Are you visiting Singapore? Here for Holiday? Business? Studies? You can enhance your trip with a data SIM card. Especially if you need to keep communication with friends, family or colleagues that are based here. Our smartphones are pretty awesome devices, but can be rendered pretty useless without a data connection.
There’s a lot of convenience offered by a data SIM. Not sure where you are? Fire up Google Maps. Need to buy tickets? Make the reservation straight. On the go and not sure what time is the National Museum closing? Just ask Google. Had an awesome day at Gardens by the Bay, tell your friends on Facebook / Twitter immediately! The convenience can greatly enhance your travel experience.
Getting a prepaid SIM card in Singapore is pretty easy, and activation is instant. The big G in Singapore has made it rather convenient for tourists and you can pick them up straight at the airport after collecting your baggage and also purchase them from convenience stores scattered all around Singapore. You would need your passport though, as registration of personal details is required. All telcos also offer prepaid SIM in Nano / Micro and normal-sized SIM card formats so you can use it with your mobile device.
Which SIM card is right for me?
It boils down to price and usage pattern, but we have consolidated the charges here for your easy reference.
There are 3 telcos in Singapore, and in terms of calls and SMS rates, that is pretty much similar across. Main area of difference is the data plans portion, which could be confusing and we hope this would help make your decision easier.
Singtel offers a range of prepaid SIM cards with differing values, starting from $8. The stored value can be used for calls / SMS and to buy data plans as below. Point to note, Singtel prepaid SIM are default 3G only except for the $38 4G Hi! SIM card. Although it has $38 stored value, that might be too much for the average traveller. I personally think 3G speeds are sufficient for basic use.
High Usage Plans – Singtel Prepaid
High Value Plans – Singtel Prepaid
Long Expiry Plans – Singtel Prepaid
Singtel offers a myraid of plans that only serve to confuse customers. But there’s a special trick associated with their plans. The 7+1+1+1 trick – Infamous with local Singaporeans. It is extra handy if you will be in Singapore for at least a couple of weeks, or if you are here for work for an indeterminate period of time and you can keep extending and top up the data whenever required.
7+1+1+1 Singtel Data Sim – Singtel allows extension of data plans within the same category if you buy a new plan. This means you can buy the High Value Plan (1GB), and extend it by another 21 days through buying three 7 days 10mb package. You will end up with total data of 1.03GB for a valid period of 28 days. You can keep doing this too, as long as the plan has data and validity remaining. This is only applicable for plans within the same category, so you can’t buy the High Usage Plan and extend it with the High Value Plan.
M1 M card M Card has 4G connectivity across their range of offering. You have the option to choose between $6 value (at only $5) and $18 value (at only $15).
So, for $5, you get 1 GB data access for 3 days. That’s the cheapest data plan all around, perfect for short visits to Singapore.
Starhub is the only telco targeting tourists with a special tourist SIM Card at $32.
– Comes with:
– $18 Credit
– 1.2GB Local Data
– FREE 30-Day LINE/WeChat plans
– FREE 4G Booster
– 500 Local SMS
– 120 mins local Outgoing Calls
– 30-Day FREE Incoming Calls
It’s worth it only if you need the call features and will be in Singapore for a long period. The 60 days 3.5GB package is a good price if you are a heavy user. But the long duration suggests that it is more targeted at locals or residents in Singapore.
Ok, so if you are not planning to get a Data SIM, all is not lost, there’s still a number of alternatives, without resorting to data roaming.
F&B chains such as McDonalds and Starbucks do offer free WiFi. Singapore chains tend to allow direct access without any minimum purchase so if you are in need of a quick data fix, just hang around at these areas. The good thing is, these stores are extremely easy to find in Singapore. You are bound to find a Starbucks in every mall if you are in Orchard Road.
There are also Wireless@SG Hotspots all around Singapore, but you would need to register for an account first before you can use. This is a Singapore government initiative for a wireless broadband programme that extends data WiFi broadband access to public places. Users can enjoy free, both indoor and outdoor seamless wireless broadband access with speeds of up to 2 Mbps at public areas. Hotspots are easy to find (iDA has a list of Hotspots), but connection can be spotty.
Wireless@SG access has also started rolling out to MRT platforms. It was launched in August at City Hall, Orchard and Raffles Place MRT station platforms, and the service will be progressively rolled out at the train platforms of all North-East Line stations, as well as 12 other MRT stations with high passenger volume. These include Jurong East, Buona Vista and Paya Lebar stations.
For Wireless@SG: Register daily for an account. You would need to register with your overseas mobile number, and be able to receive SMS (carrier messaging rates may apply).
There’s also precinct level WiFi. Visitors to Chinatown are able to access a free street-level Wi-Fi network and search for information and interesting stories on the precinct’s history, landmarks and variety of offerings while on the go. The Wi-Fi network will cover five areas in the popular tourist precinct, namely Smith Street, Trengganu Street, Pagoda Street, Sago Street and Kreta Ayer Square. Perfect if you are staying there, and there are a number of nice boutique hotels in the Telok Ayer, Chinatown location. These are good location for visitors to Singapore for both business and work, due to the ideal location.