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These are postpaid plans that provide a preset quantity of data, talk time and SMS at a fixed monthly cost. The biggest benefit is you get mobile phone functionality and messaging without the hassle of being locked into a minimum contract period. This means you can cancel anytime (and even switch providers if you saw a better deal!) without incurring any penalties for breaking your contract early.
There are loads of options in Singapore and SIM-only plans have risen in popularity (probably due to the abundance of Wifi in coffeeshops and malls!). There are four main local telcos – SingTel, StarHub, M1, and TPG Mobile that all provide their own SIM-only plans.
There are also a variety of mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) who are also offering their own SIM-only plans, such as GOMO Mobile, giga , Circles.Life, Zero1, MyRepublic, redONE, ViviFi, and Grid Mobile. VivoBee is another MVNO, with the distinction that it caters specifically to Singapore’s migrant worker population.
With so many providers, competition is fierce and the main benefactors are us! Prices have tapered off and all the providers are under pressure to innovate and improve their services in order to remain competitive and appeal to new users.
|SIM-Only Mobile Plan||Best For|
|giga! SIM Only 45 GB Plan||Rollover of Unused Data|
|MyRepublic SIM Only Pro Plan||Unlimited Data (at slower speed)|
|VIVIFI 40 GB Share Plan||Family Plan|
|Grid 20 GB Sim Only Mobile Plan||Best Value|
|TPG 50 GB SIM Only Plan||Best Value|
Pay monthly – some of these plans come with certain requirements, e.g. 12-24 month contract terms, be 18 or over, and pass a credit check. After you sign up you will be expected to provide your credit card or direct debit details so that you may be billed. Many providers also offer open-term plans that have more flexibility.
Plans package a combination of minutes, SMS and data together and they often end up being more affordable than some similar prepaid plans. There might even be some perks included! The only downside is that being locked into a contract, limits your movements as you’ll likely be charged exit fees if you want to terminate the plan early.
Prepay – on this kind of plan you can expect to pay in advance of your usage by adding credit to your account. You can opt for casual minutes, text and data rates, or go for a more custom pack with specific allowances. Common timeframes for prepaid plans are between 28-30 days, but there are providers such as Skinny, that offer a weekly plan, and 2degrees, who offer a 14-day plan.
Prepaid plans are known for their flexibility as you can chop and change your pack based on what you think you might use in the upcoming timeframe. You also have the luxury of being able to jump between plans and switch providers whenever you like as there are no exit fees involved. It is slightly higher maintenance however as you need to keep tabs on your phone credit and keep topping up, however there are providers out there who can also give you an extra couple of dollars’ worth of wriggle room to tide you over to the next payment.
Choosing the right amount of data
If you don’t browse much 1GB may be completely fine for you, but many will find they need at least 5GB.
For those who have heavy browsing habits, an unlimited data plan may be the way to go -that way you won’t get data-anxiety over your usage! These unlimited plans, however, are often the most expensive and can cost $70+ a month. Also “unlimited” often comes with a Fair Use Policy and a deferral to average network speeds when you hit a specified data limit.
Once you hit the 40GB threshold, most providers will reduce your speed, and you don’t generally have an option to purchase more data at a higher speed either! You should also be aware that while you are on an unlimited data plan, you won’t be able to use hotspotting or tethering unless you buy a specific hotspot add-on (an additional $15 a month).
If you’re on a tight budget then you want to find the best value for money deal. The cheapest SIM-only packages in Singapore provide at least 5GB of data per month, but they are attached to a 12-month contract. However, the monthly cost is between $20-$28 which is very affordable for students or young working professionals.
There are many packages on the market that don’t require you to sign up to a contract. Costs are tied primarily to how much data you need. For a basic Singtel package you’re looking at 3GB of data and no talk time for about $20 a month. Another provider, Zero 1, offers an unlimited data package at $29.99, with the caveat that the 4G speed stops after your reach the initial 3GB data threshold.
This is one of the most important questions as the bulk of the cost in a plan comes down to how much data you use. Data-heavy SIM-only plans can range between $40-$50 a month and provide between 10-15GB of data. Depending on your data usage habits you might even want to opt for a plan that offer unlimited data on the weekends in addition to whatever you use on the weekdays. One thing to bear in mind however, is that a lot of these plans require long term contracts.
Many mobile data plans come equipped with a phone and you pay both the phone off as well as your SIM data plan each month. These types of plans vary a lot depending on the phone and SIM combo you pick, but it’s common for plans to provide data from 5GB for a 2-year contract, to 10GB for no contracts. Buying a phone alongside a SIM can often mean the phone is cheaper in the long run than buying it outright from another retailer.
It really depends on your surfing habits and how much data you use. To check what data plan suits you the best, have a look at your previous bills or use the data tracking app on your mobile to see what you are averaging each month. It’s also useful to consider how much talk time and messaging you use as well.
If you’re looking for the most inexpensive plan Circles.Life has a $0/month Flexi Plan that offers 1GB of data, 30min talk time, and 10 SMS. The only thing to be wary of is if you go beyond the data limit, you’ll need to top up your data plan (minimum $6 for an additional 1GB of data) and that can rack up fast if you’re doing a lot of browsing!
Not always, it really depends on what you’re looking for. SIM-only plans come with a high degree of flexibility as you aren’t locked into any minimum contract periods, but they often exclude handsets so you have to provide your own. Other providers such as StarHub, do have decent discounts for long term contracts (e.g. 12 and 24-months). It’s best to also do your research on the outright cost of a handset when choosing a plan because it could be just as affordable to sign up for a long term contract as buy a phone outright and get a SIM-only plan alongside.
A study in 2018 revealed that on average, Singapore residents tended to use about 2.7GB per month, however it really depends on your consumption habits. If you don’t have Wifi access and use your phone to stream music, play online games, video chat or watch Netflix, then your usage rates will obviously be much higher! The best gauge is to check your recent phone bills to see what your personal data usage is each month.
Unlimited data often comes with a catch – a common example is that your initial data use will be provided at the highest (4G) network speed, but after that you will be downloading at “managed network speeds.” This means your service will start off fast but once you hit a data threshold your network coverage and download speeds are likely to slow down and become patchy.