Which tourist SIM to get in Singapore, and how to get?
Get a Nomad Travel eSIM for Singapore instead.
· 7 min read
- Do I need a tourist SIM in Singapore?
- What local prepaid tourist SIMs can I get in Singapore?
- Where can I buy a local tourist SIM card in Singapore?
- What do I need to buy a tourist SIM card in Singapore?
- Get Nomad's travel eSIM for Singapore instead
- Get a Nomad Travel eSIM for your next trip to Singapore
Singapore, with its iconic skyline, lush greenery, and vibrant culture, is a must-visit destination for any globetrotter. If you are planning a visit to Singapore, and wondering whether you will need to get a travel SIM for your trip, this blog post will help you find your answer. We'll take a look at whether there is a need to get a tourist or travel SIM, and what your options are when deciding what SIM or eSIM you should get.
Too lazy to read through the article? Here's a TL;DR:
- It is possible to explore Singapore without a SIM. But it will come with inconveniences.
- There are three main providers: Singtel, StarHub, and M1. And a lot of MVNOs. Prices are fairly similar across all telcos, and Singtel's the biggest telco with the best coverage.
- You can get local SIMs from the airport, retail stores of the operators, or at convenient stores (7-eleven, Cheers) across the island; you can get travel eSIMs from the comfort of your home even before you fly.
And in the battle of local tourist SIMs vs travel eSIMs, here are the winners:
- Convenience: Travel eSIM
- Price: Depends, but mostly Local Tourist SIM
- Coverage: Depends on which Local SIM, but we'd say Nomad travel eSIM is a winner here.
- Added benefits: Local Tourist SIM (but do you really need those?)
Do I need a tourist SIM in Singapore?
If you are considering whether you need a tourist SIM to get data and connectivity in Singapore, you would be glad to know that many places in Singapore provide public WiFi. Coupled with the small size of this island nation and how most attractions are in close proximity with each other, it is actually possible to explore the city-state without a tourist SIM.
However, not getting a SIM card or data connectivity during your trip to Singapore definitely comes with inconveniences. For example, if you will be traveling on the bus or MRT, or if you will be at the parks or visiting the Southern Islands, not having data might make it difficult for you to access your favourite utility or social apps. Public WiFi in Singapore also often requires you to provide contact or email details, so if the sharing of such information is a concern, we would recommend that you do not rely on the availability of public WiFi.
What local prepaid tourist SIMs can I get in Singapore?
For starters, let's take a look at the mobile operators that are available in Singapore. The three main operators in Singapore are Singtel, StarHub, and M1. There are also a number of MNVOs that ride on the infrastructure of these three main carriers. Of the three networks, Singtel is the biggest, and is known to have the best coverage in Singapore.
How much are the local prepaid tourist SIMs in Singapore?
All three operators provide tourist SIMs for Singapore, with fairly similar prices:
- Singtel: SGD12 for 100GB of 4G local data and 3GB of data roaming in select countries, with a validity of 14 days. If 5G is required, there is the option of getting 100GB data at SGD30, with a validity of 28 days.
- StarHub: SGD12 for 100GB of local data and 1GB of data roaming in select countries, with a validity of 10 days. Other options are available if a longer validity or more roaming data is required.
- M1: SGD12 for 100GB of local data, with a validity of 15 days. Other options are available if roaming is required.
In all three options, you get a whopping 100GB of data at fairly similar prices. What really sets them apart is:
- If you need 5G connectivity, Singtel is the only carrier that currently supports it for their tourist SIMs, though it is at a more expensive price of SGD30.
- If you need eSIMs, Singtel and M1 offer eSIM options, but only for select plans. (In case you don't know what eSIMs are, they are essentially digital SIMs.)
- If you need data roaming, all three operators have plans that support roaming. Check the country coverage for the different providers.
Where can I buy a local tourist SIM card in Singapore?
It is easy for you to buy a local tourist SIM card.
- Order online before your trip: All three providers allow you to order your tourist SIM online before your trip, and to collect it upon arrival at one of their collection points. You can check the websites of each provider to find out where the collection points are.
- Changi Recommends counter at the airport: If you will be picking up a SIM at the airport, head to the Changi Recommends counters at the arrival halls to get a SIM card.
- At retail stores in the city centre: You can head to any of the retail stores of the telcos in the city centre to get a tourist SIM.
- At convenience stores (7-eleven, Cheers: Head to your nearest convenience store to pick up a tourist SIM. Just note that not all outlets sell SIMs by all three providers, so if you have a preferred provider, it is recommended that you either get it at the airport or head to their retail stores.
What do I need to buy a tourist SIM card in Singapore?
To get a local tourist SIM in Singapore, you will need to provide your identity documents in the form of your passport. A copy of your passport will be required for the identity verification and activation of your SIM before you can use it.
Get Nomad's travel eSIM for Singapore instead
Instead of getting a local tourist SIM, you can choose to get a travel eSIM for Singapore from Nomad. Travel eSIMs are a great alternative to getting a local tourist SIM card. They provide much more convenience that a physical SIM card would.
Nomad Travel eSIM vs Getting a Local Tourist SIM: Convenience
Getting a local tourist SIM could be quite troublesome. Apart from having to pick up the physical local tourist SIM from the counters, you will have to submit your identity documents like your passport before the tourist SIM can be activated and used.
On the other hand, getting a Nomad travel eSIM would save you the hassle of all of that, and has some added benefits as well! Here are some advantages of a Nomad travel eSIM for Singapore over getting a local tourist SIM from Singapore:
- Short turnaround time from purchase to receiving the eSIM
- Purchase and install your eSIM before you fly, and you can hit the ground running once you land. Skip the lines at the counter to pick up and activate your tourist SIMs.
- Easy installation process without ever needing to remove your physical SIM (or even opening your SIM tray)
- Easy to manage and switch between your Nomad Singapore eSIM and primary line
- Activation of Nomad eSIMs do not require you to submit personal ID documents
- Ability to track your data usage via the Nomad app, and easy top-up options in just a few click on your device if you ever need more data.
It is important to note that a prerequisite of using a travel eSIM is that you need to have an eSIM-compatible device.
Nomad Travel eSIM vs Getting a Local Tourist SIM: Coverage
Nomad's travel eSIMs will connect you to Singtel's network, so you wouldn't have to worry about coverage issues when exploring Singapore! An added bonus - Nomad's unlimited plans provide 5G coverage, which is not offered by most local providers for their tourist plans!
Nomad Travel eSIM vs Getting a Local Tourist SIM: Price
If we were to compare the absolute price-per-GB, a local tourist SIM is definitely much cheaper than getting a Nomad eSIM for Singapore. 100GB of data at SGD12 (~USD9) is essentially approximately USD0.09 per GB.
However, for a fair comparison, we will compare the 100GB data plans with Nomad's unlimited plans - since it is very unlikely you will be able to use all that data when you are traveling.
Comparing the plans, if you will be visiting Singapore for a short trip of 5 days or less, you are actually going to get a better deal if you were to get a Nomad unlimited travel eSIM. Of course, if your trip is going to be longer than that, then perhaps getting a local tourist SIM might work out to be more cost-efficient.
Nomad Travel eSIM vs Getting a Local Tourist SIM: Added Benefits
Getting a local tourist SIM could come with added benefits like having a local number and local talk-time, but chances are that you aren't really going to need a local phone number in Singapore. Most local businesses here in Singapore already accept online reservations, and for those that don't, they are usually contactable on WhatsApp or other social media platforms. If you really need to make a local phone call, you can also get your hotel to help you make that call!
If you will be hopping over to Malaysia or exploring the region after your trip to Singapore, the added benefit of data roaming definitely appears to be useful. However, Nomad also has a variety of regional plans for APAC and regional plans for SEA-Oceania, all of which allow you to roam and stay connected in different countries with a single eSIM.
Get a Nomad Travel eSIM for your next trip to Singapore
Nomad provides a variety of eSIM data plans for Singapore with different data volumes at affordable rates from as low as USD0.98/GB. Nomad also has unlimited plans available, so you don't have to ever worry about running out of data during your trip in Singapore.
It's easy to get a Nomad eSIM. Simply create an account on the Nomad Web Store or iOS/Android apps, find a plan that is suitable for your needs, and proceed with the check out! Upon successful purchase, you will receive an email that includes the installation and activation instructions for your plan.
Note that since you will need a stable internet connection to purchase and install your eSIM, it is advised to buy your eSIM before you fly, so that you don't have to worry about not getting connectivity at the airport after landing.