Ultimate iPhone 12 Telcos' Price vs SIM-Only Price Comparison
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Ultimate iPhone 12 Telcos' Price vs SIM-Only Price Comparison

Joel Koh
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If you are looking to get an iPhone 12 series phone.

iphone 12 design
Source: Apple

You’re in the right place.

Check out our comparison of getting an iPhone 12 from the Telcos with a two-year contract, versus getting it directly from Apple and taking up a SIM-Only plan.

Also, you might notice that the iPhone mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max are missing from this comparison.

This is because these two phones will only be released on 16 November, with pre-orders starting 6 November.

With that said let’s jump right into the comparison!

Information accurate as of 18 October 2020.


TL;DR: Ultimate iPhone 12 Telcos’ Price vs iPhone 12 SIM-Only Price Comparison

DetailsGrid Mobile SIM Only Plan + Buy Direct From Apple
iPhone 12 (64GB)
Circles.Life Plan: iPhone 12 (64GB)M1 Base Plan + $10 Addon: iPhone 12 (64GB)Singtel XO 48: iPhone 12 (64GB)StarHub Mobile+ ($65):
iPhone 12 (64GB)
Upfront Cost$1,299$0$710$698$579
Monthly Subsciption$17.90$72.13$50.00$58.00$65
Total Cost (24 Months)$1,728.60$1,731.12$1,910.00$2,090.00$2,139.00
Contract LengthNo ContractNo Contract*24 Months24 Months24 Months
Data20GB20GB17GB20GB30GB
Talktime120 mins300 mins200 mins100 mins200 mins
SMS50 SMS25 SMS200 SMS100 SMS200 SMS
Caller IDYesFreeFree for 3 months$5.35/month +
$10.70 activation fee
Free
5G Trial NetworkNoT.B.C.Yes
(free for 3 months)
YesYes
Additional Perks-5G speeds (Launch TBC)

Yearly $200 phone upgrade voucher

Free 12 months HLA device insurance
3 months Free weekend data for new sign-ups (or 6 months if switching to M1)

12 free months of Apple TV+ and VIU

3 free months of Apple Arcade

Unlimited data streaming of Spotify
12 FREE months Apple TV+

9 free months of Apple Arcade

Free Weekend Local Data
3 free months of Apple iCloud (50GB)

12 free months of Apple TV+ and StarHub TV+

*For CirclesLife’s 24-month iPhone 12 combo plans (with phone), there is no contract per se as you can terminate the contract anytime without incurring any termination fee.
However, you will still need to continue paying up the remaining amount you owe on the instalment plans for the cost of the phone.

Here are your options, click on the links to jump to a section.


iPhone 12 Apple Price + SIM Only Plan

To compare, SIM-only plans and Telco plans, we will be using the Apple store price paired with the cheapest SIM-Only plans and comparing them to the Telco plans.

iPhone 12 Price

Here’s a quick recap of the iPhone 12’s prices if you buy the phone directly from the online Apple Store.

ModeliPhone 12 MiniiPhone 12iPhone 12 ProiPhone 12 Pro Max
Price (64GB)$1,149$1,299--
Price (128GB)$1,219$1,369 $1,649$1,799
Price (256GB)$1,389 $1,539S$1,819$1,969
Price (512GB)--$2,149$2,299
5G SupportYes
Display5.4" OLED
476 ppi
Max 1200 nits brightness
6.1" OLED
460 ppi
Max 1200 nits brightness
6.1" OLED
460 ppi
Max 1200 nits brightness
6.7" OLED
458 ppi
Max 1200 nits brightness
ProcessorA14 Bionic
Main CamerasUltra Wide
Wide (2x Optical zoom)
Ultra Wide
Wide
Telephoto (4x
Optical zoom)
LiDAR Scanner
Ultra Wide
Wide
Telephoto (5x
Optical zoom)
LiDAR Scanner
Video CameraDolby Vision HDR 4K video recording up to 30 fpsDolby Vision HDR 4K video recording up to 60 fps
Face ID or Touch IDFaceID
Dust & Water Resistance IP68
(Water resistant to a depth of 6 metres for up to 30 minutes)

Also, do note that the Apple store offers instalment plans with 0% instalments for 12 or 24 months with these banks.

Cheapest SIM-Only Plans Singapore

To find the cheapest SIM-Only plans we will be referring to the comprehensive comparison of the cheapest SIM-only plans that my colleague put together.

For the cheapest SIM-Only plans, your top 3 options for the cheapest SIM Only plan are:

Amongst the three, Grid Mobile will be used for the comparison as it is the second most affordable mobile plan.

We are not looking at TPG as their network coverage is not as comprehensive as M1, Singtel and StarHub or the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that use the big three’s network.

However, do note that you will have to do without 5G, which in my opinion is not too big a loss.

Grid Mobile

For the uninitiated, Grid Mobile is one of the newer MVNOs and is a joint venture between Singtel and ST Telemedia.


Apart from TPG’s offering, Grid Mobile’s 20GB SIM Only Mobile Plan ($17.90) is really good deal in our books.

You even get free Caller ID (erm… hello? Singtel? Why’re you still charging for it on your own SIM Only plan?!).

Total Cost

To illustrate the total costs of this approach, we will be buying an iPhone 12(64GB) and subscribing to Grid Mobile’s 20GB SIM Only Mobile Plan for 24 months, since most of the Telco contracts are about this long.

We are using the iPhone 12 as I would think that this is the phone most people would buy, considering that its predecessor the iPhone 11, was the best selling phone in the world in 2020.

Monthly Gird Mobile Subscription Costs (24 Months): $429.60

iPhone 12 (64GB) Upfront Costs: $1,299

Total Costs of Buying Direct From Apple and SIM-Only Plan:

$1,728.60

Keep this in mind. Now let’s move on to the comparison.

Circles Life iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Combo Plan

First up we have Circles.Life’s iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro plans.

DetailsGrid Mobile SIM Only Plan + Buy Direct From Apple
iPhone 12 (64GB)
Circles.Life: iPhone 12 (64GB)Circles.Life: iPhone 12 (128GB)Circle.Lifes: iPhone 12 (256GB)Circles.Life: iPhone 12 Pro (128GB)Circles.Life: iPhone 12 Pro (256GB)Circles.Life: iPhone 12 Pro (512GB)
Upfront Cost$1,299$0
Monthly Subscription Fee$17.90$72.13$75.04$82.13$86.71$93.79$107.54
Contract LengthNo ContractNo Contract*
Total Cost (24 Months)$1,728.60$1,731.12$1,800.96$1,971.12$2,081.04$2,251$2580.96
Data20GB
Talktime120 mins300 mins
Caller IDYesFree
SMS50 SMS25 SMS
5G-5G speeds (coming soon in 2020)
Additional Perks-Yearly $200 phone upgrade voucher

Free 12 months HLA device insurance

*For CirclesLife’s 24-month iPhone 12 combo plans (with phone), there is no contract per se as you can terminate the contract anytime without incurring any termination fee.
However, you will still need to continue paying up the remaining amount you owe on the instalment plans for the cost of the phone.

When you compare the Grid Mobile + buying the iPhone 12 direct from Apple approach, to the Circles.Life iPhone 12 Combo plan; you’ll find that there is little separating them.

But, you do get the added benefit of 5G when Circles.Life launches its 5G network when it arrives ‘soon in 2020.’

Prices are very similar, even for the most expensive iPhone 12 Pro (512GB) model.

For Circles.Life iPhone 12 Telco plans, you are basically paying for the price of the SIM-Only subscription and the cost of the phone.

Do note that you can pay for your Circles.Life plan’s subscription fee directly, either with your credit card or debit card (Visa, Mastercard or Amex).

However, for the phone itself, you can only pay for it via the Installment Payment Plan offered on DBS/POSB Credit Cards (Visa or Mastercard only), with the total cost of the phone split evenly into 24 monthly instalments with 0% interest and no upfront costs.

Circles Life iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Combo Plan (Phone Only)

In addition, you can buy the iPhone 12 directly from Circles.Life over 24 months via instalments as mentioned above.

Here are the details:

DetailsCircle.Life: iPhone 12 (64GB)Circle.Life: iPhone 12 (128GB)Circle.Life: iPhone 12 (256GB)Circle.Life: iPhone 12 Pro (128GB)Circle.Life: iPhone 12 Pro (256GB)Circle.Life: iPhone 12 Pro (512GB)
Upfront Cost$0$0$0$0$0$0
Monthly Installment Cost$54.13$57.04$64.13$68.71$75.79$89.54
Duration24 Months24 Months24 Months24 Months24 Months24 Months
Total Cost (24 Months)$1,299.00$1,369.00$1,539.00$1,649.00$1,819$2,149.00

The prices that Circles.Life is charging for the iPhone 12 lineup is the same as what Apple is charging.

iPhone 12 M1 Price

Next, we have M1’s prices for the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro model.

As for 5G connectivity, you will get free access to M1’s 5G trial network and 100GB extra data when you sign up for these plans:

  • Free three months 5G Booster Pack on $40 Base Plan + $10 Add-on
  • Free six months 5G Booster Pack on $40 Base Plan + $38 Add-on and above

M1 iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Plans

DetailsGrid Mobile SIM Only Plan + Buy Direct From AppleM1 $40 Base plan$10 Add-on$38 Add-on$70 Add-on$195 Add-on
Monthly Subscription Fee$17.90$40.00$50.00$78.00$110.00$235.00
iPhone 12 (64GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1299
$1,728.60
$810
$1,770
$710
$1,910
$450
$2,322
$200
$2,840
$0
$5,640
iPhone 12 (128GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1369
$1798.60
$880
$1,840
$770
$1,970
$510
$2,382
$260
$2,900
$0
$5,640
iPhone 12 (256GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1,539
$1,968.60
$1,030
$1,990
$930
$2,130
$670
$2,542
$670
$3,310
$100
$5,740
iPhone 12 Pro (128GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1,649
$1,728.60
$1,130
$2,090
$1,030
$2,230
$760
$2,632
$520
$3,160
$200
$5,840
iPhone 12 Pro (256GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1,819
$1798.60
$1,280
$2,240
$1,180
$2,380
$920
$2,792
$670
$3,310
$350
$5,990
iPhone 12 (512GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$2,149
$2,578.60
$1,580
$2,540
$1,480
$2680
$1,220
$3,092
$970
$3,610
$650
$6,290
Contract LengthNo contract
Data20GB12GB17GB
42GB77GB112GB
Talktime120 mins100 mins200 mins300 mins500 minsUnlimited mins
SMS50100 SMS200 SMS350 SMS500 SMS1,000 SMS
Caller IDFreeFree for 3 months for new sign-upsFree for 3 months for new sign-upsFree for 3 months for new sign-upsFree for 3 months for new sign-upsFree for 3 months for new sign-ups
5G-Yes
(free for 3 months)
Yes
(free for 6 months)
Additional Perks-3 months Free weekend data for new sign-ups (or 6 months if switching to M1)

12 free months of Apple TV+ and VIU

3 free months of Apple Arcade

Unlimited data streaming of Spotify

When you compare the Grid Mobile + buying the iPhone 12 direct from Apple approach to the M1 plans; you’ll find that you will have to pay more with the difference in price expanding when you move up to the more expensive phone plans.

For example, let’s look at the iPhone 12 64GB model.

For Grid, you will have to pay $1,299 upfront for the and just $17.90 a month for however long you like as there is no contract.

But for the purposes of this comparison, we would assume you will use Grid mobile for 24 months.

In total, you will only be paying $1,728.60.

However, if you opt for the base plan, you will have to pay $810 for upfront for the phone and $40 a month for the plan.

In total, you will only be paying $1,770, just $42 more than the Grid mobile + buy direct from Apple approach!

Also, M1 is offering $200 off for new sign-ups or when you switch to M1 (and an additional S$100 if using Citi credit card for payment or S$120 with Citi M1 card).

This means you are paying $1,470, or $258 less than the Grid mobile + buy direct from Apple approach!

However, with M1, you will be getting less data as the base $40 a month plan will give you only 12GB.

Also, the base M1 plan does not have 5G and the free caller ID is only for new customers and is only free for three months.

iPhone 12 Singtel Price

Next up we have Singtel who have also released information about their iPhone 12 Telco plans.

iphone 12 singtel plans
Source: Singtel

But before you look at their price plans, here are few things to take note of.

The Combo and XO plans below come bundled with 5G NOW: an add-on that comes with an additional 10GB of local data (included in the plans) and access to Singtel’s 5G trial network.

However, you will need to pay an additional $10 for the monthly subscription fee for the plans.

Also, the phone prices are inclusive of $50 discount from 5G NOW and $100 discount from a new sign-up or upgrade from a lower-tier plan to XO 78 or XO 108.

Singtel iPhone 12 Plans

DetailsGrid Mobile SIM Only Plan + Buy Direct From AppleXO 48XO 78XO 108Combo 2Combo 3Combo 6Combo 12
Monthly Subscription Fee$17.90$58.00$88.00$118.00$52.90$82.90$109.90$249.90
iPhone 12 (64GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1,299
$1,728.60
$698
$2,090
$328
$2,440
$68
$2,900
$788
$2,057.60
$548
$2,537.60
$338
$2,975.60
$0
$5,976
iPhone 12 (128GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1369
$1,798.60
$758
$2150
$398
$2,510
$68
$2,960
$848
$2,117.60
$608
$2,597.60
$398
$3,035.60
$0
$5,976
iPhone 12 (256GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1,539
$1,968.60
$918
$2,318
$548
$2,660
$68
$3,110
$1,008
$2,277.60
$768
$2,757.60
$398
$3,195.60
$0
$5,976
Contract LengthNo Contract24 Months
Data20GB20GB50GB80GB12GB14GB17GB22GB
Talktime120 mins100 mins300 mins500 mins200 mins10,000 mins
SMS50100 SMS300 SMS500 SMS1,000 SMS10,000 SMS
Caller IDFree$5.35/month +
$10.70 activation fee
5G-5G NOW
Additional Perks-12 free months of Apple iCloud (50GB)

9 free months of Apple Arcade

12 FREE months Apple TV+

Free Weekend Local Data
12 free months of Apple iCloud (50GB)

9 free months of Apple Arcade

12 FREE months Apple TV+

Singtel iPhone 12 Pro Plans

DetailsGrid Mobile SIM Only Plan + Buy Direct From AppleXO 48XO 78XO 108Combo 2Combo 3Combo 6Combo 12
Monthly Subscription Fee$17.90$58.00$88$118.00$52.90$82.90$109.90$249.90
iPhone 12 Pro (128GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1,649
$2,078.60
$1,018
$2,410
$648
$2,760
$378
$3,210
$1,108
$2,377.60
$868
$2,857.60
$658
$3,295.6
$0
$5,976
iPhone 12 Pro (256GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1,819
$2,248.60
$1,168
$2,560
$798
$2,910
$538
$3,370
$1,258
$2527.60
$1,018
$3,007.60
$808
$3,445.60
$0
$5,976
iPhone 12 Pro (512GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$2,149
$2,578.60
$1,468
$2,860
$1,108
$3,220
$838
$3,670
$1,558
$2,827.60
$1,318
$3,308.20
$1,108
$3,745.60
$268
$6.254
Contract LengthNo Contract24 Months
Data20GB20GB50GB80GB12GB14GB17GB22GB
Talktime120 mins100 mins300 mins500 mins200 mins10,000 mins
SMS50100 SMS300 SMS500 SMS1,000 SMS10,000 SMS
Caller IDFree$5.35/month +
$10.70 activation fee
5G-5G NOW
Additional Perks-12 free months of Apple iCloud (50GB)

9 free months of Apple Arcade

12 FREE months Apple TV+

Free Weekend Local Data
12 free months of Apple iCloud (50GB)

9 free months of Apple Arcade

12 FREE months Apple TV+

When you compare the Grid Mobile + buying the iPhone 12 direct from Apple approach to the Singtel plans; you’ll find that you will have to pay more with the difference in price expanding when you move up to the more expensive phone plans.

For example, let’s look at the iPhone 12 64GB model.

For Grid, you will have to pay $1,299 upfront for the and just $17.90 a month for however long you like as there is no contract.

But for the purposes of this comparison, we would assume you will use Grid mobile for 24 months.

In total, you will only be paying $1,728.60.

However, if you opt for the basic Singtel XO 48 plan, you will have to pay $698 for upfront for the phone and $58 a month for the plan.

In total, you will only be paying $2,090, a good $362 more than the Grid mobile + buy direct from Apple approach!

iPhone 12 StarHub Price

Now let’s look at StarHub’s contract offerings for the iPhone 12 lineup.

starhub iphone 12
Source: StarHub

We will only be featuring the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro plans as information about the iPhone mini and the Phone 12 Max plans have yet to be released.

A few things to take note of for the Mobile+ consumer plans:

You will receive an additional $200 phone discount if you are switching from other telcos to StarHub. You also have the option to pay for the phone via instalments over the 24-month contract with $0 upfront cost.

Not to mention that if you sign up for StarHub’s Mobile+ plan, you are enrolled into StarHub’s trial 5G network at no extra cost.

StarHub iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Plans

Here are StarHub’s price plans for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro:

DetailsGrid Mobile SIM Only Plan + Buy Direct From AppleMobile+ ($65)Mobile+ ($95)Mobile+ ($155)
Monthly Subscription Fee$17.90$65.00$95.00$155.00
iPhone 12 (64GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1,299
$1,728.60
$579
$2,139
$329
$2,609
$0
$3,720
iPhone 12 (128GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1.369
$1798.60
$649
$2,209
$399
$2,679
$0
$3,720
iPhone 12 (256GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1,539
$1,968.60
$799
$2,359
$549
$2,829
$19
$3,739
iPhone 12 Pro (128GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1,649
$2,078.60
$899
$2,459
$649
$2,929
$119
$3,839
iPhone 12 Pro (256GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$1,819
$1798.60
$1,059
$2,619
$809
$3,089
$269
$3,989
iPhone 12 (512GB):
Upfront Cost
Total Cost (24 months)
$2,149
$2,578.60
$1,359
$2,919
$1,109
$3,389
$569
$4,289
Contract LengthNo contract24 Months24 Months24 Months
Data20GB30GB60GB120GB
Talktime120 mins200 mins600 mins1,000 mins
SMS50200 SMS600 SMS1,000 SMS
Caller IDFreeFree
5G-StarHub's 5G trial network
Additional Perks-3 free months of Apple iCloud (50GB)

12 free months of Apple TV+ and StarHub TV+

When you compare the Grid Mobile + buying the iPhone 12 direct from Apple approach to the StarHub plans; you’ll find that you will have to pay more with the difference in price expanding when you move up to the more expensive phone plans.

For example, let’s look at the iPhone 12 64GB model.

For Grid, you will have to pay $1,299 upfront for the and just $17.90 a month for however long you like as there is no contract.

But for the purposes of this comparison, we would assume you will use Grid mobile for 24 months.

In total, you will only be paying $1,728.60.

However, if you opt for the basic Mobile+ ($65) plan, you will have to pay $578 for upfront for the phone and $65 a month for the plan.

In total, you will only be paying $2,139, about a good $411 more than the Grid mobile + buy direct from Apple approach!

Even with the port in discount, you will be paying $1,939, about a good $211 more than the Grid mobile + buy direct from Apple approach!

Closing Thoughts

Aside from Circles Life and M1, you will be paying anywhere from $42 to $411 more when you sign up for a two-year contract with the Telcos for the base iPhone 12 64GB.

Sure you get 5G connectivity and some perks for Singtel and StarHub, but you will be locked into a two-year contract with them.

I would very much prefer the SIM-Only and buy direct from Apple approach as I want to pay less and not get locked into a contract.

But if you have access to a Corporate Individual (CIS) scheme, it should be worth it to get a telco set as you can recontract after 21 months.

The overall discount is about 25 per cent, but you might want to do the math and compare prices.

Otherwise, the SIM only route is usually better.

Pro-tip: some people will sell their brand new Telco bought iPhones for a bit lower than retail prices on platforms like Carousell. You might be able to snag a deal so do check it out!

Speaking of Sim-Only, check out our FREE SIM-Only Mobile Plans comparison tool if you are looking for the best SIM-Only plan for your phone!seedly sim only

Stay safe everyone!

About Joel Koh
History student turned writer at Seedly. Before you ask, not a teacher. My time as a history student has equipped me with the skills to evaluate the impact societal development has on financial and nonfinancial events.
You can contribute your thoughts like Joel Koh here.

Still have more questions after reading the article? Fret not, ask our community here!

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