Data Roaming Plans Singapore – Starhub DataTravel vs Singtel ReadyRoam vs M1 Data Passport

data travel roaming singapore

If you see a bunch of bewildered looking tourists searching for Wi-Fi hotspots while on holiday, there’s a high chance they’re Singaporean. Apparently, we’ve all become so used to staring at our smartphones on those grinding MRT rides and during boring meetings that we’re completely unable to disconnect even on holiday.

These days, every phone plan comes with some kind of data roaming package that lets you use a small bundle of data overseas, so you’re not confined to the Starbucks Wi-Fi and there’s no need to change your SIM card.

Data roaming plans from Singapore telcos — which is best?

Every telco has 3 to 10 different permutations of data roaming plans, so it’s impossible to compare them apple-to-apple. What I’ve done instead is to look at 3 common Singaporean holidays and quoted the relevant data roaming plan:

  • Short getaway to Thailand
  • Week-long trip to Japan
  • Multi-country trip in Europe
Data roaming plan Thailand Japan Europe
Starhub DataTravel $5 (1GB, 3 days) $5 (1GB, 3 days) $40 (2GB, 30 days)
Singtel ReadyRoam $5 (1GB, 7 days) $20 (2GB, 30 days) $40 (3GB, 30 days)
M1 Data Passport * $12 (1 month) $30 (1 month) $60 (1 month)
GigaRoam  $5 (1GB, 5 days) $5 (1GB, 5 days) $15 (1GB, 15 days)
Gomo Roaming Data Pump $10 (1GB, 10 days) $10 (1GB, 10 days)
Circles Life GoRoam $8 (1GB, 7 days) $8 (1GB, 7 days) $10 (1GB, 7 days)
MyRepublic Roam Like Home $18 (2GB, 30 days) $20 (1GB, 30 days) $35 (1GB, 30 days)
TPG Super Roam $4 (per 1GB, billed every 1oMB) $4 (per 1GB, billed every 1oMB) $4 (per 1GB, billed every 10MB)
Zero1 Roaming $18 (1GB, 30 days) $18 (1GB, 30 days) $42 (3GB, 30 days)

* M1 Data Passport is unique: Instead of giving you a separate overseas data quota, you just pay to use your local data bundle overseas.

I think the results are quite clear: Giga Roam has the cheapest data roaming plans on all 3 counts. If you are a hardcore traveller, then it’s well worth considering.

But, if you are a data guzzler even when on holiday, M1 Data Passport is better it simply lets you use your local data quota overseas with a one-time payment. Assuming you have one of their SIM-only plans, that’s enough data for you to stream Netflix on the Tokyo Metro.

Starhub DataTravel

Starhub DataTravel  Price Validity
Asia Pacific $5 for 1GB  3 days
Asia Pacific $15 for 2GB 30 days
Asia Pacific $20 for 3GB 30 days
Global $40 for 2GB 30 days
Global $50 for 3GB 30 days

Of the big 3 telcos’ data roaming plans, Starhub DataTravel data roaming options are among the simplest because there are only 2 destination tiers — either Asia Pacific, or … everywhere else.

Asia Pacific: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam

Global: Asia Pacific + Albania, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canda, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jersey, Jordan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, UK, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA

I like that Starhub charges a flat fee for everything in the Asia Pacific tier, compared to some other telcos who put more coveted destinations like Japan and Korea in a more expensive group.

Starhub Data Travel’s $5 for 1GB option is great if you’re just going to Bali for the weekend or JB for the day. Assuming 1GB is sufficient for your usage, this might actually be cheaper than buying a local SIM card when you land.

My main gripe is that the Global roaming plans are very expensive, so if you’re travelling outside the APAC countries you might want to look for alternatives.

Singtel ReadyRoam

Singtel ReadyRoam Price Validity
1 destination (Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand) $5 for 1GB  7 days
9 destinations (Southeast Asia) $12 for 1GB 30 days
18 destinations (Asia Pacific) $20 for 2GB 30 days
81 destinations (global) $40 for 3GB 30 days

Singtel customers should be pretty familiar with Singtel ReadyRoam, which, like Starhub DataTravel, is a selection of add-ons to your existing plan.

Like Starhub, they have a $5 for 1GB option, but it’s for Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand. If you’re going to any other nearby destination for the weekend, it’ll set you back at least $12. Take careful note of the countries included in the 9 and 18 destinations:

9 destinations: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines and Thailand

18 destinations:Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam

81 destinations:Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic (Slovakia), South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, UAE, UK, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan and Vietnam

For certain destinations, Singtel’s rates are higher than Starhub’s. For example, if you’re going to Japan, you’ll top up $20 for 2GB with Singtel, whereas Starhub costs $15 for the same data.

It’s also kinda restrictive that Singtel’s $20 18 destination plan is only 2GB, whereas Starhub offers 3GB for the same price, for most of the same countries. Unless you want to pay for more data, you need to watch your usage a bit more closely.

If you’re travelling to far-flung places, Singtel has probably the best global roaming bundle. This used to cost $35 for 3GB, but it’s now revised to $40 (just in time for the holidays now that we can finally travel again!).

That said, it does cover practically every country in the world: There are a whopping 81 destinations! If you’re globe-trotting to faraway destinations like Argentina and Island, Singtel’s data roaming offers the most value.

M1 Data Passport

M1 Data Passport Price (includes $5 activation fee) Validity
$12 Data Passport $12 per country  1 month
$30 Data Passport $30 per country  1 month
$30 ASEAN Data Passport $30 for 9 ASEAN countries 1 month
$60 Asia Data Passport $55 for 25 Asian countries 1 month
$60 Europe Data Passport $55 for 43 European countries 1 month

If you use a lot of data even while on holiday, M1 Data Passport is probably the best value of the 3 big telcos since it allows you to use your existing data bundle overseas — so you don’t get restricted by the measly 1GB or 2GB with the other plans. Note that for SIM-only plans, usage is capped at 10GB, which is still very generous.When you do exceed this 10GB, you will be subsequently charged $11.99/GB on top of your data passport plan charges. 

$12 Data Passport countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Isle of Man, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand

$30 Data Passport countries: Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Mongolia, Mauritius, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom, USA, United Arab Emirates

A $5 one-time activation fee applies for every Data Passport, and it’s valid for a month. Note that they are for single country use only; if you are going to multiple destinations, you have to opt for one of the expensive ASEAN / Asia / Europe Data Passports.)

M1 also has this thing called Unlimited Data Roaming where you pay $15 to $25 per day for unlimited data overseas, but I’m not going to talk about that because it’s too crazy.

Starhub’s GigaRoam

Starhub gigaRoam Price Validity
gigaRoam APAC $5 for 1GB 5 days
gigaRoam ROTW $15 for 1GB 15 days

Starhub’s Giga clearly has the best data roaming plan for all kinds of travel. There are 2 types of plans to choose from: gigaRoam APAC (Asia Pacific) and gigaRoam ROTW (Rest of the World).

They cost $5 and $15 respectively for 1GB of data. It’s not a lot, but if you just need a teensy bit of data in case of emergencies, these prices are unbeatable. You can add on more if you run out.

gigaRoam APAC: Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam

gigaRoam ROTW: Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and United States of America

Singtel’s GOMO Roaming Data Pump

Compared to Starhub’s gigaRoam, Singtel’s rival GOMO Roaming Data Pump is quite chui in comparison.

GOMO’s data-only roaming plans cover up to 50 destinations including Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

The plans vary from country to country. For example, $10 for 10GB in Indonesia, $10 for 7GB in Philippines, and $14 for 100GB. Singtel has revamped its GOMO Roaming Data Pump to now include 5o countries compared to 10 in the past.

Comparing GOMO and Giga, GOMO’s roaming pass lasts longer than Giga’s 5 days depending on the plan you’re signing up for. 

Circles Life Roam Boost

For Circles Life base plan subscribers, activating data roaming overseas is a simple matter of choosing a “Roam Boost” in your usual app.

Each boost is 1GB and you can add boosts if you run out of data. The price of each boost is either $8 or $10, depending on which set of countries your destination falls under.

Circles Life Countries Price
GoRoam APAC Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam $8 for 1GB / 7 days
GoRoam EU/USA Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, USA and UK $10 for 1GB / 7 days

The list of countries covered is shorter than what’s offered by other telecos, with no coverage available for common destinations like Japan.

MyRepublic Roam Like Home

MyRepublic has a whopping 7 tiers, so the cost of roaming can vary drastically depending on which country you’re going to. Here they are, listed in order of price.

MyRepublic Roam Like Home Countries Price
Neighbours Malaysia, Indonesia $6 for 1GB 
Emerging Asia India, Myanmar, Vietnam $15 for 500MB
Pacific Australia, New Zealand $15 for 1GB
Essential Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong $18 for 2GB
Popular Asia China, Macau, South Korea, Japan $20 for 1GB
Canada & USA Canada, USA $35 for 1GB
Europe Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK $35 for 1GB 

Prices are not exactly competitive for some of the countries. For example, it’s probably a lot more worthwhile to buy a SIM card when you land in “Emerging Asia” than to pay $15 for a measly 500MB of data.

For places like Japan or China, $20 for 1GB is also exorbitant considering you can get 3 times the data for the same price with Starhub’s Data Travel.

TPG Super Roam

TPG is the newest telco on the block but that’s no reason for you to dismiss it. TPG offers attractive pay-as-you-go rates. TPG Super Roam offers 4 different plans.

TPG Super Roam Countries Price
Group A Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guyana, French West Indies, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Laos, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Reunion (La) & Mayotte, Romanian, Saint Pierre & Miquelon, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam $4 for 1GB / charged per 10MB
Group B Canada, China $6 for 1GB / charged per 10MB
Group C Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine $15 for 1GB / charged per 10MB
Group D Armenia, Bahrain, Benin, Botswana, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea – Bissau, Honduras, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Peru, Republic of the Congo, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Senega, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uruguay $30 for 1GB / charged per 10MB

On top of that, if you’re already on TPG’s mobile plan, you get free roaming data that covers 57 destinations. The downside to TPG’s plans are the fact that it is billed per 10MB. That is to say, if you used 11MB of data on your travel, you will be billed twice as much for the additional 1MB.

Zero1 Data Roaming

Zero1 Data Roam offers 2 categories of plans. Comparing prices across the board, Zero1 Data might not be the most price competitive. Its redeeming quality however is that it offers roaming in an extensive list of countries and a generous limit of 30 days for you to use up your data.

Zero1 Data Roam Countries Price
Roam AP Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam $18 for 1GB / 30 days
Roam World Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic (Slovakia), South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, UAE, UK, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan and Vietnam $42 for 3GB / 30 days

Or… you could get a prepaid SIM card

If it’s not economical for you to add a data roaming plan onto your current plan, you may want to consider getting a prepaid travel SIM card instead. 

Destination-specific ones are widely available on sites like Klook, Changi Recommends and even Qoo10, and they can be REALLY, REALLY cheap, depending on which country you’re going to.

For example, an 8-day unlimited data SIM card for Thailand costs only about $5, where one for Taiwan or Hong Kong costs about $10 to $15, also for unlimited data. (This is a good way to check if your data roaming plan is worth paying for.)

For multi-destination trips, there are also prepaid travel SIM cards which can save you the hassle and cost of getting a separate SIM for each leg. Here’s a snapshot of some options on the market.

Prepaid Travel SIM  No. of countries Price
Thin Margin Travel SIM 17 $22 for unlimited data / 8 days
M1 M Card 12 $15 for 2GB / 10 days
M1 M Card 17 $28 for 2GB / 10 days

If you really want to break things down, getting a data roaming add-on for your regular postpaid data plan may not really be that worth it. 

For example, you might have to pay $15 for 1GB of roaming data with your telco — whereas you can get 2GB for the same price with a prepaid SIM. But I think most Singaporeans don’t mind paying a premium for the convenience of not having to pick up and change your SIM card.

Do you use data roaming when you travel? Tell us why or why not in the comments!