The Expat’s Guide to Phone Plans in Singapore

Ryan Ong



I don’t understand why expats would need a phone plan. I mean, if they could travel 50,000 miles to work and live, they probably don’t need phone calls from Aunt Sue back home. “Uh, some people aren’t finance bloggers, so they have to maintain friends and work.” Really? Ever since I named my shadow Fred and moved into the sewer, I’ve found such things to be highly overrated. I guess those expats would need these phone plans then:

How Phone Plans Work in Singapore

Singapore telcos aren’t too different from American or European counterparts. The difference is that there’s only three options: Singtel, M1, and Starhub.

Most phone plans include a mobile phone, which is either free or heavily subsidised (depends on the model you want). The type of phone that can come with the plan varies every month, so you’ll have to check with the telco before buying.

Unless mentioned, all plans below come with a 24 month contract.

If you break the contract, the penalty is based on the number of months remaining. For example: Say you buy a plan that costs $59 a month. Assuming you break the contract with 10 months remaining, you’d have to pay around (10 x $59) = $590.

There might be other administrative fees.

For your convenience, we’ve divided the plans into:

  • Cheapest Overall Plan
  • Best Plan for People Who Talk Too Much
  • Best Mid-Range Plan
  • Best Plan for Heavy Data Usage


1. Cheapest Overall Plan


Loud hailer
Trust us, you’ll need the freebie that comes with this one.


Singtel’s iOne SuperValue is the cheapest phone plan possible. This is for anyone who prefers to sit in front of a laptop and use Skype:


Monthly Subscription

$15 per Month

Local Incoming Calls


Local Outgoing Calls

80 minutes per Month

Local SMS

50 SMS’s per Month


This plan does not come with data.

A word of caution: If you exceed the bundled minutes (the total talk time given), you’ll be charged 16 cents per extra minute. Likewise, you’ll pay 5 cents for each SMS beyond 50. If you consistently use more talk time or SMS’s, this plan stops being cheap.

The plan comes with a 24 month contract. So be sure you don’t make heavy use of your phone before signing up. Also, here is a decidedly disgusting tactic I’ll let you in on. One of my friends, Marcus, says that:

There is a trick to using this plan. Whenever you need to call someone, call them and wait till you hear the first ring. The second you do, immediately put down the phone.

The other party will receive a missed call and call you back. Since incoming calls are free, you won’t have to pay for it. And you only pay $15 a month for the plan.”


2. Best Plan for People Who Talk Too Much


Soft toy with zipper mouth
Subtle gifts: Not a strong suit in the MoneySmart office


M1 wins this hands down. Their Talk All U Can plan has unlimited free calls:


Monthly Subscription

$201.16 per Month

Local Incoming Calls


Local Outgoing Calls (Includes Video calls!)

Until They Beg You to Shut Up

Local SMS

500 SMS’s per Month


This plan comes with a variable-cost data bundle. The fee is $0.107 per 10 kb.

This plan comes with a $500 handset re-contract discount. If you ever buy another M1 plan, you get $500 off the price of the phone.


3. Best Mid-Range Plan


Man on phone in car
Don’t worry, the savings will cover intensive care if I crash.


Our choice for best value is StarHub’s iPhone SmartSurf Premium:


Monthly Subscription

$98 per Month

Local Incoming Calls


Local Outgoing Calls

700 minutes

Local SMS

1,000 SMS’s per Month

Data Bundle

6 GB


Once you sign up for this plan, you can buy a 32GB iPhone 5 for $83.

Note that StarHub’s SmartSurf Premium is the exact same plan, but without the iPhone 5. It’s just that, if you so choose, you can fork out an extra $83 to get an iPhone.


4. Best Plan for Heavy Data Usage


Kid being introduced to an iPhone
And this way, we’ll save on a babysitter and childcare as well!


M1’s MaxSurf+ is for people who do all their surfing on their phones:


Monthly Subscription

$198 per Month

Local Incoming Calls


Local Outgoing Calls


Local SMS

2,000 SMS’s per Month

Data Bundle

12 GB

This is the only plan with a 12 GB bundle that’s under $200.

Note that all information given is accurate as of December 2012.


Image Credits:
reticulatingjem, stev.ie, Beertographer, karschsp

Came across any good phone plans? Comment and let us know!

Keep updated with all the news!

Ryan Ong

I was a freelance writer for over a decade, and covered topics from music to super-contagious foot diseases. I took this job because I believe financial news should be accessible and fun to read. Also, because the assignments don't involve shouting teenagers and debilitating plagues.

Comments (1)

  1. Useful information in a nice enteratining way. Thank you.

Comments are closed.