Reduce your roaming rates by using a local SIM.
If you’re planning a trip to Singapore, a top tip for keeping costs down is to switch to a local SIM card. Take advantage of better tariffs, plans and deals to dramatically reduce your roaming rates. You can get 1GB of data from Singapore’s top telco providers for about SGD10 (AUD$9.47). So, whether you’re a short- or long-term traveller, you can save money by comparing your SIM card options on finder.com.au.
Telco providers in Singapore
There are three main telco providers in Singapore: SingTel Mobile, StarHub and M1. Both locals and travellers use SIM cards from all three networks, and they can be trusted no matter which plan you choose. According to OpenSignal’s coverage map, all providers offer good network coverage across the entire country.
Singapore’s operators provide 3G and 4G/LTE services on a GSM platform. Please note that 2G is no longer available. Locals call their SIM cards “SIMs” or “SIMKaa”. All three operators offer prepaid SIM cards, and you can buy them from stores, supermarkets, kiosks, drug stores and official outlets, as well as at Singapore Changi airport. You can buy a SIM card by showing your passport, and your telephone number is already active when you purchase it. To add credit, there are several prepaid card machines around various towns and cities, and vouchers are stocked in stores and supermarkets.
Below, we have broken down each telco provider to highlight exactly what they can offer you during your stay in Singapore.
SingTel Mobile is the largest provider in Singapore with a 45% market share. It offers great 3G and 4G/LTE services on a GSM platform. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers after showing your passport as a valid form of ID. Credit can be purchased from most retailers in the country and from supermarkets, corner stores and service stations.
The “hi!card” prepaid SIM card is the most popular in Singapore, especially with tourists. The following packages are also available:
|SGD8||SGD10 credit||90 days|
|SGD15||SGD18 credit||120 days|
Data-only SIM card
|SGD28||SGD28 credit||180 days|
(+ 1GB data
for 7 days)
(+ 5GB data
for 7 days)
The following “hitop” top-up cards can be added:
- SGD10: SGD11.50 credit valid for 90 days, free incoming calls for 10 days
- SGD20: SGD23 credit valid for 180 days, free incoming calls for 20 days
- SGD50: SGD57.50 credit valid for 120 days, free incoming calls for 20 days
- SGD15: SGD30 credit for calls and texts only, no data, valid for 30 days
- SGD22: SGD12 credit for international calls, 250MB data, 120 local minutes voice, free incoming calls and 500 local SMS, valid for 30 days
- SGD28: SGD28 credit for international calls and texts, and SGD100 for local calls and texts, valid for 50 days
- SGD30: SGD30 credit for international calls and texts, SGD100 for local calls and texts, and 300MB data, valid for 50 days
Dial *139# to check your balance.
The standard data rate is charged at SGD5.4 per 10 KB. The following data packs are also available:
|High usage plans|
|High value plans|
|Long expiry plans|
The following social media packs are also available:
|1 day||7 days||30 days|
The following data roaming packages are valid for 7 days and can be used across Asia and other countries. Dial *100# to check your balance:
- SGD5: 100MB for 7 days in Malaysia (Maxis) and Australia (Optus)
- SGD10: 1GB for 30 days in Malaysia (Maxis), Australia (Optus), Indonesia (Telkomsel), Thailand (AIS) and the Philippines (Globe)
- SGD20: 1GB 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).
The “hi!Tourist” SIM card is also a good choice for travellers. The following options are available:
- SGD15: 4GB data, 500 minutes local calls and 100 local SMS, 30 minutes international calls, valid for 5 days
- SGD30: 10GB data; free use of Facebook, WhatsApp, Line and WeChat (all max. 1GB); unlimited local calls and SMS; 90 minutes international calls; valid for 10 days
- SGD50: for 2 SIM cards, allowances will be shared between the main line and the second line. 20GB data; free use of Facebook, WhatsApp, Line and WeChat (all max. 1GB); unlimited local calls and SMS; 90 minutes international calls; 100MB data in Malaysia; valid for 10 days
SingTel’s APN: hicard, and website: http://info.singtel.com/personal/phones-plans/mobile/singtel-prepaid
StarHub is the second-largest operator in Singapore. It offers very good 3G and 4G/LTE services on a GSM platform. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers after showing your passport to the cashier. Credit can be purchased from most retailers in the country, as well as supermarkets, corner stores and service stations.
The StarHub “Happy Prepaid SIM” is the best option for travellers and comes in the following packages:
|SGD8||SGD10 credit||90 days|
(+ 15GB data
for 5 days)
(+ 15GB data and 2GB roaming data
for 10 days)
(15GB for 10 days
5GB roaming data for 30 days)
The following top-up combinations can be purchased to upload credit onto your SIM card:
|SGD8||SGD8 credit||60 days|
(+ 30MB data and free
incoming calls for 20 days)
(+ 10MB data and free
incoming calls for 20 days)
All packs can be purchased online by using a credit card.
The standard data rate is charged at SGD0.07 per 10 KB. The following social media packs can also be added:
- WeChat: SGD0.40 per day, SGD6 per month
- Line: SGD0.40 per day, SGD6 per month
Dial *123*3#, select option 3 to list the social media channels, then select the relevant plan.
The following data packs are also available:
Dial *123# and select the relevant plan to activate.
The following top-ups can be added to all prepaid SIM cards:
max 2GB per day
max 2GB per day
There are also “Happy Roam” packages available, which can be used across Asia and 13 other countries. Check deals at the time of purchase because offers and prices change from time to time. The following countries are covered by the plan:
StarHub’s APN: shinternet, and website: http://www.starhub.com/personal/mobile/prepaid-plans.html
M1 is the smallest provider. It offers great 3G and 4G/LTE services on a GSM platform. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official outlets and approved resellers after showing your passport as a valid form of ID. Credit can be purchased from most retailers in the country, as well as supermarkets, stores and service stations.
The “M Card” prepaid SIM card is extremely popular. The following options are available:
|SGD5||SG6 credit||100MB data||3 days|
|SGD18||SGD18 credit||500MB data||5 days|
The following top ups can also be added:
- SGD17: 200MB data, 500 local SMS, 120 minutes local calls, free incoming calls, valid for 30 days
- SGD23: 350MB data, SGD12 credit, 500 local SMS, 120 minutes local calls, free incoming calls, valid for 50 days
- SGD18: SGD21 credit, free incoming calls for 20 days, valid for 180 days
- SGD30: 2GB data, SGD100 credit for calls and texts, valid for 30 days
In addition, the following top-up packages can be purchased in-store or online by using a credit card:
- SGD15: SGD40 for local calls and SMS, SGD15 for international calls and SMS, free incoming calls within 10 days, valid for 50 days
- SGD28: SGD100 for local calls and SMS, SGD30 for international calls and SMS, valid for 50 days
- SGD48: SGD60 credit for 180 days
- SGD88: SD100 credit for 180 days
The standard data rate is charged at SGD0.2 per KB. The following data packs can also be added:
Dial *100*3*1# and select the relevant pack to activate.
The following roaming destinations are available on all prepaid SIM cards. Check rates at the time of purchase as they can change from time to time:
|Hong Kong||SmarTone||Indonesia||XL Axiata|
The following prepaid traveller SIM plans are the best options for tourists:
- SGD30: 100GB data for 5 days, as well as 1GB of data, free incoming calls, SGD15 for international calls and texts, SGD15 for local calls and texts, valid for 7 days
- SGD50: 100GB data for 5 days, 5GB of data valid for 7 days, free incoming calls, SGD25 for international calls and texts, SGD25 for local calls and texts, valid for 30 days.
The following data-only SIM cards are also available:
- 4G Prepaid Data Card: SGD18 including 1GB valid for 30 days. The following top-ups can be added, and each is valid for 30 days:
- 3G Prepaid Broadband Card: SGD18
M1’s APN: sunsurf, and website: https://www.m1.com.sg/personal/mobile/prepaidmobile/mcard
- The official languages in Singapore are Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. Even if you don’t know the Asian languages, you should still get by quite easily.
- Locals call a SIM card a “SIMKaa” or “SIM”.
- Ask the sellers to set up the SIM for you, because they will know how to do it. If not, follow the instructions we have highlighted above or go to the official operator website to get advice.
- Get to the stores early to receive better assistance and to avoid the crowds.
TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them
While it’s well known for reviews, booking hotels, flights and holidays, TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through what SIM cards have been tried and tested in Singapore.
“Passports aren’t a must to purchase a SIM card but some shops do ask to see it, so take it along just to be sure.”
“There is no free International SMS with any carrier. I suggest you install an app for messaging eg WhatsApp. Please note Singapore telco networks no longer support 2G phones.”
“A tourist SIM card on one of the 3 networks will give you a week’s use for $10-$15. Typically you get more than enough local, international and 4G data included for a week. You can buy SIM cards at the airport, at the money changers and other locations.”
Pros and cons of Singapore’s top telco providers
- Good value for money
- Prepaid credit when required
- No in-store contract needed
- Could be compatible with your current phone
- There are no 2G networks in Singapore
- No devices offered with the SIM card packages
- Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
More questions about finding the best SIM?
Q: What about other providers in Singapore?
A: TPG Telecom is a new provider and is set to launch in late 2017. Check prices and plans before purchasing your SIM card, but TPG Telecom can be trusted.