Singapore currently has three mobile operators, soon to be four:
- SingTel Mobile
- [TPG Telecom – to start in 2018]
SingTel is market leader, Starhub is the second position, and M1 is the third. Coverage and speed is excellent in the city on all three networks. No 2G is available (see below), 3G on 900 and 2100 MHz, and 4G/LTE has started on all three providers on 1800 (band 3) and 2600 MHz (band 7). From 2017 900 MHz (band 8) and 2500 MHz will be added, from 2018 spectrum on 700 MHz for 4G/LTE.
In May 2016 the first MVNO started with Circles.Life on the M1 network. As it’s only available online and doesn’t sell prepaid products, it isn’t listed here.
4th operator: TPG Telecom Edit
In 2016 the bidding auction for a 4th operator was started. The winner was named in December with TPG Telecom from Australia, founded by billionaire David Teoh. It will be provisionally allocated spectrum in the unusual 900 MHz and 2300 MHz bands to provide only 4G/LTE services starting in 2018. As per the terms of the licence award, TPG Telecom will be required to utilise the allocated frequencies to provide nationwide street level coverage for 4G within 18 months from the start of the new spectrum rights, with road tunnels and in-building service coverage within 30 months, and coverage for MRT underground stations and lines within 54 months from the start of the new spectrum rights.
Singapore Airlines roaming Edit
The operators heavily advertise data roaming on Singapore Airlines and some other airlines in-flight mobile networks. Unfortunately it’s available only to postpaid customers and hence not accessible to foreigners and not mentioned any further.
2G network switch off Edit
2G/GSM networks of all three providers were shut down on April 1, 2017. There is no 2G coverage anymore. So bring a 3G or 4G/LTE capable device. All customers still using GSM-based handsets are urged to upgrade to a 3G or 4G-enabled device as soon as possible.
In Singapore you have to show a photo ID to purchase a SIM card for registration. This can be done at any 7-Eleven or Cheers branch and takes some minutes. Be aware that you will be charged for incoming calls too in Singapore, like in the US, if they aren’t included in your plan.
The lowest priced starter packs of the three providers for S$6 or S$8 are hard to find. You won’t certainly get them at the airport where they only their S$30+ packages. Low-priced starters are rarely sold downtown or to be found in Chinatown. The best place to find a S$6-8 starter is in Little India district in the small shops along Seragoon Rd. and around Mustafa Centre, where they are always ‘on promotion’ and heavily marketed. As many travellers stay only for a limited time in town, they might be the better choice.
Roaming options Edit
Going to another country in SE Asia, note that the operators offer data offer roaming data in many SE Asian countries and even Australia at the rather pricey Singaporean rates. This might be an option, if you stay only for a short time and don’t want to buy a local SIM everywhere.
SingTel Mobile by the SingTel Group is the biggest provider in town and has a market share of about 45 %. The Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. is one of the largest mobile network operators in Southeast Asia.
Their prepaid product is called “hi!card” and sold in very different start-up packs which are now all on 4G/LTE too. They are available at retailers like SingTel stores (locator), 7-Eleven, Sheng Siong Supermarkets, Cheers, SingPost and other authorized dealers, except those SIM cards mentioned below, that are only sold at Changi Airport.
- for S$ 8: with S$ 10 credit valid for 90 days, in mini size only – see remarks in the Basics section
- for S$ 15: with S$ 18 credit valid for 120 days, in mini or micro size
- for S$ 20 data card: with 5 GB of data valid for 7 days, in mini, micro and nano size, no voice ore text included
- for S$ 28: with S$ 28 credit valid for 180 days, in mini, micro or nano size, available exclusively at their outlet at Changi Airport (RHB Bank Currency Exchange Counters)
- for S$ 38: with S$ 38 credit valid for 180 days and 1 GB valid for 7 days, in mini, micro and nano size, available at Changi Airport and retailers
- for S$ 50: with S$ 50 credit valid for 180 days and 5 GB data valid for 7 days, in mini, micro or nano size, available exclusively at Changi Airport.
You may notice that you can’t get the best deals at the airport (their outlet is at RHB Bank Currency Exchange counters), better go to a SingTel shop in town Singtel Store Locator or a postal office or for the best promotions around to Little India. The SIM card is valid for 4 months after activation without top-up.
Top-ups can be made with hi!top-up cards sold all over town in the stores mentioned above and at 7-Eleven, Cheers, Sheng Siong Supermarkets, Shop N Save, Caltex service stations, SPC, AXS Stations, DBS, POSB and OCBC ATMs (with local cards only), iNETS Kiosks, Kopitiam foodcourts. SAM, SingPost among others. You can check your balance by dialing *139#. These top-up cards are available:
- S$ 10, value S$ 11.50 valid for 90 days, free incoming calls for 10 days
- S$ 20, value S$ 23 valid for 180 days, free incoming calls for 20 days
- S$ 50, value S$ 57.50 valid for 120 days, free incoming calls for 20 days, available only at Changi Airport and SingTel shops
- S$ 15 bonus card, value S$ 30 for calls and texts only, no data, valid for 30 days
- S$ 22 datatalk card: value S$ 12 international calls, 250 MB data, 120 local minutes voice, free incoming calls and 500 local SMS valid for 30 days
- S$ 28 superhot card: value S$ 28 for internat. calls and texts and S$ 100 for local calls and texts, valid for 50 days
- S$ 30 bighot card: value S$ 30 for internatl. calls and texts and S$ 100 for local calls and text and 300 MB data, valid for 50 days.
Every time you top-up S$ 10 or more through their online site or their app, you will receive 500 MB data for free.
Default data rate Edit
Their standard data rate outside of packages is 5.4c per 10 KB if you’ve started with a S$ 8 hi! card and 2.7c per 10 KB if you’ve started with a more expensive hi!card. So buy packages.
Data feature packsEdit
Singtel features normal data plans and app specific plans. To activate any data plan dial *100#, call *363 for free or access http://www.singtel.com/hi (free). Laptop users send an SMS with ‘1’ to 727050. The plans don’t renew themselves automatically and you have to resubscribe. If you don’t (re)subscribe to a plan or used all your included data you pay the default rate (see above).
HOOQ (pronounced as hook) is a video on demand streaming service by Singtel and others featerung TV series and movies.
hiData Roam – Roaming offer Edit
For roaming in other Asian countries, they offer these packages, booked via *100#:
- S$ 5: 100 MB for 7 days in Malaysia (Maxis) and Australia (Optus)
- S$ 10: 1 GB for 30 days in Malaysia (Maxis), Australia (Optus), Indonesia (Telkomsel), Thailand (AIS) and the Philippines (Globe)
- S$ 20: 1 GB for 30 days in China (China Mobile and China Unicom), Hong Kong (CSL), India (Airtel), Taiwan (Taiwan Mobile), Japan (Softbank) and South Korea (SK Telecom).
Tourist SIM card Edit
Singtel released a tourist SIM called hi!Tourist SIM. It comes in three sizes:
- S$ 15: 100 GB 4G data, free use of Facebook, WhatsApp, Line and WeChat (all max. 1 GB), 500 mins local calls and 100 local SMS, 30 mins international calls, all valid for 7 days
- S$ 30: 100 GB 4G data, free use of Facebook, WhatsApp, Line and WeChat (all max. 1 GB), unlimited local calls and SMS, 90 mins international calls, 2GB roaming for Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia, Free Singtel Wifi, all valid for 10 days
- S$ 50: For a twin card (2 SIM cards), allowances will be shared between the main line and the supplementary line. 100 GB 4G data, free use of Facebook, WhatsApp, Line and WeChat (all max. 1 GB), unlimited local calls and SMS, 90 mins international calls, 5GB roaming for Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia, all valid for 10 days
Note, that international SMS are not included. They are available at Singtel Shops, exclusive retailers, at all terminals of Changi Airport, at selected 7-Eleven and Cheers and ferry terminals and causeway points. These cards may be extended by accessing Singtel site at $3 per extra day, adding 5 min international calls, 500 MB of data, 100 local SMS, 100 min local calls each day.
Technical settings Edit
Dial *43327 for automatic configuration or type in the following configuration for yourself:
- APN: hicard
- enter *100*1# to check your card balance and expiry
More info Edit
Their prepaid product is called “Happy Prepaid SIM” and sold in these different start-up packs in mini or micro sizes:
- for S$ 8 with S$ 10 credit valid for 90 days – see remarks in the Basics section
- for S$ 15 with S$ 18 credit valid for 180 days with 15 GB of data for 5 days
- for S$ 32 with S$ 32 credit valid for 180 days with 15 GB of data and 2 GB roaming data for 10 days
- for S$ 50 with S$ 50 credit valid for 180 days and 15 GB for 10 days and 5 GB roaming data for 30 days, sold exclusively at UOB Foreign Exchange at Changi Airport
Their SIM card is valid for 4 months after activation without having made a top-up.
Their top-up cards are sold all over town in convenience stores mentioned above and direct top-ups at OCBC and POSB ATMs (local cards only) amongst others:
- S$ 10, with S$ 10 credit, valid for 120 days
- S$ 17 with 200 MB, 120 local mins and 500 local SMS, free incoming calls for 30 days,
- S$ 20, with S$ 23 credit valid for 180 days, free incoming calls for 20 days
- S$ 28 with S$ 10 credit, 400 MB, 120 local mins, 500 local SMS, free incoming calls for 50 days
- S$ 30, with S$ 34.50 credit valid for 180 days, 10 MB data, free incoming calls for 20 days
- S$ 50, with S$ 57.50 credit valid for 180 days, 10 MB data, free incoming calls for 20 days
Alternatively, top-up online by credit card or Happy prepaid app.
Data feature packs Edit
Default data is 7c per 10 KB. For social media they offer:
- WeChat: S$ 0.40 per day, S$ 6 per month
- Line: S$ 0.40 per day, S$ 6 per month
To subscribe type *123*3#, select 3 for social messaging and choose the messenger. All plans auto-new, if not stopped. A FUP of max. 1 GB per day applies.
To subscribe or check balance type *123# and follow instructions. Unlike social media plans, general data plans do not auto renew. Validity of the data plan can be extended by subscribing another data plan before expiry.
Happy Roam: Roaming offer Edit
Starhub offers roaming data in 13 countries for domestic rates called Happy Roam both on voice & data as well as data-only SIM card. You need to have bought a valid domestic (Singaporean) data plan before (see above). Android users may need to change their APN to ‘shppd’, iOS users need to download here a roaming profile and install it. You may need to activate roaming by *123*333# before.
These countries and networks are covered:
Data-only SIM: Prepaid Internet SIM Edit
Furthermore, they sell a data-only SIM called Prepaid Internet SIM in all sizes for data and text only, no voice. Start-up price is S$ 18 with 2 GB data valid for 5 days. Speed is throttled to 7.2 Mbps. These top-ups are available either online or by top-up card:
- S$ 6: 2 GB for 1 day
- S$ 16: 6 GB for 3 days, max. 2 GB per day
- S$ 25: 14 GB for 7 days, max. 2 GB per day
- S$ 28: 2 GB for 30 days
- S$ 32: 3.5 GB for 60 days
Subscription is on your online Internet SIM account. No internatl. roaming on this SIM.
Technical settings Edit
- APN: shwap /or/ shinternet
- you may need to place a first call to activate data on the voice & data plans
More info Edit
- Website: http://www.starhub.com/personal/mobile/prepaid-plans.html
- To check balance and to see your phone number dial *113#.
M1 (formerly MobileOne)Edit
M1 (previously known as MobileOne) is the 3rd largest national provider in Singapore. Coverage on 3G and 4G is on par with the other two providers. All 2G/GSM has been shut down in April 2017.
Their prepaid product is called “M Card” and sold in different start-up packs in mini, micro and sometimes nano size:
- for S$ 5 with S$ 5 credit and 500 MB of data valid for 20 days – see remarks in the Basics section.
- for S$ 15 with S$ 15 credit and 20 of data valid for 20 days
The S$ 15 is sold at M1 shops (M1 shop locator), their exclusive distributors, authorised money changers and retailers, 7-Eleven, Cheers, Fairprice Xpress, SingPost among others. Their SIM cards have the longest validity of all Singaporean providers. It will be valid for 180 days from the day of activation without topping up. To extend validity, they offer add-ons for 60 days at S$ 0.99, for 90 days at S$ 1.40 and for 180 days at S$ 2.40 by *100*6*2#.
Their top-up cards are sold all over town in convenience stores mentioned above and electronic top-ups at AXS stations and SingPost with a bonus amongst others:
- S$ 5 valid for 60 days
- S$ 17 with 200 MB data, 500 local SMS, 120 mins local calls, free incoming calls, valid for 30 days
- S$ 23 with 350 MB data, S$ 12 value, 500 local SMS, 120 mins local calls, free incoming calls, valid for 50 days
- S$ 18, with S$ 21 value, free incoming calls within 20 days, valid for 180 days
- S$ 30, with 2 GB data, S$ 100 credit for calls and texts, valid for 30 days
You can also top-up online by credit card or app and have adding the ones mentioned above these top-up packages available:
- S$ 10 with $ 0.50 bonus
- S$ 15 plus S$ 40 for local calls and SMS, S$ 15 for intern. calls and SMS, free incoming calls within 10 days, valid for 50 days
- S$ 18 with S$ 3 bonus
- S$ 28 plus S$ 100 for local calls and SMS, S$ 30 for intern. calls and SMS, valid for 50 days
- S$ 30 plus 2 GB of local data and $100 of local calls/SMS valid for 30 days
- S$ 48: with S$ 12 bonus
- S$ 88: with S$ 22 bonus
Default data rateEdit
Standard rate outside package is 0.2c per KB.
Data feature packsEdit
Their data packs are called 4G data plans:
To activate type *100*3*1# or do it on your online account. Packages don’t auto-renew. Multiple subscriptions are allowed and the remaining data will be rolled over as long as another subscription is made before the current plan expires. Maximum data balance for prepaid plans is up to 4 GB at any given time. Any data usage in excess of the bundled data will be charged at the default rate.
Roaming offer for SE Asia Edit
Like Starhub M1 offers cheap data roaming at domestic rates without surcharges, but in fewer countries so far:
- in Hong Kong, Macau (both SmarTone), Indonesia (XL Axiata), Malaysia (Celcom), Taiwan (Chungwha):
- 1 GB for 3 days: S$ 5
- 1 GB for 7 days: S$ 7
- 1 GB for 30 days: S$ 10
- additionally in Australia (Telstra), Bangladesh (Robi), Cambodia (Smart), Sri Landa (Dialog), Thailand (dtac), UK (Vodafone), US (AT&T): 2 GB + 10 mins for 10 days: S$ 15
All purchases are deducted from your M Card balance. To activate package dial *100*3*1#, to activate a net lock to the discounted networks dial *100*8*1#
Prepaid Tourist SIM Card Edit
Their tourist card is sold in two different offers:
- S$ 15: including 100 GB data, free incoming calls, 20 mins internation. calls, 500 mins local calls and 500 local texts, all valid for 5 days
- S$ 30: including 100 GB data, free incoming calls, 50 mins intern. calls, 3000 mins local calls and 5000 texts, all valid for 10 days.
It’s available in mini, micro and nano size at any M1 shop (see shop locator above) or in all three arrival halls at Changi Airport.
Data-only Plan: Prepaid Broadband Edit
Their data-only SIM card is called Prepaid Broadband. It comes in different varieties in all 3 sizes:
4G Prepaid Data Card: on 4G up to 300 Mbps. Starter: S$ 18 including 1 GB valid for 30 days. These top-ups can be added valid for 30 days (up to 10 GB) :
- S$ 5: 256 MB,
- S$ 17: 945 MB (not available online)
- S$ 18: 1 GB,
- S$ 28: 2 GB.
3G Prepaid Broadband Card: on 3G up to 7.2 Mbps. Starter: S$ 18
day plan: starter includes 5 consecutive days. Top-ups:
- S$ 5: 1 day,
- S$ 18: 5 days,
- S$ 28: 8 days.
hour plan: starter includes 9 hours valid for 30 days. Top-ups:
- S$ 5: 2.5 hours,
- S$ 17: 8.5 hours,
- S$ 18: 9 hours,
- S$ 28: 15 hours.
- day plan: starter includes 5 consecutive days. Top-ups:
Switching between day and hour plan is allowed after your credit expires.
Technical settings Edit
- for data to work, you need to place a first call for activation after putting in the new SIM or go to *100*3# and activate
- APN for voice and data SIMs: sunsurf
- APN for 4G Prepaid Data card: prepaiddata
- APN for 3G Prepaid Broadband card: prepaidbb
- check balance with #100*2*1#
More Info Edit