With effect from 1 May 2013, Starhub’s mobile users would now be billed on an initial block of 1 minute and thereafter at per second rate. Previously, charges were for per second billing right from the start. Their website has been updated to reflect this change – available here.
If you have just received your Starhub bill, you might notice a small addendum at the bottom, “Per Second Billing (after initial block of 1 minute)”. The per second billing was an attractive aspect of a Starhub Mobile plan but that would now ceased from May 1, 2013. For Starhub users who make many but short calls, like “Hey, where are you? I’ve reached” type of calls, do note that each call would now eat up a minute block of your call time, and you may see an increase in your monthly bills.
With this change, M1 would be the only telco offering per second billing from 1 May 2013. Would they follow suit and follow Starhub move? I hope not. Singtel had never offered this incentive, it charges by 1st minute as well then per 6-second block.
With majority of mobile users on smartphones, it might be time to look for VOIP options such as Skype, Viber, Line for voice chats. Skype has been extremely active on the business front, and a lot of the innovation and downward price pressure has been focused on Skype’s marvellous ability to Skype-out, meaning to contact mobile phones and fixed lines worldwide. The other options like Viber require all parties to have Viber installed, and works similarly to Whatsapp. For all these VOIP options, voice quality has improved and might be a worthwhile consideration not just for overseas call, but local calls as well.