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Best Singapore Prepaid SIM Card for Travellers

Best Singapore Prepaid SIM Card for Travellers

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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.

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 mobile 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 detailed breakdown of each SIM card from each operator. Then, I’ll do comparison of SIM cards for different scenarios based on length of stay and provide my analysis and recommendations. Finally, I’ll have some FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) to answer common queries that I often receive. Let’s dive in!

Overview of all Prepaid SIM Cards in Singapore

1. SINGTEL

Singtel’s normal prepaid SIM card is called hi!SIM card, while Singtel’s tourist SIM card is called hi!Tourist SIM card. Below is the comparison of Singtel’s prepaid SIM card and Singtel’s tourist SIM Card.

Best Prepaid SIM Card in Singapore for Travellers and Tourists-Singtel
Singtel shop
Singtel Prepaid SIM Card - hi! SIM Card (September 2020)

Useful links for Singtel Prepaid hi! SIM Card:

  1. List of Data Plans.
  2. hi!SIM rates (including local call, overseas call, SMS, roaming charges) as of January 2020.
  3. List of data roaming packages.
  4. List of ways to top up hi! SIM card.
Singtel Tourist SIM Card comparison - Prepaid hi! Tourist SIM (September 2020)

For the $30 and $50 Tourist SIM, you can top up to the Main Account to extend the validity of the card, however the hi!Tourist values (100GB data, 3000 mins local call, 5000 SMS, overseas data roam) will not be extended. In other words, the hi!Tourist SIM becomes a normal prepaid hi! SIM card after expiry and upon top-up. I hope it makes sense.

All hi! Tourist SIM cards offer unlimited usage of Facebook, Whatsapp, LINE and WeChat, however, if you read the fine prints, it says the usage of this is limited to 1GB a day. I’d say just ignore this gimmick because when you have 100GB free local data, why should you care about free 1GB data for social media.

My Recommendation for Singtel cards:

Budget travelers: Choose $8 hi!SIM, then purchase 7-day 1GB data plan or 30-day 1GB data plan with the main wallet credit.

Heavy usage travelers: Choose $12 hi!Tourist SIM, $15 hi!Tourist EZ-Link SIM Card or $30 hi!Tourist SIM.

Long-term travelers: Choose $50 hi!SIM card.

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)
  • 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

2. STARHUB

StarHub’s normal prepaid SIM card is called StarHub Prepaid, while StarHub’s tourist SIM card is called StarHub Travel Prepaid. Below is the comparison of StarHub’s prepaid SIM cards.

Best Prepaid SIM Card in Singapore for Travellers and Tourists-StarHub
StarHub shop
StarHub Prepaid SIM Card (September 2020)

Notes about StarHub Prepaid SIM cards:

  1. For $15 Prepaid, free 2GB data comprises 1.2GB first month; then 200MB/month for the next 5 months. FREE WeChat App, Whatsapp Messenger and LINE App is valid for 180 days from activation date.
  2. List of data plans.
  3. StarHub Prepaid SIM card rates.
  4. Here’s the info about Happy Roam.
  5. For $50 StarHub Prepaid SIM, the free 5GB data roam can be used locally as well as overseas in countries listed in the Happy Roam destinations.
  6. List of ways to top up StarHub Prepaid SIM card.
StarHub Tourist SIM Card comparison - StarHub Travel Prepaid SIM cards

Notes: 

  1. Free overseas calls can be used to make a call to the countries listed in the IDD 018 destinations
  2. Free data roam can only be used in countries listed in the Happy Roam destinations
  3. Top-up for all prepaid cards can be done online, through StarHub Prepaid App or offline. See the complete Top up options.

Based on my past experience, I think StarHub is the most competitive operator, they often provide better value compared to other operators with their promotions. But, I feel that they have too many promotions, add-ons, 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 3-day 1GB data plan or 30-day 1GB data plan with the main wallet credit.

Heavy usage travellers: Choose $12 Happy Travel Prepaid or $32 Happy Travel Prepaid.

Long-term travellers: Choose $15 or $50 Happy Prepaid.

Where to buy StarHub Cards?

3. M1

M1’s normal prepaid SIM card is called M Card, while its tourist SIM is simply called M1 Tourist SIM Card. Below is the comparison of all M1’s prepaid cards.

Best Prepaid SIM Card in Singapore for Travellers and Tourists-M1
M1 shop
M1 Prepaid SIM Card - M Card
M1 Prepaid SIM Card - New M1 M Card (September2020)

* International call rates
## For use in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia and Taiwan, you can use your existing data from your local data packs without extra charges (but you need to activate data roaming first). For other countries, you need to purchase a roaming pack.
^ Top up options for M Card

M1 Tourist SIM Card comparison - Prepaid Tourist SIM

My Recommendation for M1 cards:

Budget travellers: Choose $5 M Card Prepaid SIM and purchase 1GB 3-day or 300MB 30-day with main wallet credit.

Heavy usage travellers: Choose any of M1 Tourist SIM.

Long-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)

M Card:

What’s the best Tourist SIM for short-term travellers?

Now that I have covered every prepaid SIM card from each operator, it is time to compare these SIM cards across different operators, based on several scenarios.

Different people have different length of stay, data usage and other preferences. To simplify, I’m going to assume that short-term travellers are leisure travellers who use a good amount of internet (1GB to 3GB) on a daily basis for the purpose of navigation, on-the-go research and social media. For these people, Tourist SIM cards are the best option because it’s affordable and it gives 100GB which is more than enough for 2 weeks of stay in Singapore.

If you think you don’t belong in this category because you can survive without internet when exploring Singapore, then you can skip this section and jump to the next section where I discuss about normal prepaid SIM card (not Tourist SIM).

In this section, I’m going to compare all Tourist SIM cards in Singapore based on different lengths of stay.

Before I dive into the comparison of tourist sim cards, I want highlight one thing that you should take note about Tourist SIM: they don’t give free overseas SMS.

Best SIM Card for 7 days of stay

Best Singapore Tourist SIM Card for 7 days of stay

There are 4 Tourist SIM cards that are designed for short-term travellers visiting Singapore for up to 7 days, namely:

If you’re just staying in Singapore within the 7 days, you can get any of the $12 Tourist SIM card from Singtel/StarHub/M1 Tourist SIM.

However, if you’re planning for a day trip to Malaysia or Indonesia within the 7 days, both StarHub $12 Travel Prepaid SIM and Singtel $12 hi!Tourist SIM card gives you 1GB data roam to Happy Roam destinations, which include Malaysia and Indonesia.

The best thing about StarHub $12 Travel Prepaid SIM is the Happy Roam feature, which gives tourist SIM users free data roaming that can be used in over 17 countries. That’s a lot of countries compared to the 4 countries that Singtel Tourist SIM’s users can get.

If you are visiting any of these 17 countries after Singapore (Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America), consider getting StarHub $12 Travel Prepaid SIM.

If you don’t need a lot of data because you can use your hotel or hostel’s wifi, or if you’re a budget traveler and you think paying $12 for data is a waste of money, but you need a SIM card to make calls, forget the Tourist SIM and get M1’s $5 Prepaid M Card.

If this is your first time visiting Singapore and you want to explore the country using public transportation, you need to have a travel card. To understand all the different travel cards in Singapore, read: Singapore Tourist Pass, EZ Link or Standard Ticket? Which One is Better?

If you have read my guide about travel cards and decide that you want an EZ-Link card, I recommend that you get Singtel’s $15 hi!Tourist EZ-Link SIM Card. Here are some details about this card:

  • It is a 2-in-1 Tourist SIM and EZ-Link travel card
  • Basically, you peel off the SIM card from the EZ-Link card, so you have 2 physical items: 1 small SIM Card and 1 EZ-Link.
  • The SIM card validity is 7 days while the EZ-Link validity is 5 years from the manufacture date.
  • The EZ-Link card has $3 free credit. However, please note that minimum balance you need to maintain in EZ-Link card is $3 (below $3, you can’t take any MRT or bus with it), so you still have to perform a top up of minimum $10 to the EZ-Link in order to use it for public transport.

PS: If you’re a first-timer visitor to Singapore, I recommend you check my comprehensive library of Singapore Travel Guide to help you plan your trip.

Best SIM Card for 12 days of stay

Best Singapore Tourist SIM Card for 12 days of stay

There are 3 Tourist SIM cards that are designed for travellers visiting Singapore for up to 12 days, namely:

All 3 SIM cards offer similar local data, local calls and SMS.

For data roaming, StarHub $32 covers more countries than the other two. Both Singtel and StarHub offer 90 mins international calls while M1 offers only 50 mins international calls.

If you’ll be travelling to Malaysia or Indonesia or just staying in Singapore during trip, you can get either Singtel $30 or M1 $30 SIM.

If you’ll be travelling to Australia or Thailand during your trip, you can get Singtel $30 Tourist SIM.

If you’ll be travelling to Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan during your trip, you can get M1 $30 Tourist SIM.

If you’ll be travelling to countries not covered by Singtel $30 or M1 $30 SIM, but covered in StarHub’s Happy Roam, you can get StarHub $32 SIM.

Best SIM Card for 14 days or 15 days of stay

Best Singapore Tourist SIM Card for 14 day and 15 days of stay

There are 2 Tourist SIM cards that are designed for travellers visiting Singapore for up to 14 days and 15 days, namely:

  • Singtel $50 hi! Tourist SIM Card
  • M1 $50 Prepaid Tourist SIM Card

Both cards have similar offering, except for the data roaming coverage and international calls duration.

If you are visiting Malaysia and Indonesia during your trip, you can opt for either card.

If you are visiting Australia or Thailand during your trip, you can get Singtel $50 Tourist SIM.

If you are visiting Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan during your trip, you can get M1 $50 Tourist SIM.

To be honest, I think both cards are too overpriced for leisure travellers. One can simply purchase either Singtel’s $30 or M1’s $30 Tourist SIM, then perform top up to extend its validity to 15 days. But do take note that if you top up a Tourist SIM, the Tourist values (i.e. 100GB data, 3000 mins local call, 5000 SMS, overseas data roam) will not be extended.

The only difference between the $30 cards and $50 cards are the data roaming quota. The $30 cards give you 3GB data roaming while $50 cards give you 5GB data roaming. So, I think the $50 cards are more suitable for business travellers or luxurious travellers who need more data roam.

What’s the best card for budget travellers, long-term travellers or residents?

Best SIM card for budget repeat visitors or budget long-term travellers

Best SIM card for budget repeat visitors or budget long-term travellers in Singapore

If you’re a budget type of person who keeps coming back to Singapore at least once a year, it’s likely that you want to get a cheap SIM card that’s valid for months rather than the Tourist SIM card which is only valid for several weeks (I do the same thing with Malaysia and Indonesia because I visit both countries often!). But you have to remember to top up the card before it expires!

For this case, it looks like the best SIM card for you is the M1’s $5 M Card simply because it is the cheapest, it’s valid for 90 days, it has quite a competitive price for data plans. However, if the free 200MB for 20 days is not enough for you, then the second best choice is M1’s $8 New M Card, which gives you free 1.5GB for 30 days.

If you’re a budget long-term traveller who uses mostly hostel’s free wifi, doesn’t need a huge amount of data on your phone, needs just enough data to check Google Maps to make sure you’re not lost, and are conscious about budget, then I feel that the best card for you is also the M1’s $5 M Card. If the free 200MB is not enough for you, I suggest going for M1’s $8 New M Card or Singtel’s $8 hi! card.

Best SIM card for long-term travelers or residents who use data frequently

best prepaid sim card for singapore long term travelers or singapore residents

So, if you’re not too budget, and you want to keep a Singapore number because you visit about every 6 months, you need to use data and you don’t want to rely on wifi, I think the $15 category is suitable for you.

Personally, I think that M1’s $15 gives too little free data (only 4 GB) so you can forget about it. StarHub’s $15 gives 6GB + 2GB but the 2GB is not immediately available when you first purchase the card, so I think you can forget about StarHub’s too.

Now we are left with Singtel’s $15 and M1’s $14. Singtel’s $15 only gives 3GB for 120 days and 5GB for 30 days. Meanwhile, M1’s $14 gives 4GB for 120 days and 4GB for 30 days. With the same amount of free local data, I would choose M1’s $14 because it’s cheaper.

Now, let’s move to the next analysis!

If you’re a resident in Singapore, I presume you’ll be using data most of the time, so the criteria to choose the best SIM card for you would be the price of data plans, especially the monthly plan.

If you’re like me who uses a mobile phone to browse websites, use social media and watch YouTube videos, you probably need 20 GB a month.

For usage of 20GB or less in a month, I would say that the most suitable SIM card for you is Singtel’s $15 hi! card because 20GB costs $25/month and it’s valid for 30 days. StarHub’s data plan is only valid for 4 weeks, meanwhile M1 doesn’t have a 20GB data plan.

If you think 20GB is too much for you, and you can survive using just 4.5 GB or 15GB a month because you don’t really watch youtube videos or use Instagram, then I recommend that you choose M1’s $14 M Card, then purchase the monthly data plans of 4.5GB for $14.

If 20GB a month is too little for you, then the best choice is M1’s $14 M Card and the best monthly data plan is 50GB which costs $28 a month.

Coverage

Regarding coverage, personally I have used the service of all three mobile 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 🙂

Purchase on the spot or in advance?

First of all, not all SIM cards can be purchased in advance. For those cards that can be booked online, I highly recommend that you do, because you’ll never know how long the queue can be.

In busy city/tourist areas like Bugis or Orchard, queues at telecommunication shops can be insane (at least 30 mins of waiting).

At the airport, not every SIM card is available for sale (#truestory: they only sell the more expensive ones, but they keep changing strategy so you’ll never know).

If the SIM card that you want can’t be purchased online, I think your best bet is to go to not-so-busy 7-Eleven or Cheers convenient stores, or go to telecommunication shops in the morning (between 10 to 11am) or late at night (9pm onwards).

FAQ

These are some of the most common questions that readers have asked me over the years.

1. What’s required to purchase SIM card in Singapore?

You need to bring passports during registration of the SIM card.

2. How many sim cards can I buy?

Each person is only allowed to have 3 prepaid SIM cards under their name, regardless of the service provider.

3. What are local data and roaming data?

Local data is the data that you can use in Singapore. Roaming data is the data that you can use when you’re outside Singapore.

4. Are incoming calls free?

Unfortunately, no. You will be charged when you receive local calls. If you have a lot of free local calls minutes, then these will be deducted when you receive incoming calls.

5. I want to maintain the validity of my SIM card so I can use it when I come back to Singapore in the future. How can I do so?

Get any prepaid SIM card, not the tourist SIM card. Then, download the apps (either Singtel hi! App, StarHub Prepaid App, or M1 Prepaid App) to check your card validity.

Finally, monitor your card validity consistently so that you can top up before its expiry date. These apps allow you to top up with credit card so it’s ok if you’re outside Singapore.

6. What is the cheapest SIM card in Singapore?

M1’s $5 M Card.

So… that’s it!

I hope I have provided you with enough information to make your decisions 🙂 If you have any questions, let me know in the comment or ask me in Trevallog Community on Facebook.

Planning for a trip to Singapore? Here are some essential information to read next:

  1. Read my best articles about Singapore
  2. Awesome Places in Singapore You Can Visit for Free
  3. A Weekend Itinerary for Budget Travellers in Singapore

Last updated: 27 September 2020

Best Singapore Prepaid Sim Card Feb 2020

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Shing Tak

Sunday 4th of April 2021

Hi there! Thanks for all the useful information on this page and sorry I'm late to the party. Out of curiosity, is there any difference between the providers in terms of data speed/network quality? I stayed in Singapore for a month in 2012 and used a Starhub prepaid SIM. What a painful experience! Half a minute to send a message on Whatsapp, several minutes to send a photo (to clarify, this was on 3G - still the norm in 2012 - but I was getting speeds 5x as fast in the UK and perhaps 10x as fast in Hong Kong using a CSL prepaid sim). Network quality was atrocious even with 4 bars of signal, leading me to conclude that Starhub was prioritising its regular post-paid subscribers in high-traffic areas and screwing over tourists and migrant workers on prepaid. Is this still the case? Many thanks, Shing.

Eva

Thursday 8th of April 2021

Hi! It's really hard to say which is the best in terms of coverage, but I've heard the least number of complaints about Singtel. So, maybe this time you can try it?

Colin

Wednesday 12th of February 2020

This is a long post so I'll start off with a summary. Then you can read the long story, if you wish, of my experience with the Singtel hi! Tourist SIM Card (hereafter referred to as 'the Card').

Here is the summary.

When you purchase the Card over the counter or order it online and later collect it over the counter, they will register the Card with your passport details AND activate the Card IMMEDIATELY before handing it to you . Be very aware of this. Apparently this is the policy and procedure for Singtel hi! Tourist cards. Say for example, you just arrived and buy the Card (eg 7-day $15 value Card) at the airport, you're jet-lagged so you head to your hotel and sleep off the entire day or two. Then you wake up all refreshed to explore Singapore. You insert the Card, turn on your phone and then find out that you only have 5 or 6 days left till expiry instead of the 7 days you were expecting. Bummer.

Lesson: Buy the Card only when you’re ready to use it.

Here is the long story (including my experience with Singtel customer service).

We planned 16 full days in Singapore to shop, run personal errands & visit relatives over the Chinese New Year period. I wanted phone & Internet access for my wife and myself. The $15 7-days hi! Tourist SIM card looked like a good deal as it was on promo for $12. So I ordered four Cards online on the Singtel website to be collected at CHANGi Airport Terminal 1. My plan was to collect the Cards on arrival but to only start using the first two Cards on the 2nd day onwards (we have Internet access where we stayed). When the 7-day expiry runs out, we would wait a day before starting to use the 2nd set of Cards. Alternatively, we could stagger the use of the Cards so that we would have full phone & Internet access throughout our 16 days. I know there are higher value plans with longer expiry days but the $12 promo was a good deal. And my plan seemed like a good plan. Or so I thought. WRONG!

Here's where the trouble started.

Arrived CHANGi Airport Terminal 1 & collected my four Cards at the Travelex counter at 2.30am. Easy. No fuss.

Second day late afternoon, I inserted the first set of Cards, downloaded the Singtel hi! App, checked my credit and was shocked to find I have only six days left till expiry. The expiry date showed to be seven days from when I collected the Card. I called Singtel customer service and spoke to a service rep for an hour. I was informed that the Cards were activated during registration when I collected them over the counter. I explained I was not informed of this when I collected the Cards. She said this would have been in the terms and conditions displayed on the web page when I purchased the Cards online. I explained that I did not see any notice about this when I purchased the Cards online. Later, I checked the online Singtel web page where I purchased the Cards and although there were terms and conditions on the page, there was no mention that the Cards were to be activated on collection. However, there was also a link to download a pdf of the terms and conditions, and this downloaded pdf file did contain a sentence regarding the Card being ‘pre-activated’ on registration. I explained that as this ‘activation upon collection’ was not communicated to me via the counter staff nor readily and visibly apparent when purchasing online, I was effectively left with two of my four cards being ‘wasted’, and how could I get this redressed? The service rep was apologetic and said that as the Cards were the $15 value Cards, there was nothing she could do. She then advised me to return to the airport to the same counter where I collected my Cards to exchange the four $15 Cards for two $30 Cards (12-day validity) and then call her back and she would extend the validity of the two new cards till the end of my stay in Singapore (that is, add another 3 days to the 12-day validity). I asked if I could do this at any SIngtel shop in town as I didn’t want to waste much time travelling back to the airport but she insisted that I had to go back to the same place I collected the Cards from.

Here’s where it gets worse.

That same evening I went back to the same Travelex counter at the airport and the counter girl couldn’t help me as she explained she had no instructions from Singtel customer service to exchange the Cards. She explained that they normally tell customers who buy the Cards over the counter that the Cards have been activated, but not when customers buy online and were simply there to collect the Cards. So I called Singtel customer service and spoke to another rep and had to explain everything all over again. After an hour of talking where I was put on hold a few times as she escalated the issue with her supervisor, she asked for the name and shop number of the Travelex counter that I collected the Cards from. Then she advised me that they would send an email to the Travelex shop to authorise the exchange of the four $15 Cards for the two $30 Cards. After confirming with her a few times that all this would be taken care of, I gave my thanks and went back to the Travelex shop, but not before the rep told me that I would receive an SMS message to rate her service, and requested that I give her a good rating!

If I thought that would take care of the issue, I was wrong. Here’s what happened next.

The Travelex counter girl said they don’t have email at the shop, that only their manager has access to email and the manager works at the office located in another terminal (the airport has four terminals) and works office hours only. By then, it was already 9pm, so there was nothing she could do. Again, I called Singtel customer service, spoke a while and handed the phone to the Travelex counter girl. The result of all this was that nothing else could be done that night and hopefully the Travelex manager would have received the email and we could get the issue settled.

I went back to the Travelex counter in the afternoon of the following day. The counter girl had received no news from her manager on my issue, so she took down my mobile number and promised to get in touch with her manager. One hour later, I received a call from her manager. She had been fully briefed and apologized as she was in a meeting most of the day. She promised to meet me at the counter within 30 minutes. When we met, she explained that she had not received any email from Singtel customer service to authorize the exchange of the Cards. She took pictures of my four Cards and called her head office to check and confirmed that no one at her office had received any email from Singtel. She explained that Travelex was a third party agent for the Singtel hi! Tourist Cards and if they exchanged the Cards, then Travelex would be liable for the cost of the Cards if Singtel does not make good on reimbursing them the cost. So without any authorization from Singtel, they could not replace the four cards. I said that I understood their situation and that it was totally not their fault.

So, I called Singtel customer service yet again, and spoke to yet another service rep who looked up my call records and listened to my grievances. Then she told me this: As my Cards were the $15 value Cards, there was nothing they could do to redress my issue (I get the feeling that’s because they’re the lowest value Cards and therefore cheapskates like me don’t deserve service). As to exchanging the four $15 Cards for two $30 Cards at Travelex, she said that the previous reps who told me this had “merely made a suggestion”, that is, they were not ‘instructions’, just a ‘suggestion’. Now, if this was the case, then I wonder why did they ask me for the name and shop number of the Travelex shop and why tell me that they were sending an email authorization to Travelex to exchange my Cards. I get the feeling that they did not even send off that email (since the Travelex manager told me that they did not receive any such email). But the Singtel rep on the phone did not address these, just reiterating that there was nothing else Singtel customer service could do for me. I wanted to make sure I got everything crystal clear on what Singtel customer service could or could not do to redress my situation so I asked questions (some repeated, ‘cos I wanted a final summary). Can I get my Cards exchanged? No. Can I get my two unused Cards refunded? No. So my two unused Cards will be unusable by the time I want to start using them? Yes, they will be unusable. Can you extend the expiry date of the two unused Cards? No, they are the $15 Cards and there is nothing we can do to extend the dates. So I have effectively wasted my money on two Cards that will expire by the time I plan to start using them (despite not being explicitly explained on the purchase web page that the Cards will be ‘pre-activated’ on registration and collection). Yes, your money would be wasted. Isn’t there anything you can do? Sorry, no, there is nothing we can do to help you.

By then, I didn’t want anything to do with Singtel customer service and cut off the call. However, there is a bright side to this story, as the Travelex manager had spoken with her boss and explained what she could do for me (explaining that this was strictly between Travelex and myself and had nothing to do with Singtel). She took my two ‘pre-activated’ $15 value Cards and gave me a new set of two $15 value cards that were unregistered and not yet activated. She explained how to register and activate the Cards online when I was ready to start using them. That made my day and I thanked her and her counter girls for the kindness and patience throughout this whole ‘ordeal’.

Summary: Some may say that I could have avoided this entire sorry episode if I had known about the ‘pre-activation’. But, I did not, and it was not explicitly stated during the online purchase process, and I am sure many people may not realize that, too. After all, in places like Australia where I live, I can buy a sim card online and have it registered, but not activated until I place the card into my phone and connect it to the telco network.

Would I discourage travelers from getting the Singtel hi! Tourist Card? No, because I am not slamming Singtel’s products, merely their customer service because my experience with them leaves a lot to be desired. And, one of the reps had the cheek to ask me to give her a good service rating! Really, you can tell a customer that they will receive a survey to rate the service, but you cannot solicit a good rating. That is simply not professional.

Singtel’s hi! Tourist Cards are good value for the traveler. Just be aware they come ‘pre-activated’ and don’t ever call their customer service. Singtel customer service reps need to buck up on their service delivery, how they engage with the customer, provide clear information and not waste the customer’s time -- I spent hours on the phone and hours spent waiting and travelling back and forth from the airport to try to resolve the issue to no avail.

Kudos go to the Travelex manager and counter girls for their patience and kindness in helping me resolve the issue.

Larissa

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Hello, I was looking at Singtel's website and I couldn't find anything about 2 people using $50 hi!Tourist SIM Card. How does it work? Will 2 sim cards be available? Or I and my friend need to share one sim card? Thanks in advance, Larissa.

Rachelle

Tuesday 19th of May 2020

Hi,

Good read! Great Article! Just want to ask, Sim cards validity can go as long as 180 Days. When does the validity starts? The moment you purchased it or the moment you activate the sim card to your phone?

Eva

Monday 13th of January 2020

Hi Larissa, I have called Singtel to clarify. Apparently they have phased out the Twin Pack. Now, it's only single sim card for $50 Tourist Sim. Thanks for highlighting this to me! My article will be updated this month to reflect the changes. If you need 2 sim cards for short term stay, I recommend getting the $12 or $15 Tourist SIM.

Nad

Wednesday 25th of December 2019

Hi Eva

i have a 17 hrs transit and plan to go out of the airport to see some places.what would be the best sim, i will need it for google maps & whatsapp/viber

Eva

Monday 30th of December 2019

Hi Nad, You can get the cheapest sim card since you're in Singapore for less than a day. You can consider M1's $5 or Singtel/StarHub's $8. If you need more data than the free provided data, just use your existing credit to purchase data using the app.

ericson ang

Tuesday 17th of December 2019

hello. planning to ride a cruise in singapore. singapore to malaysia and back to singapore. may i ask what internet sim card i can use on board the ship>? with calls to be made to the philippines if possible. ... thank you

Eva

Thursday 19th of December 2019

Based on my experience, there won't be any signals when you're on board the ship in the middle of nowhere :) you need to purchase wifi package from your cruise company.