Should I Buy Prepaid SIM Card When I Travel Or Pay For Data Roaming?
Have you ever spent a fortune on data roaming while travelling? Use this guide to make a wiser choice next time you travel.
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Data Roaming or Prepaid SIM Card for Travel: Which One Should You Get?
Staying updated on social media and connected to the internet has already become part of our beings. The line between necessity and luxury has turned into a blur. This fact doesn’t change or even more so emphasized when travelling.
But, there is another truth that comes with this — a sad one. HUGE phone bills as a result of keeping data roaming turned on with overseas (or forgetting to turn it off).
Luckily, there are diverse and cheaper options to stay online while travelling for Singaporeans. Let’s consider a few popular ones.
Prepaid SIM Card From Overseas
Buying a local SIM card in the country we’re travelling to is an easy and sensible choice. Prepaid SIM cards now have allotted data allowance for a designated number of days and this is a good option when you are travelling for an extended period of time in a country.
You can research options prior to your flight. Or, you can ask counters at the airport for the best telcos with offers that suit the duration of your stay and the activities you planned.
Asian telcos, actually, have pretty affordable promos for travellers.
Prepaid SIM Cards
Sample Data Promo
|3G/HSPA in most towns|
$2 (50 Baht)
LTE in 80% of Thailand, 3G/HSPA in most cities and nearby towns
$6 (100,000 dong)
3G/HSPA in most towns
$6 (40,000 Kip) with call credit
3G/HSPA in most towns
$1.30 (1,500 kyat)
varies depending on location
$8 (80,000 IDR)
LTE and 3G/HSPA in most areas
$3.30 (10 MYR)
fast in most areas, 2G in remote locations
$0.77 (30 pesos)
LTE and 3G/HSPA in Metro Manila, fluctuating in other areas
5 Things to Keep in Mind When Purchasing Prepaid SIM Cards in Other Countries
Take note of the SIM card size your phone uses: nano or micro.
Remember where you place your Singaporean telco SIM card to avoid the hassle of having to deal with paperwork.
Most smartphones these days require a pin to unlock the SIM tray. Not all prepaid SIM packages include them (especially in Asia), so remember to carry when you travel.
Be prepared to wait in line at the airport as there will be other tourists who opt for local prepaid SIM cards as well. You can also purchase online but claiming your reservation at the airport stall may require queuing up, too.
WiFi Router from Changi Airport
Renting a WiFi router when travelling overseas is the best option for families and those travelling in groups. It can connect multiple devices, and you can split the bill for the rental and usage fees.
- Changi Airport’s WiFi router rental is priced at SGD 5 to SGD 12 daily.
You can check your bank and favourite merchants for partnerships with Changi Airport WiFi Router rental promo codes.
Data Roaming Packages From Singaporean Telcos
This option is the easiest to set up because avoids the hassle of having to set up a new SIM card
Data Roaming Package
Price & Plan
M1: Data Passport
StarHub: Happy Roam
Singtel: DataRoam Unlimited Daily
1. M1: Data Passport
M1 allows users to deduct from their local data plans when travelling with Data Passport. It is paid with an SGD 2 activation fee and a monthly fee:
SGD 10 for single destinations to countries like Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Hong Kong
SGD 25 for single destinations to countries Italy, Japan, South Korea, and China
SGD 50 for 29 countries in Europe
SGD 50 for 23 countries in Asia
2. StarHub: DataTravel
StarHub’s DataTravel Plan works in New Zealand, Australia, Philippines, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, China, Japan, and Macau:
SGD 15 for DataTravel 2GB, valid for 30 days
SGD 20 for DataTravel 3GB, valid for 30 days
SGD 19 to SGD 50 per day for DataTravel Unlimited plan, available for 120 countries
3. StarHub: Happy Roam
This is the option for those using other postpaid service providers. Happy Roam Data Plan is available in prepaid SIM cards priced at SGD 15, SGD 30, and SGD 50. It can be loaded depending on need:
SGD 5 for 1GB, valid for 3 days
SGD 7 for 1GB, valid for 7 days
SGD 10 for 1.2GB, valid for 30 days
SGD 15 for 2.4GB, valid for 30 days
SGD 20 for 3.6GB, valid for 30 days
4. Singtel: DataRoam Unlimited Daily
DataRoam from Singtel charges SGD 19 to SGD 29 daily for unlimited data roaming.
5. Singtel: ReadyRoam
A flat fee from SGD 12 to SGD 35 gets you 1GB of data roaming for 30 days in multiple countries with Singtel’s ReadyRoam plan. It may not be too much but it could be a good option for backpackers.
There you have them — your data plan options for your travel endeavours. Now, it’s your choice! There’s nothing stopping you from staying updated and connected when you’re overseas.
Do you buy local prepaid SIM cards when you travel? Or, do you prefer to pay for data roaming?
*Disclaimer: the rates presented are correct at the time of publication and can be subjected to changes without previous notice. Consult the partner’s websites for update rates. Originally published in January 2019.
Feature image credit: rawpixel | Pixabay.com