Circles.Life is shaking things up with a 20GB free trial for new users – here’s why Singtel and StarHub should be threatened

The Straits Times

Just 15 months on the scene and mobile virtual network provider (MVNP) Circles.Life is shaking things up again.

The “digital telco” today announced big, bold plans to to hit three to five per cent market share in Singapore by 2019 – two years ahead of its original plan.

But it’s not just this ambition that should frighten other major telcos in Singapore. What’s more important is how Circles.Life is planning to do that.

A new “try-before-you-buy” will now allow mobile phone users in Singapore to sign up for a free three-month Circles.Life trial with 20GB of monthly local data. Yes, you read that right – it’s completely free of charge.

Such a business model is not unheard of. In an age where people rely on digital platforms for their dose of music and television shows, free subscription trials are common. But never before (at least not in Singapore) has a telco offered a trial package as big as this, and at completely no cost to the consumer.

Called “Circles Switch”, the trial plan will also include 100 minutes of talktime and 20 SMS messages per month until the end of Dec 31, 2017.

There are no delivery charges, no registration fees, and no SIM card costs. On top of that, a special partnership with WhatsApp allows Circles.Life users to use unlimited data on the popular messaging app.

At a media briefing on Oct 16, Circles.Life was very clear about who they were after – potential customers whose contracts with other telcos have already ended, or are due for renewal before the end of the year.

Circles.Life itself does not offer contracts, but provides users with the flexibility of changing their mobile plan as and when it is required.

And this is where the other telcos need to watch out.

If the trial proves successful, Circles.Life could see itself reaching or exceeding its market share goal faster than expected.

After all, 20GB of free data per month is a big deal, especially for mobile users who have to stop themselves from streaming programmes on the go simply because they don’t have enough data to last through the month.

At the end of the trial, users who do not choose to cancel their subscription will be automatically put on a Circles.Life base plan which comes with 6GB of data and 100 minutes of talktime at $28 a month.

Rameez Ansar, co-founder and director of Circles.Life, said: “Since our launch last year, we have been single-mindedly focused on customer empowerment. In March, we shook the market with our 20 GB for $20 data upgrade plan (20/20 plan) which made bountiful data available to the customer at affordable prices. We are ready to challenge the status quo again and invite others still not on Circles.Life.”

According to Circles.Life, it currently has a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 54, which is significantly higher the Singapore telco average of -25.

It also has plans to officially launch in Indonesia by 2018, and is already building its local team in Jakarta.