Buying a local SIM card in Singapore

With some areas in Singapore having free wireless, it is easy to get connect online with Wireless@SG or if your hotel provides it complimentary. However, getting a local SIM card in Singapore would be a practical option if are going to make calls with your own +65 prefix.

You can get the prepaid SIM card at any out the telco outlets (usually in shopping malls or at shops around bus interchanges), or at the nearest convenience store (e.g. 7-Evelen, Cheers convenience stores), post offices, FairPrice supermarkets and at the Marina Sands hotel. All you need is your passport to register at the time of purchase (requirement of the Singapore government that all SIM cards are registered).

Each of Singapore’s three telcos (Singtel, Starhub, M1) offer their own prepaid service: hi! Card (Singtel), Green Prepaid (Starhub), and M Card ( M1). The hi! Card is the cheapest at just $8 for the SIM card plus $10 of stored credit, but it has no data service.

If you are looking for 3G pre-paid SIMs, they cost $15 and come with $18 stored credit. Singtel’s prepaid 3G SIM cards are available only at Singtel retail stores while Starhub’s 3G prepaid SIM card is available only at the UOB Foreign Exchange Booths at Changi Airport. Starhub also has a more tourist friendly 3G pre-paid SIM designed especially for short-term visitors, the “Preferred Tourist Prepaid Card” is available as a regular SIM or a micro SIM, costing S$15 and comes with S$18 stored credit, 20 free text messages, and 30 MB free data. Additional data costs are S$2 for 30 MB valid for 3 days, S$4 for 200 MB valid for 3 days, or S$7 for 1 GB valid for 7 days. This “tourist” version expires after 90 days unless topped-up (Singapore SIM cards expire after 180 days without top up) and is available at Starhub retail shops, Esplanade MRT station, and selected shopping malls.

When you’ve purchased a SIM card, to activate it, simply slide it into any unlocked GSM phone. You will receive a text message welcoming you to the network. Expect to pay S$0.08-0.16 per minute for local calls, S$0.05 for a local text message, and S$0.15 for international text messages.

Once the SIM card is activated, the stored credit is valid for up to 6 months (180 days). When the credit runs out or it is near the expiration date approaches, simply purchase a top-up card of S$18 and above at any 7-eleven or another participating outlet, no passport is required for the purchase of the top-up card. More details about other top-up methods (e.g. online top-up with a credit card) can be found on each telco’s (Singtel, Starhub, M1) website.

I have Starhub's Green Prepaid and topping it up online is pretty easy and convenient.
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