Moving to a new country can be scary, but staying in touch with your family and friends back home can help make the transition easier.
To stay connected in Singapore, it’s important to get a SIM card. There are many providers and tons of SIM cards and plans, which makes choosing the best one a bit overwhelming.
This guide can help you make an informed decision, though, as it talks about all the SIM card providers and plans available and discusses the pros and cons of each.
All prices mentioned throughout the article are in Singaporean Dollars (SGD).
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Cell Phone Service Providers in Singapore
Below is a summary of the main cell phone service providers in Singapore.
Singapore Telecommunications Limited, or Singtel for short, is one of the largest mobile network operators in the country. It offers mobile, broadband, and television services to personal and commercial properties and devices.
Singtel is actually in the top 30 of the largest network providers in the world. In fact, including its subsidiaries, the company has over 600 million mobile subscribers.
Because it’s the largest network in Singapore, Singtel does have great coverage, so you can make calls, text your friends, or access the Internet from anywhere on the island.
You can get SIM-only plans, postpaid plans, prepaid plans, or roaming plans from Singtel. It has mobile devices as well, so you can purchase a new phone if you’re in the market for one when getting your SIM card.
There are 10 Singtel shops around Singapore that you can visit for more information or to purchase your SIM card.
The second fastest network in Singapore is StarHub. Like Singtel, StarHub offers mobile, broadband, and television services. You can even bundle your service plans to get a discount.
StarHub offers SIM-only plans, prepaid plans, postpaid plans, and roaming plans. However, if you want to access the 5G network for faster Internet speeds, you can only do so with a postpaid plan.
You can also purchase phones and smartwatches from companies like Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Vivo from StarHub to complete your plan.
Pop into one of StarHub’s eight stores or contact them by phone or email for more information.
MobileOne, or M1, has been offering commercial services since 1997. While it’s not the largest network, M1 has many received tons of recognition, like being one of Singapore’s two nationwide 5G standalone network licenses.
M1 was also the first operator to offer nationwide 4G service and ultra high-speed fixed broadband.
It offers mobile, broadband, and security services, and you can even get an M1 credit card from Citibank if you want to make paying your cell phone bill easier.
There are 10 different M1 stores that you can visit for more information.
Simba, formerly known as TPG Telecom, isn’t as well-known as the other three mobile network operators, but it’s still a fully licensed network offering 4G and 5G services.
Simba is more popular among business owners who want commercial mobile and broadband services, but the network does offer personal cell phone plans as well.
Choose between prepaid and postpaid plans depending on your needs. Simba even offers a senior plan, which is a great option for people over 60.
Simba doesn’t have any physical stores, but the network has plenty of SIM card pick-up locations that you can visit after registering online.
MyRepublic is a virtual mobile network, meaning it doesn’t have any of its own mobile towers in Singapore. Instead, MyRepublic leases network access from StarHub.
This means you get the same coverage from MyRepublic as StarHub, but you may get access to cheaper SIM cards and plans.
MyRepublic was the world’s first telecom company powered by a proprietary cloud platform, so it has perfected its offerings.
Although it’s a virtual mobile network, MyRepublic does have a few physical stores you can visit to purchase a plan.
Circles.Life is another virtual mobile network that’s fairly new, as it launched in 2016. Because it’s a digital telecommunications provider, Circles.Life leases its network from M1.
The company has limited customer service, though, as you can only connect with tech support via live chat and email. Circles.Life has no call centers or physical stores, so this provider not be a good option for people who require a lot of assistance.
However, if you’re comfortable picking a cell phone plan on your own, you can get great deals from Circles.Life.
Travel SIM Cards
If you’re traveling to Singapore rather than moving here, you may still want to stay connected.
Singapore’s mobile providers offer plenty of SIM card options for tourists that can give you access to local calls, texts, and data.
You can get travel SIM cards in the same places as normal ones, such as convenience stores and the airport. Getting an e-SIM card may be even more convenient because you can turn it on as soon as you land in Singapore.
The table below shows some of the best travel SIM cards for tourists from the three main providers in Singapore.
|M1||$30||12 days||100GB||3,000 minutes for local calls||5,000 local texts||50 minutes of international calls and 3Gb roaming data|
|StarHub||$32||12 days||100GB||3,000 minutes local outgoing calls and unlimited local incoming calls||5,000 local texts||3GB of roaming data and 90 minutes of international calls|
|Singtel Hi Tourist!||$50||15 days||120GB||Unlimited local calls||Unlimited local texts||5GB data roaming and 90 minutes of international calls|
Prepaid SIM Cards
A prepaid SIM card is not attached to a cell phone plan. Instead, the money you put on the SIM card acts as a credit balance and you can use this credit toward phone calls, text messages, and data usage, typically for a limited time or until you run out of credit.
As prepaid SIM cards have a validity limit, they may not be the best choice for people who plan to stay in Singapore long-term. But one benefit is that getting a prepaid SIM card is the easiest option because you don’t have to sign a contract.
You can just purchase the SIM card with credit on it, or purchase one and add credit that you can start using immediately.
There are plenty of prepaid SIM cards from all the major mobile network providers, so let’s take a look at the cheapest options for Singtel, StarHub, M1, and Simba. MyRepublic and Circles.Life don’t offer a prepaid plan.
|Singtel Hi! Prepaid SIM Card||$8||90 (top up your credit to extend to 180 days)||1.5 GB for 30 days||$0.22 per minute||$0.05 per text||Free 30-day Viu Premium and Banglaflix|
|StarHub Prepaid SIM Card||$8||90 days||1 GB for 30 days||$0.22 per minute||$0.05 per text||30 minutes of IDD 018 calls for 30 days|
|M1 Prepaid SIM Card||$8||90 days||1.5 GB for 30 days||$0.20 for the first minute then $0.18 per minute||$0.05 per text||10 free local texts|
|Simba Prepaid Plan||$10||30 days||100GB||Unlimited||Unlimited to Simba lines (and 30 free texts)||1GB of roaming data|
Postpaid SIM Cards
A postpaid SIM card is a contract that offers you continuous phone services for a monthly fee. This is a good option for long-term residents, as it can be cheaper than prepaid SIM cards.
Cell phone network providers typically offer multiple types of postpaid plans depending on your needs. The table below lists some of the best ones from each provider.
|StarHub||$69 per month||Two years||80GB||200 outgoing minutes and free incoming calls||200 texts||Free Amazon Prime subscription for three months and free international roaming|
|M1||$65.95 per month||Two years||20GB||200 minutes||200 texts||N/A|
|Singtel||$68 per month||Two years||80GB||300 minutes||300 texts||Free three months of Bookful and RiotGO|
|MyRepublic||$10 per month||Two years||8GB||300 minutes||300 texts||12GB of data free for the first six months|
|Simba||$10 per month||Ongoing||100GB||Unlimited calls to local mobile lines and 300 local fixed line minutes||Unlimited texts to Simba lines and 30 local texts||1GB of roaming data|
|Circles.Life||$18 per month||Ongoing||20GB||100 minutes||25 texts||Caller number display|
Data SIM Cards
A data SIM card only gives you access to the Internet, so you have no minutes for calling or texting. If you use applications like WhatsApp, Facebook, WeChat, or Viber to call and text your friends or family, you can still do this with a data-only plan.
Data-only plans aren’t popular in Singapore, but the table below shows the plans with the most data from each provider.
|M1||$235 per month||Two years||Unlimited||Unlimited local calls||2,000 texts||$500 handset voucher each year|
|StarHub||$20 per month||One year||80GB||Free incoming calls||1,000 texts||20GB free for the first three months and two months of Disney+|
|Singtel||$288 per month||Two years||230GB||1,800 minutes talktime||1,800 texts||Free called-ID and free three months of Bookful and RiotGO|
|MyRepublic||$39 per month||Two years||Unlimited||2,000 minutes||2,000 texts||Free caller ID and incoming calls|
|Simba||$18 per month||30 days||130GB||Unlimited calls to local mobile lines and 500 local fixed line minutes||Unlimited to Simba lines and 50 local texts||2GB of roaming data|
|Circles.Life||$40 per month||Ongoing||130GB||N/A||N/A||$10 off for the first six months|
What is a SIM-Only Plan?
A SIM-only plan is a phone plan that only comes with a SIM card, compared to device plans that include a phone that you pay off each month.
You may still be on a contract with monthly payments, but as these payments don’t include the cost of a device, SIM-only plans are typically more affordable.
A SIM-only plan is also a great option for people who already have a phone they’re happy with, as you won’t be tied to monthly phone payments.
Most providers offer both SIM-only plans and device plans for flexibility, but Simba and MyRepublic only offer SIM-only, no-contract plans. The table below lists some SIM-only plans you can choose from.
|SIM-only Base Plan by M1||$19.95 per month||Ongoing||50GB||Free incoming calls, free calls to M1 numbers, and 1,000 minutes||1,000 texts||30GB bonus for the first six months|
|SIM-only Plus 45 by Singtel||$30 per month for six months, then $45 per month||Ongoing||70GB||1,000 minutes talktime||1,000 texts||30GB free for the first six months|
|SIM-only no-contract plan by StarHub||$25 per month||Ongoing||60GB||Unlimited||1,000 texts||20GB free for the first three months|
2 months of Disney+
If you move to Singapore with your family, purchasing a family plan from one of the network providers we mentioned may be beneficial.
Family plans offer service to you and whoever you choose to include in your plan. Bundling your service typically gives you a discount.
You receive your own data, minutes, and text allowance, but some networks pool your allowance, so you ensure you share everything carefully.
The only major provider we’ve discussed that offers a family plan is Circles.Life. Singtel and M1 do, however, offer discounts to families who connect their lines. You can get 10 percent off your cell phone plans with Singtel and 15 percent to 30 percent off with M1, depending on how many family members you add to your plan.
The table below lists Circles.Life’s family plans.
|Number of Family Members||Price||Data||Minutes||Texts|
|Two||$25 per line||300GB shared||500 shared minutes||200 shared texts|
|Three||$20 per line||300GB shared||500 shared minutes||200 shared texts|
|Four||$18 per line||300GB shared||500 shared minutes||200 shared texts|
|Five||$16 per line||300GB shared||500 shared minutes||200 shared texts|
|Six||$15 per line||300GB shared||500 shared minutes||200 shared texts|
You might also want to check out: Having a Baby in Singapore: A Step-by-Step Guide for Expecting Parents
Where to Buy SIM cards in Singapore
If you know which SIM card you want, you can visit that provider’s store. Each major service provider has a store in most malls, which you can find all around the island.
Check the provider’s website to determine what documents you need to bring, like your passport or Employment Pass.
You can also buy certain SIM cards from convenience stores like 7-Eleven or Cheers, but these are typically tourist SIM cards that have time constraints, like 10 days or a week.
If you want to buy a SIM card as soon as you land, you can purchase one at the airport. Each terminal has a StarHub store, 7-Eleven, or Cheers. The airport’s help desk, Changi Recommends, also carries SIM cards.
If you buy a SIM card that you need to top-up, like prepaid SIM cards, you can do so at these stores as well. Most network providers also give you the option to top-up your SIM card on their website or phone app, making it convenient.
What is an e-SIM Card?
An e-SIM card is a digital SIM card that allows you to activate a cellular plan from your chosen provider without inserting a physical SIM card into your phone.
These cards are fairly new to the market, so they’re not popular everywhere yet, but their convenience is making them a top choice among many cell phone users.
You can typically purchase an e-SIM card online on the network provider’s website. They send you a QR code that you can then scan to set up your new plan.
That being said, the only major network provider in Singapore that offers e-SIM cards is M1, which provides e-SIM cards to prepaid customers who purchase the tourist e-SIM for SG$12.
Luckily, many companies, including Circles.Life, sell e-SIM cards that work in Singapore if you prefer it over a physical card. The table below lists some of these companies.
|Circles.Life||$18 per month||Ongoing||20GB||100 minutes||25 texts||M1|
|Connect Lah!||$10||One week||1GB||N/A||N/A||Singtel|
|Nomad||$7||One week||1GB||N/A||N/A||M1, Singtel, and StarHub|
Now, on to You
As each provider and SIM card we discussed has pros and cons, it can be hard to choose the best one for you.
So, consider your own needs, such as strong Internet to stream videos, roaming for when you travel, or affordable plans that suit your budget. You can also talk to your friends, neighbors, or colleagues about their favorite providers for more insight.
When I was in Singapore, I purchased a SIM-only mobile plan from StarHub. Getting the SIM card and paying my monthly bill was easy. I always had service and never ran out of data, so I’d recommend StarHub based on my own experience.
No matter which SIM card you choose, you’ll likely enjoy great service as Singapore is so well-connected.
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