It’s easy to get online in ultra-modern Singapore, but sometimes you’ve just got to make a phone call. Once you see what your hotel is charging per minute, it might be smart to invest in a local SIM card for your own +65 phone number. All you need to get started is your passport and as little as $8.
The most convenient place to get a SIM card is probably 7-eleven, but they’re also sold at post offices, Cheers convenience stores, FairPrice supermarkets, Changi Airport and the customer service outlets of each telcom. True to its Big Brotherly nature, the Singapore government requires that all SIM cards are registered at the time of purchase—just present your passport to the clerk and they’ll take care of it.
4G Sim cards for Singapore can also be purchased online and picked up at Changi airport when you arrive—ideal for those who want to hit the ground running.
Once you’ve purchased a SIM card, simply slide it into any unlocked smartphone and it will automatically be activated—you’ll receive a text message to welcome you to the network. A small pamphlet included with the SIM card will have information about your rates, text messaging, international calling, and other features. Expect to pay $0.08—$0.16 per minute for local calls, $0.05 for a local text message, and $0.15 for international text messages.
After the SIM card is activated, the stored credit is valid for up to 6 months. When your credit runs out or the expiration date approaches, just return to 7-eleven or another participating outlet to buy a top-up card in amounts of $18 and up. You do not need your passport to buy a top-up card. Details about other top-up methods, including online top-up with a credit card, can be found on each mobile company’s website.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
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