8 hacks to lower your phone bill while enjoying overseas data & bundled IDD

by Natalie Lim
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It’s great being an adult. Especially when it comes to fun privileges such as getting to stay out all night with our friends, being able to sign up for various credit cards, or even getting to purchase the car of our dreams.

But with great power comes great responsibilities. These perks we’re enjoying also means that we’ve to work to pay for bills. After your monthly housing, grocery and utility costs, your phone bill might just be the next priciest thing in your entire budget. If you’re tired of paying a small fortune each month just to make calls, here are some hacks to lower the cost of your cell phone bill.

Ways to lower the cost of your cell phone bill

Limit your background data usage

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It’s a common misconception that simply exiting from an app shuts it down. But chances are that your apps are still running in the background and consuming data — even if it’s not being used. This is especially true for various media feeds, streaming, and gaming apps. 

The data is used to refresh the app’s content and can burn through a significant chunk of your data plan. To counteract this, go into your settings and look over the Cellular Data Usage and Background App Refresh of each app and turn off the ones you don’t use.

That’ll save you from draining your data (and battery) and in turn, lower the cost of your cell phone’s bill. 

Use WiFi when you can

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Some of us choose to stick with limited data plans as we do not believe in paying for an abundance we do not use. Due to the pandemic, most of us are also made to work from home, allowing us to be connected to WiFi.

But occasionally, we find the need to make commuting more bearable by streaming videos and sometimes, we have to download huge work files on the go. 

Streaming a movie for an hour may not seem like a big deal, but it actually consumes more than 3GB of data. The fees for going over your data limit can add up quickly, so it’s a good pointer to use your cellular data only when you need it. 

In Singapore, WiFi is easily accessible at most public places and even restaurants. Even when you’re out and about, tapping into one of these hotspots would save you a lot of data usage. 

Remove unnecessary mobile insurance

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Many carriers often try to get you to buy into a small monthly fee to cover the cost of your phone, should it become damaged or lost. You might even be billed for it without knowledge.

Some of these insurances do not cover certain damages such as water damage, and you’re most likely required to pay a deductible if something does happen to your phone. Adding on to the monthly fee you’re paying for mobile insurance, the cost of simply replacing your phone may be more worthwhile.

Sign up for paperless billing

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For those who are still receiving paper bills, carriers do charge you a small fee per billing account — that’s the cost for not saving the earth. These fees can go up to more than S$2.50 per month, racking up an extra S$30 annually

To lower the cost of your cell phone bill, opt to go green and subscribe to paperless billing instead. That way, you’re able to save the earth and some extra cash. 

Buy no-contract phones or SIM-only plans

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Telco companies make money in various ways, and one of them is through mobile phone contracts. To purchase a mobile phone through them, you’ll usually have to sign a two-year contract. 

When kept in mint condition, mobile phones can be used for more than two years. If there’s no need for you to change to the latest smartphone every now and then, consider getting a no-contract phone or opt for SIM-only plans instead. 

Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) usually offer more competitive SIM-only mobile plans, with CMLink as a perfect example. CMLink offers no-contract postpaid SIM-only plans, so you’ll be able to pay for only what you need and not be pressured into getting a new gadget. 

In addition, there’s more flexibility for SIM-only plans, since customers are allowed to change the plans according to their needs. As compared to a mobile contract, no penalties are imposed either if you’d like to downgrade your plan.

Don’t do a payment plan for your phone

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Paying for your new phone through instalment plans may seem like a good idea. But in hindsight, you’re adding on to the debt that you already have. 

You may be offered a lowly payment per month just to service the purchase of your phone, but if you add up the bite-sized payment that you’re servicing, it may be more than the actual cost of your phone.

Some banks charge an interest fee for their instalment plans, so stay clear of rolling the extra cost into your wireless bill — a full payment upfront may save you from unnecessary damage in the long run. 

Cut out services that you don’t use

It’s safe to say that most of us are enticed by the “little add-ons” that most Telco companies have to offer, such as enhanced voicemail, extra talk time or even unlimited data bundles. However, it’s important to avoid the hidden charges that come along with them. Some of them may come with activation/registration fees, and there may be an additional charge for caller ID or roaming options.

With Work From Home becoming an acceptable culture, you may not even require as much data as before. Always review your last three months of statements to determine what you need in a plan and keep a lookout for mobile operators that provide cheaper roaming add-ons, or better alternatives.

Photo: CMLink Singapore

There are many tips and tricks out there on lowering the cost of your cell phone bill. But what lays out the foundation of budgeting correctly is choosing the right mobile plan. If you’re

looking to switch carriers, CMLink is an MVNO that offers affordable no-contract, SIM-only mobile plans. It also utilises the network of one of the most established telcos in Singapore, so you can be assured of quality coverage.

To simplify your experience, CMLink offers three SIM-only postpaid mobile plans that customers can choose from. These mobile plans include various features such as cross-border data, bundled IDD minutes and auto voice call and SMS forwarding — all in one SIM card. 

Cross-border data sharing

We’ve all been through the hassle of purchasing a new prepaid SIM card in another country, or even pumping in extra cash to sign up for a roaming data bundle. With CMLink’s crossborder data, there’s no need to do so. 

CMLink offers cross-border data that can be shared across Singapore, mainland China and Hong Kong, so if you visit these countries frequently, you’ll be able to receive mail and chat notifications once you touch down. What’s more, if you’re using CMLink’s data in mainland China, you’ll be able to access Facebook, Whatsapp and more, without the need for a VPN.

Bundled IDD minutes

For Singaporeans who shuttle between countries for business or leisure, CMLink’s mobile plans are also bundled with free bundled IDD minutes to mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and USA. 

Chinese nationals who are corporate employees, students or immigrants in Singapore will benefit greatly from this mobile plan, since the quality of IDD calls is better than overseas Whatsapp or WeChat calls. Plus, you will not rack up an expensive phone bill anymore.

1-Card-Multi-Number service 

The best part about CMLink is their 1-Card-Multi-Number service. The CMLink card allows you to hold multiple phone numbers with just one card, connecting your SIM card seamlessly to these countries — mainland China and Hong Kong.

To make things easier for you, for those who do not have a China Mobile mainland China and Hong Kong number, you can also apply for a new China Mobile mainland China and Hong Kong number and link the number to your CMLink SIM to receive voice calls and SMSes.

Photo: CMLink Singapore

There are many ways to lower the cost of your cell phone bill, but choosing the right provider sets you on the right foot. CMLink is an MVNO that offers plans with no hidden fees, free incoming calls, Caller ID, SIM registration, delivery and mobile number port. 

The mobile plan provides you with a Chinese mobile mainland number as well, so Chinese-friendly bill payment methods such as WeChat pay/ Alipay / Visa or Mastercard can be used and set up with ease. 

The plans are priced at S$10/month, S$20/month and S$40/month, each catering to your budget and consumption. 

There’s also a 24/7 bilingual (Chinese / English) customer service hotline for those who require assistance or support. 

Photo: CMLink Singapore

CMLink is currently running their 618 promotion where you’ll get to enjoy 30% off your first payment from now till 4 July. This means if you sign up for a S$10 plan, you’ll only have to pay S$7 upon sign-up.

Plus, you’ll also receive a sure-win Mystery Box which includes prizes worth up to S$799. All mystery boxes include Free 2 months subscription, while every 49th customer will receive 5 Free months of subscription and every 299th customer a 55” television worth S$799. All you have to do is activate your plan during the promotional period, and you’ll be notified via SMS of the mystery box opening details. 

Since the promotion is only eligible for the first 3,000 customers on a first-come-first-serve, while stocks last basis, it’s fastest fingers first. 

To sign up for a CMLink mobile plan, click here. Or, visit their website and follow their Wechat official account “小移在新加坡” for more information. 

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This post was made possible by CMLink Singapore.

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I leave the office at 6PM on the . to rush home and play games. My boss has no control over me!!

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