The (Almost) All-Data Mobile Experiment – Part 1 : The Idea

Glued to the cellphone!

Every Singaporean I know looks forward to the end of their 2-year cycle. No, not ORD – I’m talking about the end of their mobile contract. It’s the chance to finally change their phone (which they’ve been yearning to for the past year or so – my girlfriend should know, because golly I do).

I chanced upon an article recently which got me thinking – what if you lived purely on data? No talktime or SMSes, communicating just through apps and the internet? StarHub was kind enough to remind me that my mobile contract was ending soon, so it seemed like a good time to consider.

After all, our world has changed so much in the past few years. The mobile internet is accessible islandwide (pretty much) and apps, not SMS, form the basis of communication these days. Just a few years ago, ditching the talktime and SMS would have been akin to digging a hobbit-hole and waiting for a grey wizard to appear. Now though, it seems plausible to wean oneself off a traditional mobile plan, without having to become a hermit.

Yet for someone who’s depended (at least to a certain extent) on talktime and SMS for as long as he’s had a mobile phone, doing something like this seems… risky. So, I needed to do a little bit of research, the first bit of which involved determining my decision criteria.

Criteria

I did want to get more out of this than just the kick of doing something radical. There had to be parameters. If these could not be met, taking the leap would be little more than an expensive and probably short-lived endeavour:

  • Manageable disruption to lifestyle – This is a bit difficult to quantify, but I shouldn’t need to make drastic lifestyle changes. Some disruption is expected, given that I depend on SMS more than my peers (SMS is really a lot faster on Windows Phone). But it shouldn’t require me to change my job, lose friends and all that sorta thing. I also shouldn’t have to inconvenience myself too much e.g. having to sign up multiple plans, top up pre-paid cards weekly. You get the idea.
  • Lower cost – For this experiment to graduate to lifestyle, it’s got to cost significantly less than what I’ve been paying monthly (or will be paying, seeing as I’m on a 3G student plan with 12GB data – gotta love legacy). I’ll put 30% savings as a tentative “switch” threshold – anything less than that would have to be justified by the hassle (or lack thereof) of changing.

With these in mind, I begin my research. I’ll cover each criterion in subsequent posts before making the decision to take the leap. If I do take the leap, you can be sure I’ll check in to let you know whether it works. Just follow me and I’ll keep you updated! Drop any comments you have below or on Twitter @wasabigeek.

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