4 equally great telcos

Every country has their own unique telco, with popular mobile sim card options and plans which the locals use. It’s good to do some research beforehand, so that you don’t arrive in a foreign land stranded without mobile connection for days. It’s also important to protect your mobile data from any kind of attack especially if you’re used to using public WIFI. Fortunately, services like a Mobile Backup Solution now come at a budget-friendly price.

There are four main telcos in Singapore – M1, Singtel, StarHub, and Circle.life (newest out of the four). There’s no one telco that’s distinctively better than the rest, so you might wanna check out the different plans they offer and see which sounds best for you.

1. Prepaid Card

There are different types of prepaid cards offering different amounts of data + credits for SMS/calls, and with varying periods of validity. They also offer top-up options for your existing prepaid cards, and you can find the rates on each telco’s respective websites.

Where to buy

M1 Singtel  Starhub
  • Singtel hello! Stores and Authorised Dealers
  • 7-Eleven/ Cheers
  • SingPost outlets
  • StarHub Shops
  • StarHub’s Exclusive Partner outlets
  • StarHub Authorised Retailers
  • 7-Eleven/Cheers
  • SingPost
  • Changi Airport (StarHub Counters at Terminal 1, 2, 3 and 4, UOB Currency Exchange Counters at Terminal 1, 2, 3 and 4, Travellers Counters at Terminal 2 and 3, Arrival Halls)
  • Pre-order online (Pre-order your Happy Prepaid SIM Card and collect at Changi Airport)

How to top up data/credits

All the telcos offer online top up on their respective websites, or through their mobile apps. If you have lots of time and energy to spare, you can also walk to AXS stations or Singpost outlets to top up your card.

Cheapest 6 month plan

Starhub’s $15 Happy Prepaid Card would be the cheapest 6-month prepaid plan which offers $15 credits, 2.2GB local data (1.2GB for first month, 200MB/month for next 5 months), and free text messaging on WeChat, WhatsApp, and LINE. But if you’re planning to be on Instagram 24/7 without wifi, this plan isn’t for you.

You can also consider topping up your data for the next five months, with the cheapest top up rate being $10 for 1.2GB with a validity period of 30 days.

Analysis for 6-month options, assuming approx. 1GB data/mth usage

Telco M1 Singtel Starhub
Plan $15 plan:

  • $15 credits valid for 180 days
  • 2GB data valid for 120 days
$50 plan:

  • $50 credits valid for 180 days
  • 5GB for 180 days
$15 plan:

  • $15 credits valid for 180 days
  • 1.2GB for 1st month, 200MB for next 5 months
Suggested add-on 1GB/mth for last 4 mths ($10/mth) 2GB data add-on for the 6th mth: 1GB anytime, 1GB 12am-8am ($18/mth) 1.2GB for last 5 mths ($10/mth)
Total Credits $15 $50 $15
Total Data 6GB (1GB/mth) 7GB (1GB/mth, and additional 1GB from 12am-8am during the 6th mth) 8.2GB (1.2GB for 1st mth, 1.4GB/mth for next 5 mths)
Total Cost $55 $68 $65

*assume 1mth – 30 days
*credits are used for SMS/calling.

Credit Usage

Telco M1 Singtel Starhub
Local Calls 8¢/min (All day on weekends,  8pm-7:59am on weekdays)

16¢/min (Weekdays 8am-7:59pm)

Free incoming calls for 60¢/day

8¢/min (All day on weekends,  8pm-7:59am on weekdays)

16¢/min (Weekdays 8am-7:59pm)

22¢ for first min, 8¢/min thereafter
Local SMS 5¢ (Free 10 local SMS with 5 local SMS sent) 5¢ (Free 30 local SMS with 10 local SMS sent daily, only valid for $10 or $20 Top-up)
Local Data 0.7¢/kb  Pay-per-use local mobile data services are pre-activated and deducted in blocks of 10KB 5.4¢/10KB for $8 hi! SIM Card

2.7¢/10KB for $10 hi! SIM Card and above


2. Postpaid Plans

Most (if not all) postpaid plans come with a contract that lasts for a minimum of 12 months. So if you’re here on exchange for 6 months, these postpaid plans wouldn’t be viable for you!

3. Circles.Life

Circles.Life is the newest telco to Singapore, offering mobile plans at really attractive prices – 4GB local data + 100 min talk time only costs $28/mth. All incoming SMSes are free, but outgoing local ones cost 5¢/msg.

The telco offers a combination of prepayment and post payment options, and allows you to customize every aspect of your plan (data/talk time/SMS) before purchasing the one that suits you the most. However, do take note that passports are not allowed when signing up for a Circles.Life plan – you’ll require a Student Pass!

Circles.Life also has a web chat function which allows you to speak to customer service agents from 8am-11pm on weekdays and 8am-8pm on weekends.

Mobile sim card decisions

While all telcos offer similar mobile sim card options, some might offer greater customizability or focus on providing more data instead of call time. Do check out the telcos’ individual websites for more details or clarification 🙂

Got your mobile phone settled? Check out the 10 Useful Apps You Need To Download When You’re In Singapore!

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