fyi, I’ve tried subscribing to Mio TV twice and both times were much dissappointed with the reception! Hey, its not that I am against or try to pull down Singtel or anything like that, but this is just through my past experience with them. After all, I am still a Singtel shareholder :-)
    Another thing, yes Singtel CS personnel (on 1626), some are not knowledgeable of their own services they provide, especially BB, and can even give you unclear or incorrect information of their own services!
    With my almost one year experience with M1 BB service, I would say I am pretty satisfied with M1 BB service. I shall stay with M1 for a very long long time!
    One last thing I would like to share from my own experience, 1GB is more than enough if you just use your BB for e-mails, browsing the net and IM. I have kept my FB on for 24/7 this past year and never ever exceeded the free 1GB!

  • Alex

    I have exactly the same issue as SPY.

    When I renewed the contract, I take up Blackberry Torch and renew my 3G-Flexi-Lite Plan with CIS plus 1GB Blackberry (S$10.97/mo).

    I’ve asked is it the 1GB enough for the BB?
    She said YES, it’s more than enough for Mail and BBM.

    So I asked again, how does it work for the web browse and Apps like Facebook Apps? Is it still enough?
    She said, since you have 3G-Flexi-Lite Plan it will be taken from your 12GB. Well, good news! (I thought).

    But wasn’t really sure, I asked further: How do SingTel know which plan it use first? the 1GB or 12GB?
    She responded with confident: The plan is smart enough to know that it will use the 12GB first, since you have 2 Plans under your number. Then only when the 12GB finish, it will use the 1GB for browsing.

    WOW… very cool and thus I subscribe for this stupid 1GB Blackberry Value Plan (I even do not know it name Blackberry value plan until I research further at their website).

    But what’s happening here is: I can’t use Blackberry Browser, Can’t use Facebook Apps, etc, etc… (even after I set my TCP APN to internet)

    Lucky for my Nimbuzz, The Apps allow me to choose use Direct TCP.
    But not for the Blackberry Torch’s Browser and Facebook App!

    As workaround?

    I use Opera.

    But you know… as I use Blackberry Torch (it’s a touchscreen device), I can’t fully utilize this Opera Mini 5.1 which was designed for non-touch screen device :(

    I’ll complaint to them soon on this mislead information!

  • Thomas

    Vanessa, go back to Hello Store, speak to someone with authority and let them know what was the info you got. Rectify it.

  • Thomas

    Go with StarHub and get BIS. Else your BlackBerry doesn’t function really. If not, ride on M1 isn’t bad too! :)

  • Jen

    I have read sooo many bad comments on Singtel BB plans everywhere. I think I will sign up with Starhub, currently holding a Storm2 with no data plan. Any recommendations? Im a light user. Thanks!

  • Vanessa

    Omg the 1gb plan cannot access apps?!!! Damn the guy at the HELLO store told me that I should be able to do so. I am on the 3G Flexi 12gb data plan, so I figured just adding 1gb for BIS would be sufficient. I didn’t know it’s only for IM and Email. It has also been 3 working days since I applied for BIS & it is still not activated.

    Singtel WIN, seriously.

  • Jan

    I’m having the same problem too! I just got my blackberry with no contract(cos my contract havent end). Before I got my blackberry, I went to a singtel shop and asked whether my current flexi plan can be used on blackberry. the guy said i can use but only cant use bbm and push email. so i was like hmmm its okay about those two. in the end, when i got my phone, i cant even use the browser! called the operator to change my plan to blackberry plan but she said i cant cos i need to purchase the plan with the phone. seriously, they didn’t even mention anything when i bought the phone. so its my fault that i didn’t purchase the plan with the phone?
    what should i do then i can get my blackberry plan?

  • kit

    SingTel also blocks VPN when you tether your phone. Tethered traffic goes on BBoM, that means VPN is blocked regardless of BB devices.

  • kara

    Singtel obviously didn’t train their staffs well enough.

    Knowing nothing about all these Blackberry plans / iPhone plans / Mobile plans or whatsoever, I headed down to a Singtel Store for enquiry as well as upgrade whatever plan which suits me the best.

    First, the staff told me that 1gb mobile plan for ANY phone is more than enough to surf the net. So I was like, alright cool, I’ll take that. Then so when I asked her about the bbm, her face changed and said “why you never tell me you wanna sign up with BB plan?” I was like, “Hey come on, I dont know anything about it thats why I’m here to enquire, you should at least tell me what kind of mobile plans Singtel has.” Obviously, she became unhappy.

    So ultimately, I signed up for 3GB BIS because she said “THERES NO 1GB BIS”. I’m fine with it because I had no choice as this is the only piece of information she provided me with. LOL ?

    Fine, after 3 ridiculous working days, my blackberry was finally activated! BBM was working well and all but browser wasn’t working. I called up and checked. They said because I registered for the 1gb BIS. Obviously I didn’t and I do have the piece of paper bill which clearly stated 3GB BIS. They asked me to wait for 3-4 hours while they reactivate it again.

    Apparently, I waited for 2 FULL days, browser still doesnt work. So I phoned the technical support hotline for assistance, again. This time, he tells me to approach any HELLO! store for assistance, they will be able to help me. Immediately, I went down to the nearest one available.

    I queued up, and finally got to my turn, the guy said that my plan is a 1gb BIS plan. So when I asked what should I do now, he said, “Oh! why not you go back home and phone the technical support for help, see what they can do.” This time I was really, pissed off. I told him, everything you all ask me to do is wait. First, I waited 3 days, then few hours then days then now you ask me to call and wait again? He could tell I was quite pissed already so he gave me a queue number for assistance.

    Thankfully, the guy assisting me, provided me with all the information that I needed. I was then being told that the system registered me under 1gb BIS, so what he needed to do was to change it to 3gb BIS and he will do all the neccessary to make my bb work ASAP. So much trouble just for 1 blackberry -_-

  • radan

    a bit of a complicated question – i have a starhub blackberry with a data plan.
    i also have another blackberry with singtel where i get my office email.
    is it possible for me to put my starhub sim into my office (singtel)blackberry and still get office email on it? do i need to change any settings?
    i tried it and does not seem to work. i can surf the internet tho without any problems.

  • ww

    Totally agree on everything u guys say. I’m using singtel 3gb plan, which I think it is too expensive and the best part is 1gb can only access to email n msn. wtf. Do we need 1gv to check n chat on msn? Waiting for 1 year to upgrade my phone or better still 2yrs to change service provider! Ha

  • http://anna.my ANNA

    I wish I can change to M1/Starhub. You should have warned. I could switch. Now my 48BUCKS/MONTH is so freaking ex!

  • http://www.spyblackberry.com BlackBerry spy

    I’ve also been using StarHub’s BIS for almost 3 months and my surfing experience is just the same with you. I think they are the better than SingTel.

  • http://felixker.com Felix Ker

    Earlier on I spoke to “Slim”. Now it’s “Malini”. Malini now told me it’s activated.

    The explanation was that the service was activated at RIM’s side but not at SingTel’s side. Whichever staff did only half the job should be fired.

    And whoever Slim was, should be fired too, telling me it’s connected when it’s not even fully activated.

  • http://felixker.com Felix Ker

    Okay, I called to activate my BIS 3GB yesterday.

    After 24 hours today, I called back since my service isn’t up yet.

    1st call, I was told it’s connected. No problems. So they told me to off my mobile for 5 mins and on again. I requested for a service reset – I wonder if they did it for me.

    2nd call, I was told it’s still pending. I made her check again since her colleague earlier on told me it was already “Connected” when I don’t get any BIS. Now, I’m on hold for quite awhile already.

  • spy

    i agree. im a singtel 3gb bis user. initially i went down to a singtel exclusive retailer store to get my bold2 with a Corporate plan (CIS). i was told that it’s possible to use internet using 3g flexi 12gb databundle. so i took up 3g flexi plan. somehow i found out the truth but they wont allow me to change the plan, so i took up the 1gb BIS. (not knowing that 1gb could not do much, and the CSO did not highlight any different between 1gb n 3gb)

    a week later. i got jealous of my girlfriend’s m1 1gb bis plan. she could use and access all the bb apps while i was stuck with only stupid IM and push mail only. no bb apps world and internet browsing. it was as though i fell into a traphole set by singtel and there was no turning back.

    i called the customer service line quite a number of times. and each time the CSO gave me different answer, which gives me an impression that they are not even sure of their service plans. i went on to lodge a complaint. and finally they gave in, changed my plans to CIS itwo value with 3gb BIS.

    a month later, my shocking $480+ bill came. so i called the billing service line. and according to them. it was because i used the 1gb bis for internet surfing. so i told them i was an uninformed consumer. after a few working days they called back and rebates me a good $200+ which is still not good enough! after a few more call up to the CS line. the bill was back to normal.

    some points to suggest:
    -singtel should inform/train their CSO more specifically in their product services. so there would not be any contradict information.
    -list out the benefits and difference between plans clearly. not hiding any information that affects the consumer decision
    -im not sure what kind of marketing strategy singtel is going for but obviously everyone will choose starhub/m1 over singtel for 1GB bis.

    im quite satisfied with the efficiency of Singtel CSO and their mobile service. however, they should put in more effort in BIS as i believe there will be more BB users coming up.

    its a naggy, draggy long comment lol.

    • http://felixker.com Felix Ker

      If you think SingTel doesn’t care about you, move onto StarHub or M1. Both ISPs provide better services as compared.