Best Prepaid SIM Card in Singapore for Travellers
Who can live and travel without data SIM card? I CAN’T. SIM card is my second priority when I arrive in a new country, after local currency. Having a local SIM card with data gives me confidence and assurance that I can survive in a new country even if I don’t speak the language. So, I always include tips about buying local SIM card in all of my airport guides.
When my family and friends visit me in Singapore, they’re always asking me to help them buy SIM cards. Choosing the best SIM card in Singapore is both easy and hard! Easy because there are only 3 major phone operators in Singapore, namely Singtel, M1 and StarHub. It’s hard because every operator offers so many different SIM cards with different features and validity, it’s so hard to choose what’s the most suitable card for you.
I’ve been there, I’ve had my share of headache when choosing a SIM card. In this post, I’ll do comparison and breakdown of each SIM card, then provide you with my recommendations! Let’s dive in!
I would say that some great features of Singtel are: free Singtel WiFi at shopping malls and certain public places, generous data roam for $30 and $50 Tourist SIM (useful if you travel to Malaysia for a day or two), and the ability to share the SIM card over 2 devices with $50 Tourist SIM (they give 2 SIM cards). Also, it’s possible to extend hi!Tourist SIM Cards just by topping up with $3/day.
My Recommendation for Singtel cards:
Budget travellers: Choose $8 hi!SIM, then purchase 7-day 1.5GB data plan or 30-day 1GB data plan.
Heavy usage travellers: Choose $15 hi!Tourist SIM or $30 hi!Tourist SIM.
Long-term travellers: Choose $50 hi!SIM
Where to buy Singtel SIM Cards?
Normal Prepaid SIM (hi! SIM Cards):
- Singapore Changi Airport (Terminal 1, 2 and 3): Travelex Currency Exchange Counters, Changi Recommends Counters. ($38, $50)
- Singtel shops ($8, $15, $38, $20)
- Singtel Exclusive Retailers ($8, $15)
- Selected Authorised Singtel Prepaid Retailers ($8, $15, $38, $20)
- Selected Cheers ($38)
Tourist SIM card (hi!Tourist SIM Cards):
- Singapore Changi Airport (Terminal 1, 2 and 3): Travelex Currency Exchange Counters, Changi Recommends Counters.
- Singtel shops
- Singtel Exclusive Retailers
- Selected Authorised Singtel Prepaid Retailers including Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, HarbourFront Ferry Terminal, Causeway Points, Sentosa FUN Shops
- Selected 7-Eleven and Cheers
*Free data roam can only be used in 17 countries in the Happy Roam destinations
** For $15 Happy Prepaid (2.2GB), free data comprises of 1.2GB first month; then 200MB/month for next 5 months. FREE WeChat App, Whatsapp Messenger and LINE App is valid for 180 days from activation date.
The advantages of buying StarHub prepaid cards are:
- Data plans for Happy Prepaid SIM are the cheapest among all providers
- $12 Travel SIM gives 1GB data roam (great for travellers who visit other countries besides Singapore within 7 days)
The downside is that they have too many promotions, bonuses and different top-up prices. Some promotions last for a long time, others disappear after a while. It’s hard to make the right decision when trying to choose the best StarHub card or the best StarHub plans at any given time if the variables keep changing. To make it simple, I recommend that you ignore all the bonuses when trying to decide which card/plan is the best.
My Recommendation for StarHub cards:
Budget travellers: Choose $8 Happy Prepaid, then purchase a 3-day 1GB data plan or 30-day 1.2GB data plan.
Heavy usage travellers: Choose $12 Happy Travel Prepaid or $32 Happy Travel Prepaid.
Long-term travellers: Choose $50 Happy Prepaid.
Where to buy StarHub Cards?
- Pre-order Starhub $12 Happy Travel Prepaid, and collect at Singapore Changi Airport
- StarHub Shops
- StarHub’s Exclusive Partner outlets
- StarHub Authorised Retailers
- 7-Eleven stores
- Cheers convenience stores
- Changi Airport
- StarHub Counters (Terminal 1, 2, 3 and 4)
- UOB Currency Exchange Counters (Terminal 1, 2, 3 and 4)
- Travellers Counters (Terminal 2 and 3, Arrival Halls)
The target users of M1’s Tourist SIM is very clear: $12 for shorter stay (7 days), $30 & $50 for longer stays (10 days & 14 days) with visit to other countries.
Basically, the basic features of M1 Tourist SIM are Similar to those of Singtel’s. However, M1 Tourist SIM offers data roam to 5 countries for $50 card (unlike Singtel who offers only 3 countries). The disadvantage of M1 Tourist SIM: top-up not available.
My Recommendation for M1 cards:
Budget travellers: Choose $5 M Card Prepaid SIM.
Heavy usage travellers: Choose any of M1 Tourist Long-term
term travellers: Choose $15 M Card Prepaid SIM.
Where to buy M1 Cards?
M1 Tourist SIM Card:
- Pre-order $12 M1 Tourist SIM and collect from Changi Airport or city areas.
- M1 Shops ($12/$30 Tourist SIM)
- Changi Meet & Greet ($30/$50 Tourist SIM) at Changi Airport Terminal 1, 2, 3 & 4 Arrival Halls (Public Area)
- Changi Recommends ($30/$50 Tourist SIM) at Changi Airport Terminal 4 Arrival Hall (Public Area)
- Selected 7-Eleven and Cheers ($12 Tourist SIM)
- M1 Shops
- M1 Exclusive Distributors
- Appointed Authorised Retailers
- 7-Eleven and Cheers stores
- FairPrice Xpress
- Selected SingPost Branches
What’s required to purchase SIM card in Singapore?
You need to bring passports during registration of the SIM card.
Different people have different length of stay, data usage and other preferences. To simplify, here are my recommendations for different scenarios.
Best card for up to 7 days of visit: Starhub $12 Happy Travel, M1 $12 Tourist SIM
Best card for up to 10 days of visit: M1 $30 Tourist SIM, Singtel $30 hi!Tourist SIM Cards, or Singtel $50 hi!Tourist SIM Cards (the latter if you want to share the usage amongst to 2 users)
Best card for up to 12 days of visit: Starhub $32 Happy Travel Prepaid
Best card for 14 days of visit: M1 $50 Tourist SIM
Internet SIM (for WiFi device or phone):
Best internet SIM for 5 days: StarHub $18 Internet SIM
Best internet SIM for 7 days: Singtel $20 hi! Data SIM
Best internet SIM for 15 days: StarHub $32 Internet SIM
Long-term travellers or residents:
Budget/low-usage users: M1 $5 M Card
Normal-usage users: StarHub $15 Happy Prepaid or M1 $15 M Card
High-usage users: Singtel $50 hi! SIM or StarHub $50 Happy Prepaid
Regarding coverage, personally I have used the service of all three operators, and what I can say is, each operator performs well at certain locations and bad at other locations. No operator is truly better than other operators. This is just my opinion 🙂
I hope I have provided you with enough information to make your decisions 🙂 If you have any questions, let me know in the comment.
Last updated: 8 July 2018
If you like the information that I share on my blog, subscribe to my newsletter so that you’ll get updates when I write awesome posts in the future by filling up the form below 🙂