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Singapore

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Basics Edit

Singapore currently has three mobile operators, soon to be four:

  • SingTel Mobile
  • StarHub
  • M1
  • [TPG Telecom - to start in 2017]

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. 2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz (until March 2017, see below), 3G on 900 and 2100 MHz, and 4G/LTE has started on all three providers on 1800 and 2600 MHz (with 900 MHz additionally on SingTel) and is available for prepaid without surcharge.

The coverage and speeds in this city state are supreme by all three providers. 4G/LTE covers all of the city outdoors and the MRT (= metro, subway). Note that for Singapore you'll need to bring a 3G/4G device as 2G is being switched off (see below).

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 can't be listed here.

4th operator Edit

In September 2016 the bidding auction for a 4th operator was started. The winner was named in December with TPG Telecom from Australia, founded by the 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 2017. 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/lines within 54 months from the start of the new spectrum rights.

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.

The sale of 2G-only mobile devices has been banned from January 2017 or retailers or could be given a penalty. Licenced dealers will still be allowed to continue selling such devices, but only for export or overseas use.

Regulations Edit

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.

Availability Edit

The lowest priced starter packs of the three providers for S$6 or 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 option Edit

Going to another country in SE Asia, note that Starhub and M1 offer data at the domestic (albeit pretty high) Singaporean rates in many SE Asian countries and even Australia. This might be an option, if you stay only for a short time and don't want to buy a local SIM everywhere.

SingTel MobileEdit

Singtel

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.

It has a coverage of 99% for 3G and 4G/LTE: Singtel 3G 4G coverage map. 2G/GSM has been shut down in April 2017.

Availability Edit

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 Edit

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.

Alternatively, Singtel offers top-up through any of their pay phones with minimum top-up at S$2. Prepare exact amount of coins. Top-up instructions are stated on top of their pay phones.

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).

Data Plans
Data Validity Price Additional Information
High Usage Plans!
2 GB 24 hours S$ 7

According to their FUP, SingTel may terminate their service after 2 GB usage per day. You can subscribe up to 21 days of data in advance (e.g. by subscribing 3 times for the 7 days pack).

6 GB 3 days S$ 16
15 GB 7 days S$ 30
High Value Plans!
10 MB 7 days S$ 1

Every time you book a plan data will be added to your account. You can subscribe up to 3 GB of data in advance. Expiry date of your data will be set to 7 days (but never more than 30 days for a specific MB) with every top-up or new data subscription. So you shouldn't subscribe in advance and only subscribe if you run low on data.

100 MB S$ 2
1 GB S$ 7
Long Expiry Plans!
1 GB 30 days S$ 10 Subscribed data can add up, but days doesn't add up (since the same 30 days rule apply) so you shouldn't subscribe in advance unless you run low on data.
3 GB S$ 20
5 GB S$ 30

The following social data plans allow you to use data trough a specific app or website. All plans end at midnight of the running day. Don't forget to resubscribe.

Social Data Plans
App Validity Restrictions
1 day 7 days 30 days
WhatsApp S$ 0.50 S$ 3 S$ 6 no voice or video calls, max. 1 GB/day
Line S$ 1.00 S$ 6 S$ 12 including voice and video calls, max.1GB/day
WeChat S$ 0.50 S$ 3 S$ 6 no voice or video calls, max. 1 GB /day
Facebook S$ 0.50 S$ 3 S$ 6 no voice or video calls, max. 1 GB /day

hiData Roam - Roaming offer Edit

For roaming in other Asian countries, they offer 100 MB packages valid for 7 days, booked via *100#:

  • for S$ 5: in Malaysia on Maxis and Australia on Optus
  • for S$ 15: in Indonesia on Telkomsel, Thailand on AIS and the Philippines on Globe
  • for S$ 20: in China on China Mobile and China Unicom, Hong Kong on CSL, India on Airtel, Taiwan on Taiwan Mobile, Japan on Softbank and South Korea on SK Telecom.

Be aware that Starhub's and M1's options for roaming are cheaper.

Tourist SIM card Edit

Singtel released a tourist SIM called hi!Tourist SIM. It comes in three sizes:

  • S$ 15: 4 GB data, 500 mins local calls and 100 local SMS, 30 mins internatl. calls, all valid for 5 days
  • S$ 30: 10 GB data, free use of Facebook, WhatsApp, Line and WeChat (all max. 1 GB), unlimited local calls and SMS, 90 mins internatl. calls, 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. 20 GB data, free use of Facebook, WhatsApp, Line and WeChat (all max. 1 GB), unlimited local calls and SMS, 90 mins internatl. calls, 100 MB data in Malaysia, 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.

DataRoam Saver plan Roaming offer Edit

Singtel's roaming offer differs from Starhub's or M1's. The latter give data at domestic rates while Singtel sells their DataRoam Saver plan. It comes in 2 sizes:

  • 100 MB roaming data per day with cut-off having reached quota: $ 10
  • "unlimited" roaming data per day, FUP: 500 MB, then throttled to 64 kbps: $ 19

Activation is by app or *100#. These countries and networks in SE Asia are supported:

Destination Network Destination Network
Australia Optus (LTE) Brunei DST (LTE)
Cambodia Cellcard | Metfone Hong Kong CSL (LTE)
India Airtel Indonesia Telkomsel
Laos Beeline | Laotel Macau CTM (LTE)
Malaysia Maxis (LTE) | Digi (LTE) Pakistan Warid | Mobilink
Philippines Globe (LTE) Sri Lanka Airtel
South Korea SK Telecom (LTE) Taiwan Taiwan Mobile (LTE)
Thailand AIS (LTE) Timor-Leste Telkomcel

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

Website: http://info.singtel.com/personal/phones-plans/mobile/singtel-prepaid

StarHubEdit

Starhub logo

StarHub by local StarHub Ltd. is the 2nd provider in Singapore giving good speeds and coverage in 3G and 4G/LTE reaching a nationwide coverage. StarHub is the local partner of Vodafone and the only provider of HD Voice. Access to 4G/LTE is free and included in all prepaid plans. 2G/GSM has been shut down in April 2017.

Availability 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$ 50 with S$ 50 credit valid for 180 days and 15 GB for 10 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.

Top-ups Edit

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$ 8, with S$ 8 credit, valid for 60 days
  • S$ 18, with S$ 20 credit valid for 180 days, 30 MB data and free incoming calls for 20 days
  • S$ 38, with S$ 38 credit valid for 180 days, 10 MB data and free incoming calls for 20 days, available only at UOB Foreign Exchange Counters at Changi airport.

Alternatively, top-up online by credit card. They give 15% bonus for top-ups of S$ 20 or more. For a top-up of S$ 17, you will receive 200 MB bonus data, for S$ 24 a 400 MB data bonus. Another way to get 15% bonus is to use their Happy Prepaid app.

Default data rateEdit

Default data is 7c per 10 KB.

Data feature packs Edit

For social media:

  • 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.

These general data packages are offered:

Data Validity Price
30 MB 3 days S$ 2
200 MB S$ 4
1 GB S$ 5
10 MB 7 days S$ 1
1 GB S$ 7
1.2 GB 30 days S$ 10
2.4 GB S$ 15
3.6 GB S$ 20

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.

All SIM cards are on 4G/LTE too. As of 13 Dec 2016, data plans will be 4G supported automatically upon activation.

Happy Tourist Pack Edit

Their tourist SIM is only available at these selected locations: Shops to buy the Tourist SIM. It is sold for S$ 32 start-up price and includes: S$ 18 credit, 100 GB data valid for 5 days, 1 GB data valid for 30 days, 200 MB valid for 30 days, Line and WeChat not debited from data allowance, 4G/LTE without surcharge, 500 local SMS, 120 mins local outgoing calls, free incoming calls - all valid for 30 days.

You can top-up this tourist SIM by regular short-term or long expiry plans.

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.

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.

Thus, you can simply use your domestic Singaporean plan abroad, including the data bonus given for top-ups. The 15 GB data that comes with SIM card activation doesn't apply. This is the cheapest roaming option in Singapore together with M1 right now. Check data balance by *123#. If you are using more, you will pay the domestic default rate.

These countries and networks are covered:

Destination Network Destination Network
Australia Telstra | Vodafone China China Mobile
Hong Kong Three (3) Indonesia XL Axiata | Three (3) | Indosat
Japan NTT DoCoMo | KDDI Malaysia all operators
New Zealand 2Degrees | TNZ Philippines Smart
South Korea SK Telecom | Olleh KT Taiwan Far EasTone | Chunghwa Telec.
Thailand TrueMove | DTAC UK Three (3)
USA T-Mobile

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

M1 (formerly MobileOne)Edit

M1-0

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. 2G/GSM has been shut down in April 2017.

M1 has launched its 4G/LTE service for prepaid in 2013. They claim theoretical speeds of up to 300 Mbit/s, coming down to 30 Mbit/s in reality. 4G/LTE is activated on every SIM card automatically.

Availability Edit

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$ 6 credit and 100 MB of data valid for 3 days - see remarks in the Basics section.
  • for S$ 15 with S$ 18 credit and 500 MB of data valid for 5 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#.

Top-ups Edit

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$ 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$ 15, with 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$ 28, with S$ 100 for local calls and SMS, S$ 30 for intern. calls and SMS, valid for 50 days
  • S$ 48: with S$ 60 credit for 180 days
  • S$ 88: with S$ 100 credit for 180 days

Default data rateEdit

Standard rate outside package is 0.2c per KB.

Data feature packsEdit

Their data packs are called 4G data plans:

Data Validity Price
1 GB 3 days S$ 5
1 GB 7 days S$ 7
300 MB 30 days S$ 5
1 GB 30 days S$ 10
3 GB 50 days S$ 30

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. You need to have bought a valid domestic (Singaporean) data plan before and enable data roaming with a provider lock by typing *100*8*1#. Data usage in these countries is at no extra cost debited on the domestic Singaporean data packages here:

Destination Network Destination Network
Hong Kong SmarTone Indonesia XL Axiata
Malaysia Celcom Macau SmarTone
Taiwan Chunghwa Telecom

Prepaid Travel SIM Card Edit

Their tourist card is sold in two different offers:

  • S$ 30: including 100 GB data for 5 days, 1 GB of data, free incoming calls, S$ 15 for internation. calls and texts, $ 15 for local calls and texts, all valid for 7 days
  • S$ 50: including 100 GB data for 5 days. 5 GB of data valid for 7 days, free incoming calls, S$ 25 for intern. calls and texts, $ 25 for local calls and texts valid for 30 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.

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

Website: https://www.m1.com.sg/personal/mobile/prepaidmobile/mcard

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