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TPG Review - Unlimited and Free* 4G, but what's the catch?

Editors Note: This article was first published on Rhyn Review's YouTube channel on 18th July 2019, and is re-uploaded for readability.

If you wish to watch the review instead, click on the video above!

Back in July 2019, you might've heard of this free 2GB/day SIM Card by TPG Mobile. If you haven’t, here’s what you need to know.

TPG Singapore is the fourth telco that's trying to claw some market share from big players like SingTel and Starhub. They're an Australian telecom service wanting to expand into Singapore and they did this by spending millions to buy 4G spectrum about in around 2019 and has been deploying and testing it privately.

Competition is what drives business to expand on their services while keeping their prices attractive. I can safely say that TPG is a threat to all three major telco after using TPG for about two months if they continue expanding their 4G coverage.

TPG network name on a Samsung S8
TPG works on both Android and iOS mobile devices, but may require APN settings to be manually configured. (Image source: Rhyn Reviews)

As of filming this video, they’re accepting trials for new customers and TPG's plan is slightly different; instead of a set amount of data per month, they limit it to 2GB of per day. Exceeding that will get your 4G throttled.*

*TPG Mobile Singapore has transitioned to paid plans that are now $10/mth for 100GB.

Also, making traditional calls and text is very unreliable. I would recommend using data applications like WhatsApp or FaceTime instead.

TPG Speed Test

What about speeds? Well, I can tell you straight that if you put two phones in front of me, one from StarHub and one from TPG and both loads Instagram, I would be unable to tell which phone is using which telco. Because at this point, the download speeds is negligible at best; our applications on the phone are designed to use as little data as possible and speeds of about 10Mbps is sufficient.

But if you want to know, TPG speeds average from 5Mbps to 40Mbps, a far cry from what the major telos can offer. To me, surfing Instagram or YouTube whether it’s on SingTel or TPG isn’t noticeable at all. Even if I nit pick, the response time of the bigger telos are definitely better. But I’m not using my phone to play games that require instantaneous response time, so this isn’t a factor for me.

SpeedTest done on iPhone X using TPG's 4G
TPG speed tests averages around 30Mbps in the north! (Image source: Rhyn Reviews)

There’s definitely work to be done to improve on their services. The most important being signal consistency.

The short version is that anything below ground level or level 1 is a inconsistent to non-existent signal. That means underground MRT train stations are dead zones, along with the basement of shopping malls and even toilets.

Signal in the south, particularly at VivoCity and HarbourFront Center is very unreliable. Basement of Raffle City is completely dead. And the long stretch between Khatib and Yio Chu Kang MRT station is 1 bar.

There’s also no signal in the zoo as well, so if you’re gonna post on Instagram stories those cute little animals I guess you’ll have to go back to the other telcos.

But let’s be fair to them; they’ve only entered the market for a year, and they did promise that they will be expanding their network.

I think that the most obvious improvement that they need is to continually expand coverage, especially in underground MRT tunnels. That dead zone of zero signal can be a deal breaker for many when TPG launches paid option; we as Singaporeans are spoiled by the coverage of 4G underground. Without any signal at all, it makes me think twice if I even want to sign up for any of TPG’s plans.

Other places include smaller regions of the island to ensure that they can reach coverage that is not on the surface level. For example, this could be within any Orchard shopping malls where the concrete jungle of shopping malls makes it difficult for signal to be consistent.

Another useful add-on would be to introduce WiFi calling on top of 4G calling, but while you could argue that there’s FaceTime and WhatsApp, using WiFi Calling offsets the data load away from the 4G towers and the calls would be more reliable as well.

What about TPG SIM Card Collection?

Also, as the first few batches of people who picked up TPG’s SIM card, I am happy to report that they now have all the necessary information on their website, especially for Android users that need to set up the APN settings for mobile data. I’ve added the link to access your TPG account here!

When I first picked up the SIM card, the customer service officer mentioned that its already activated. I popped the SIM into my S8 but there’s no data signal. I swapped my SIM over to my iPhone 7 and it works immediately.

For seniors who needs help, you may contact them on drop them a call at:

TPG Singapore Hotline

+ 65 6920 0000

Monday - Friday (except weekends and PH)

10am - 6pm

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