Mobile Telephones in Singapore

guide for travellers using mobile telephones in Singapore

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When you travel, especially if you are travelling on business you need to stay connected. Of course, the hotel you are staying at is a main contact point but that does not help when you are running from one meeting to another.

 When using your mobile telephone abroad you really have two choices - one is to use your existing SIM card, if your service provider has a roaming service and you have roaming enabled. The other option is to purchase a local pay as you go SIM card which will give you a local number and you will pay local rates.

 The major disadvantage to roaming is the high costs of calling people and of course for people to call you. Let's say for example that you are in Singapore on business but your appointment at 11am wants to change the time of the meeting he would have to call your number internationally, so if you are from the UK, he would have to call the UK and pay for that call and you would have to pay for the part of the call from the UK to Singapore. A very expensive mess!

This is why the easiest and cheapest option is to buy a local pay as you go SIM card. In doing so if the above mentioned appointment wants to change the time of the meeting all he has to do is call a local Singapore number and you pay nothing. Plus any outgoing calls you make are at good local prices so you are not being ripped off from that angle either.

Setting up a pay as you go SIM card service for your mobile telephone in Singapore could not be easier, and takes only minutes to set up. All you need is your mobile telephone, your passport and money to buy the card with.

There are numerous Service Providers in Singapore offering such pay as you go SIM cards, all offer roughly the same service but prices between carriers for the cost of calls etc does change so it will be up to you to decide which service you feel most comfortable with.

 With most services, such as from Singtel and M1, the number you get with the SIM card is valid for six months. This is important, as it means that the next time you visit Singapore (if it is within that period) the number will still be the same and you can pass it to contacts with confidence that it will not change. All you will need to do is add money to the card at least once in the six months and from the date you add money your SIM card and number etc will have a life of six months. So if you add money to the card in the fifth month then it will be valid for another six.

 Singapore has gone one step further than other countries with the pay as you go service, in that you can even top up, or add money to the card from overseas, to do this we advise you to purchase a top up card when you purchase your SIM card. Make sure though that you carefully check the validity of the top up card, as you need to make sure it has the longest possible validity dates. Such a feature gives you the flexibility of not losing the number if you have not been to Singapore for a while.

 Other services which you can benefit from when using a pay as you go SIM card for your mobile telephone in Singapore include: Voice Mail, Roaming, SMS, WAP access, International as well of course domestic dialing, Caller ID, Call transfer, Call Waiting, Call Barring, and Free Emergency Numbers.

 So how much does this all cost? The top up value cards are available from around Sin$15 up, and can be purchased from numerous locations around Singapore. When we looked at Singtel and M1's offerings of this service we decided to go for Singtel purely because the customer service was (at that time) much better there. Singtel actually offered higher rates per call at Sin$ 0.28 per minute and Sin$ 0.14 between 9 pm to 9am, compared to M1's more reasonable Sin$ 0.291 for the first minute, Sin$ 0.19 for the second and Sin$ 0.10 for each subsequent minute. Local SMS at Singtel at the time cost Sin$ 0.10 and Sin$ 0.20 for a global SMS. M1 costs Sin$ 0.104 per SMS.

 Of course mobile telephone service providers are in a highly competitive market place and so these ratesm as well as the services (like 3G/4G etc) will change. The companies do offer alternatives if you SMS more than you chat and vice versa with different rates depending on the style you prefer.

 If you are wondering why you need your passport to get such a card then the reason is very simple and a very important service to have. The ID or passport number will be used if your phone is ever stolen, lost or if the SIM card breaks down. If any of those things happen you will be able to transfer your existing number to a new SIM card, and the old SIM card will be disconnected.

 We hope you find this review of using mobile telephones in Singapore useful. We also have articles on Using Mobile Telephones in Hong Kong and Using Mobile Telephones in Bangkok. See also Free Long Distance Calls when Travelling.

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