The Ultimate Expat Guide to Getting the Best Prepaid SIM Card in Singapore
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The Ultimate Expat Guide to Getting the Best Prepaid SIM Card in Singapore

profileJacqueline Yan
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Have you ever wondered how long you can last without data or your phone in another country?

If you’re going to be staying in Singapore for a while, I’m sure you’ll need to get your connectivity issues sorted out as soon as possible!

phone near ceiling searching for signal
Source: Giphy

Since applying for a postpaid plan requires proof of your residential address, you might not have one since you’re still sorting out your accommodation.

Don’t worry, focus on settling down and let us do the comparison between M1, Singtel and StarHub for the best prepaid SIM card for you!


TL;DR: The Ultimate Expat Guide to Getting the Best Prepaid SIM Card for Your Stay in Singapore

expat guide to getting the best prepaid sim card for stay in singapore

Best Prepaid SIM Card for Overall Use in Singapore

If you’re staying in Singapore for less than 3 months and just looking for the best value for your money, both Singtel and M1 offer $8 prepaid SIM cards with 1.5GB data for 30 days.

Otherwise, if you’re staying in Singapore for more than 3 months, one of the best options would be the StarHub $15 Happy Prepaid SIM, especially since your local data can last up to 180 days!

Best Prepaid SIM Card Provider for Calling Locally in Singapore

If your main concern when choosing a prepaid SIM card is making local calls, StarHub might be your top choice!

The only tiny downside to StarHub’s local call rates? They charge you 2 cents more for the first minute, but the rest of the call is done at the lowest rate!

Unlike Singtel and M1, StarHub’s local call rates are very straightforward as the rates are the same all day, every day.

Which means you can call anyone at any time of the day, without having to worry that your card’s stored value might run out halfway through the call!

Best Prepaid SIM Card Provider for Making International Calls from Singapore

A two-week vacation is enough to make me homesick, I can’t even begin to imagine how much more intense it’ll be for a couple of months.

Calling home while you’re in Singapore doesn’t have to break your bank since the three providers offer attractive international call packages instead of deducting it through your card’s stored value.

Prepaid SIM Card ProviderBest for International Calls toRates per Minute
(International Call Packs)
SingtelBangladesh4.3 cents
Myanmar8.8 cents
Philippines3.3 cents
StarHubIndia1.1 cents
Indonesia12.2 cents
M1China1 cent

Do note that for StarHub and M1, their international call packages include other features like local call time and local data. For easier comparison, the rates for StarHub and M1 are calculated based on the international call minutes only.

Best Prepaid SIM Card Provider for Local Data in Singapore

Of course, we’re going to talk about the best prepaid SIM card provider for local data!

While StarHub has the lowest local data rate at 4 cents per 10KB, it’s not funny when that accumulates…

I know, everyone’s data needs will differ since it’s highly dependent on your usage

But I’m guessing you probably will know how much you’ll roughly use per month, right?

Monthly Data UsagePrepaid SIM Card ProviderData Plan
Less than 10GBM130-day 4.5GB$14
More than 10GBStarHub4-week20GB
+ Free 40GB
over 4 Sundays
$25

Singtel offers a wide variety of data plans too, just not with the best rates compared to StarHub and M1.

Best Tourist SIM Card for a Short Stay in Singapore

Bonus! If you’re only here for a few days, it doesn’t really make sense for you to purchase a SIM card that’s going to last you for a few months.

DurationPrepaid SIM Card
7 days or less$12 Starhub Travel Prepaid SIM
8 - 12 days$30 Singtel hi!Tourist SIM
13 - 15 days$50 Singtel hi!Tourist SIM

Don’t worry, M1 offers tourist SIM cards too, just that the rates ain’t as good.


Let me save you some time since this article is really long, so click the types of prepaid cards below to be transported!

M1 logo

M1 M Card

Wish I can make things simpler for you, but there are just so many choices for M1 Prepaid SIM cards…

 $5 M Card$15 M Card$8 Prepaid SIM$14 Prepaid SIM$25 Prepaid SIM$60 Prepaid SIM
Price$5$15$8$14$25$60
Stored Card Value$5$15$10 for 90 days$14 for 180 daysNANA
Local Data500MB for 20 days4GB for 120 days
+ 4GB for 30 days
1.5GB for 30 days4GB for 120 days
+ 4GB for 30 days
1GB per day for 30 days1GB per day for 90 days
Local Incoming CallsPay-per-usePay-per-usePay-per-usePay-per-useUnlimitedUnlimited
Local Outgoing Calls5,0005,000 every 30 days
Local SMS5,0005,000 every 30 days
Validity90 days180 days90 days180 days30 days90 days

M1 seems to be pretty generous with their free local data though, so I suppose that’s a good sign?

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Local & International SMS Rates

 Rates
Local SMS5 cents per SMS
Free 10 local SMS with 5 local SMS sent
International SMS
(XL Axiata subscribers)
5 cents per SMS
International SMS
(All other operator subscribers)
15 cents per SMS

While the SMS rates are pretty much the same, sending 5 local SMS with M1 gives you 10 free local SMS!

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Social Data Plans

I’m afraid I’ve got bad news if you’re an avid Facebook user…

You’ll need to purchase an additional social data plan to feed your Facebook addiction!

 DataMonthly Rate
Facebook 32GB$7
imo18GB$12

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Local Call Rates

Now, M1 has different local call rates for different periods in the day, so be sure to monitor your card’s stored value if you don’t want to run out halfway through a call!

PeriodLocal Call Rates
Monday - Friday,
8pm - 7:59am
20 cents for first minute
8 cents per minute
Monday - Friday,
8am - 7:59pm
20 cents for first minute
16 cents per minute
Saturday & Sunday,
All Day
20 cents for first minute,
8 cents per minute

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International Calls & IDD Packs

While M1 IDD packs include local data and/or SMS, but 50MB will probably be used up really quickly, so it’s still pretty fair for us to compare based on overseas call rates only!

 IDD PacksOverseas Call Rates
PriceCall RatesOverseas Call Time
(Estimated)
Local Data / SMS
China$261 cent per minute2,600 minutes for 30 days
(Connection Charge of 30 cents)
50MB2.1 cents per minute
3 cents per minute
(from 04 Feb 2020)
Malaysia$263.3 cents per minute (Fixed line) OR
8.3 cents per minute (mobile line)
~788 minutes for 30 days (Fixed line) OR
~ 313 minutes for 30 days (mobile line0
50MBFree
(local rates apply)
Philippines$516.7 cents per minute~29 minutes for 3 daysNA15 cents per minute
20 cents per minute
(from 04 Feb 2020)
Indonesia$522.7 cents per minute ~22 minutes for 3 days50 SMS to Indonesia10 cents per minute
15 cents per minute
(from 04 Feb 2020)
BangladeshNA4.5 cents per minute
7 cents per minute
(from 04 Feb 2020)
IndiaNA3 cents per minute
5 cents per minute
(from 04 Feb 2020)
MyanmarNA45 cents per minute
60 cents per minute
(from 04 Feb 2020)

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Local Data Rates & Data Packs

Now, if you’re already on an M1 prepaid card, make sure you monitor your data usage and purchase the necessary data packs.

Data PacksDataValidityPrice
3-Day Data Packs100MB3 days$2
1GB3 days$5
7-Day Data Packs10MB7 days$1
1GB7 days$7
2GB
+ 7-day free incoming call
7 days$10
30-Day Data Packs300MB30 days$5
1GB30 days$10
4.5GB
+ 30-day free incoming call
30 days$14
8GB
+ 30-day free incoming call
30 days$21
12GB
+ 30-day free incoming call
30 days$28

If you exceed your data limit, you’ll be charged 7 cents per 10KB, not cool at all!

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Data Roaming

Heading to another country while you’re in Singapore?

Well, M1 offers two prepaid data roaming packs, but you might be better off finding other options!

 $15 Roaming Pack$28 Roaming Pack
Price$15$28
Roaming Data2GB2GB
International Call Time10 minutes10 minutes
CountriesAustralia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, USAAustralia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, USA
Validity10 days10 days

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Singtel Logo

Singtel hi! SIM Cards

However, if you’re going to be in Singapore for more than 2 weeks, it doesn’t make sense for you to purchase more hi!Tourist SIM cards since it’s rather pricey.

Fret not, even though Singtel hi! SIM cards are not solely for tourists, it’s a good option for a longer stay!

 $8 hi! SIM$15 hi! SIM $38 hi! SIM$50 hi! SIM$20 hi! Data SIM
Cost$8$15$38$50$20
Stored Card Value$10$15$38$50$20
Local Data1.5GB for 30 days
- Anytime: 500MB
- 12am to 8am: 1GB
3GB for 120 days
- Anytime: 1GB
- 12am to 8am: 2GB
3GB
- For Singapore & Malaysia
5GB
- For 7 days
5GB
Card Validity90 days
- not extendable
120 days
- extendable
180 days
- extendable
180 days
7 days

You’ll notice only local data and stored card value are bundled together with the hi! SIM cards, that’s because other features are charged and deducted from your card’s stored value as you use them!

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Local & Overseas SMS Rates

 Rates
Local SMS5 cents per SMS
Overseas SMS
(Telkomsel & Globe subscribers)
5 cents per SMS
Overseas SMS
(All other operator subscribers)
15 cents per SMS

It’s gonna take a lot of SMSes to deplete your stored card value but still, be sure to monitor your usage!

You must be rolling your eyes at me by now, who still uses SMS when you’ve got WhatsApp?

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Social Data Plans

I’m not sure if you had the same thought I did when checking out the hi!Tourist SIM cards, but I was curious why they had to mention unlimited WhatsApp, LINE, WeChat or Facebook access.

After scrolling through and reading the terms and conditions, I found out that you’ll have to pay if you want to use WhatsApp, LINE, WeChat or Facebook!

PlansWhatsAppLINEWeChatFacebook
1 Day Plan$0.50$1$0.50$1
7 Day Plan$3$6$3$5
30 Day Plan$6$12$6$9

These plans don’t even allow you to make video calls so I wonder if it’s going to be deducted from your data limit…

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Local Call Rates

PeriodIncoming Local Call RatesOutgoing Local Call Rates
Monday - Friday,
8pm - 7:59am
20 cents for first minute
8 cents per minute
20 cents for first minute
10 cents per minute
Monday - Friday,
8am - 7:59pm
20 cents for first minute
16 cents per minute
20 cents for first minute
18 cents per minute
Saturday & Sunday,
All Day
20 cents for first minute
8 cents per minute
20 cents for first minute
10 cents per minute

Remember to monitor your calls as the local call rates will be deducted from your stored card value!

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International Calls Rates & IDD 019 MegaSaver Packs

Likewise, if you’re making a couple of short overseas calls, your hi! SIM card’s stored value might be enough to cover the overseas call rates.

But if you foresee yourself making overseas calls often, you might want to consider purchasing the IDD 019 MegaSaver Packs since the rates are significantly lower.

CountryIDD 019 MegaSaver PacksOverseas Call Rates
Call Time PriceCall Rates
Bangladesh70 IDD minutes for 7 days$34.3 cents per minute9 cents per minute
China150 IDD minutes for 7 days$32 cents per minuteFree v019 calls
(Local call rates apply)
India120 IDD minutes for 7 days$32.5 cents per minute7 cents per minute
Myanmar100 IDD minutes for 30 days$8.808.8 cents per minute60-80 cents per minute
Philippines300 IDD minutes for 30 days$9.803.3 cents per minute34 cents for first minute
16-22 cents per minute
Australia (fixed), Brunei, Canada,
Hong Kong, Laos, Macau, Mongolia,
New Zealand (fixed), Puerto Rico,
Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, UK
(fixed), USA, Vietnam, Thailand
NAFree v019 calls
(Local call rates apply)

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Local Data Rates & Data Plans

Now, I know we usually try to estimate how much data we’ll need and work around our data limit.

But, if you exceeded about your data limit, you’ll be paying 6.4 cents per 10KB, which can accumulate to a big sum over time!

Let’s say you predict that you won’t be making a lot of phone calls, you might be getting the $8 or $15 hi! SIM card.

What if 1.5GB or 3GB of data is not enough for you but it doesn’t make sense to get the higher value cards?

I personally feel that it can get a little confusing, but Singtel offers so many data plans to cater to your needs, you’ll eventually choose one that’s right for you!

Data PlansDataValidityPrice
Value+ Data PlansAnytime: 1.5GB
12am - 8am: 750MB
7 days$10
Anytime: 1.5GB
12am - 8am: 750MB
30 days$13
Anytime: 4GB
12am - 8am: 2GB
30 days$25
SG & M'sia Data Pass1GB28 days$10
5-Day Plan100MB5 days$2
7-Day Plan1GB7 days$8
30-Day Plans1GB30 days$10
3GB30 days$20
5GB30 days$30
Ultimate Plans2GB1 day$7
6GB3 days$16
15GB7 days$30

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hi!DataRoam Packs

Plans change sometimes and you might need to travel elsewhere while you’re in Singapore, right?

If you’re lazy to buy another tourist SIM card for your destination, you can consider the data roaming plans available. 

hi!DataRoam PackDataCountryPrice
Pack A1GB for 30 daysMalaysia, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand & Philippines$10
Pack B1GB for 30 daysChina, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea$20
Pack C (Malaysia)100MB for 7 daysMalaysia$5
Pack D (Australia)100MB for 7 daysAustralia$5

Though I think you might be able to find better deals elsewhere…

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StarHub Logo

StarHub Happy Prepaid SIM Card

StarHub offers three variants of the Happy Prepaid SIM card, depending on your needs during your stay in Singapore.

 $8 Happy Prepaid SIM$15 Happy Prepaid SIM$50 Happy Prepaid SIM
Price$8$15$50
Stored Card Value$10 for 90 days $15 for 180 days$50 for 180 days
Local Data800MB for 30 days8GB for 180 days
- First month: 1.2GB
- Subsequent 5 months: 200MB per month
- First 30 days: 6GB
100GB for 10 days
Roaming DataNANA 5GB for 30 days
Access to WeChat, WhatsApp & LINENAFree for 180 daysNA

While it seems 8GB of local data for 180 days may be too good to be true, it’s an ongoing promotion for the $15 Happy Prepaid SIM and it’s a pretty good deal!

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Local Calls & Data Rates, Local & Overseas SMS Rates

Local CallsSMSLocal Data
22 cents for first minute5 cents per local SMS4 cents per 10KB
8 cents per minute15 cents per global SMS

Apart from having the most straightforward local call rates, StarHub has the lowest local call and local data rates compared to the other two telcos!

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Social Data Plans

 LINEWeChat
Daily Rate$0.40$0.40
30-day Rate$6$6

Luckily for StarHub prepaid card users, you’ll only need to pay for extra social data plans if you’re using LINE or WeChat!

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International Call Rates & WOW IDD Plans

Making things super easy to remember, StarHub’s international IDD call packs are all priced at $11.

CountryWOW IDD PlansOverseas Call Rate
Overseas Call Time PriceCall RatesLocal Call TimeLocal Data
India1001 minutes for 11 days$111.1 cents per minute101 minutes1.1GB3 cents per minute
Bangladesh250 minutes for 11 days4.4 cents per minute100 minutes1GB4.5 cents per minute
Indonesia90 minutes for 11 days12.2 cents per minute22 cents per minute
Philippines45 minutes for 11 days34.4 cents per minute22 cents per minute
Myanmar30 minutes for 11 days36.7 cents per minute80 cents per minute
China600 minutes for 11 days1.8 cents per minute8 cents per minute

I get it, the WOW IDD plans also include local call time and local data…

But since the main purpose of purchasing these plans is international calls, we’re calculating the call rates based on overseas call time only.

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WOW Data Plans

I may be biased, but StarHub sure knows how to simplify their offerings for an easier decision-making process!

ValidityDataPrice
1-Day1GB $3
3-Day1GB$5
1-Week1GB$8
4-Week1GB$10
2GB
+ Free 40GB over 4 Sundays
$18
20GB
+ Free 40GB over 4 Sundays
$25
Supported Countries:
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

The best part about the WOW Data Plans?

Your data can be used in all supported countries as well, so no need to worry about having to purchase extra roaming data!

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Best Tourist SIM Cards for a Short Stay in Singapore

If you’re just visiting Singapore for a week or two, the three major telcos offer very competitive options to cater to your travel needs.

Before we go into details for the prepaid tourist SIM cards, you’ll find that they’re all going to offer you 100GB of local data, which is a lot!

M1 Prepaid Tourist SIM Card

M1 provides three options for you if you’re only going to be in Singapore for 2 weeks or less.

 $12 Prepaid Tourist SIM$30 Prepaid Tourist SIM$50 Prepaid Tourist SIM
Price$12$30$50
Local Data100GB100GB100GB
Local Calls500 minutes3,000 minutes3,000 minutes
Local SMS100 SMS5,000 SMS5,000 SMS
IDD Calls20 minutes50 minutes50 minutes
Roaming DataNA3GB5GB
Validity7 days12 days14 days

M1 Prepaid Tourist SIM cards offer roaming data for 5 countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

Unfortunately, M1’s options shy when it comes to the call time for international IDD calls, so if that’s your priority, you’ve still got the other two telcos!

Singtel hi!Tourist SIM Cards

Singtel offers four options for tourists on a short visit to Singapore, providing flexibility based on the length of stay.

 $15 hi!Tourist SIM$30 hi!Tourist SIM$50 hi!Tourist SIMhi!Tourist EZ-Link SIM
Price$15$30$50$18
EZ-Link Card ValueNANANA$3
Local Data100GB100GB100GB100GB
Access to Facebook, LINE, WeChat, WhatsappUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Local Calls500 minutes3,000 minutes3,000 minutes500 minutes
Local SMS100 SMS5,000 SMS5,000 SMS100 SMS
IDD Calls30 minutes90 minutes90 minutes30 minutes
Roaming Data1GB3GB5GB1GB
Card Validity7 days12 days15 days7 days

Singtel hi!Tourist SIM cards’ roaming data applies for four countries, namely Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

You’d noticed by now that the $15 hi!Tourist SIM and hi!Tourist EZ-Link SIM is very similar, the biggest difference is that the hi!Tourist EZ-Link SIM functions as an EZ-Link card too for your transport needs!

There are some extra perks that you can enjoy with the hi!Tourist EZ-Link SIM card:

  • Free cable car ride (worth $15)
  • Up to 25% off Sentosa attractions
  • Exclusive dining offers with HungryGoWhere

StarHub Travel Prepaid SIM Cards

StarHub offers only two options for travellers on a short stay, sorry if you’re staying here for more than 12 days!

 $12 Travel Prepaid SIM$32 Travel Prepaid SIM
Price$12$32
Local Data100GB for 7 days100GB for 12 days
Local Incoming CallsUnlimitedUnlimited
Local Outgoing Calls500 minutes3,000 minutes
Local SMS100 SMS5,000 SMS
IDD Calls30 minutes90 minutes
Roaming Data1GB for 7 days3GB for 30 days
Social MessagingUnlimitedUnlimited
Validity7 days12 days

StarHub Travel Prepaid SIM cards offer roaming data for 18 countries, namely Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States of America.

So if Singapore is your first stop before moving to another destination in the list above, this might just be the card for you!

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About Jacqueline Yan
Full-time coffee nerd playing the personal finance game to feed her insatiable wanderlust.
You can contribute your thoughts like Jacqueline Yan here.

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