3 telecommunication firms (also known as telco) dominate the telecommunication market in Singapore. They offer a wide array of services, from the standard pre-paid contract to a data plan. Before going through the description of the best deals for your needs the non-exhaustive summary table, some notions must be introduced to move forward, especially the formats offered by telcos.
Note: Due to Covid 19, opening hours and services at telco retail outlets may differ. Safe distancing measures are in force in most places. For more info, please refer to the respective service provider's website
A regular plan you are used to have, with a monthly payment, talk time, SMS/MMS wallet, combined with Internet data (GB) depending on the chosen plan. These contracts can be a hindrance since many telcos ask for a deposit (up to SGD 200!).
There are 2 types of plans:
- Contract plan: usually annual or biannual, you are obligated to pay at least 12
monthly fees. Do not take these plans for short stays in Singapore. However, beginning of 9 months, it can still be interesting as monthly fees are cheaper
than non-contract plans. The 2 subtypes of contract plans are the Phone and SIM only plans, and we’ll stick to the second one for the following benchmark.
- No-contract plan: you won’t have to pay for a whole year minimum, so more flexible. The biggest pro is to be able to switch to another telco/plan if needed. The monthly fees are usually higher than for the contract plan.
Pure data plan:
A lighter plan that has limited features since it only offers data. However, 4G is readily available everywhere in Singapore and it is easily manageable since you can chat/call via Facetime, Messenger or WhatsApp. The prepaid process is subdivided in 2 steps:
- Buying your prepaid SIM card: what you will be able to do at the airport exit, right
after the customs, or in specialised SIM card telco stores
- Recharge your wallet via top-ups: after all the data in the SIM prepaid plan is used up, go on with 30-day data plans that you can buy after topping up your wallet (accessible via your telco account, application or a code you type on your phone). Be careful, for data safety reasons, proceed to this step while your plan is still
going on (or under a Wi-Fi spot), otherwise your data will be pumped within the blink
of an eye! (without plan and with a funded wallet, you can use SGD 8 for accessing one website on your phone!!).
This prepaid/top-up method has the great advantage of being highly flexible (no contract). The rare inconvenience will be when you will have to book a table for dinner or make a reservation someplace.
Wi-fi Internet Access
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) sponsors the Wireless@SG program, which gives you free wireless access from a number of shopping malls and MRT stations.
You may also download the Wireless@SG app on your smart phone: Download on Google Play
Big 3 Telcos
Singtel is a heavyweight telco in Singapore that provides lots of very interesting post-paid plans. However, due to the SGD 200 deposit claimed before going on the process, this option is not preferred. On the other hand, there are many SIM
retailers across the country, so it will be easy for you to pick up a prepaid SIM card. Among them, its SGD 15 1GB has the advantage of lasting 120 days! (whereas many others that last a couple of days). After this data is used up, you can top up to 1.3 extra GB that will last 30 days. Sadly, its data bundles are not the cheapest one in the market, which is a decisive point in the long run.
Within a maximum budget of SGD 40, M1 is the telco that grants the most data in a contract: 15GB. Unfortunately, it requires a deposit of SGD 200. However, it doesn’t provide a large variety of data bundles. The SIM chips also can’t seem to connect abroad. The one and only telco that offers the no deposit no contract plan. You will then have access to a regular mobile plan of SGD 28 monthly, with unlimited Whatsapp, 100mn talk time and 4GB data monthly. For SMS/MMS, you pay as you use them (which should not be a major issue since Messenger and WhatsApp are widely used in Singapore). You can also upgrade to an additional 20 GB for 20 extra SGD per month, which rockets the plan to the top mobile plan in terms of price per GB.
A registration fee of SGD 38 is demanded to subscribe to the plan. Don’t hesitate
to be sponsored by a current Circles user to get a deduction. The best discount is
to look for a promo code on the Internet. Black Friday promo code allows a SGD
20 off registration, as well as an additional lifetime 500MB monthly. As a complete and cheap one, we highly recommend this mobile noncontract plan for users who look for more than a data plan.
Another established telco in Singapore that offers mobile plans with a deposit. Its no contract plans are also not interesting since the price per GB is higher than the market average.
However, Starhub currently proposes the cheapest data plan in terms of price per GB: 30-day 3.6GB +15% extra data for SGD 20. That is a more than enough compensation for its prepaid SIM card which is not the optimal one (only 4G-data for 10 days max, before activating a data plan with the money on it).
We highly recommend this SIM prepaid + top-ups, perfect for people that only need data usage.
Which Plan to Choose?