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Keeping in Touch in Singapore

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Communications in Singapore
Expats will have no problem keeping in touch in Singapore. Landline and mobile phone networks, Internet and postal services are all of a high standard. English television channels and online news sites are also readily accessible. 
 
The three main providers of phone and Internet services in Singapore are StarHub, Singtel and M1; expats should compare the pricing of their available options before making a decision of which service provider to go with.
 

Landline telephones in Singapore

 
For the most part, Singapore's telecoms companies provide digital phones that use broadband lines rather than old-fashioned copper lines. Expats can apply online for a phone line, call service providers directly or visit one of their retail outlets.
 
The requirements to apply for a fixed phone line in Singapore may vary slightly from provider to provider, but expats will likely need:
  • A completed application form
  • Singapore Identity Card (IC) if a permanent resident, or Employment Pass and passport if not
  • Proof of residence, like a utility bill
  • A deposit  
 

Mobile phones in Singapore


Singapore has one of the world's highest rates of mobile phone ownership, and coverage is extremely good. Both prepaid and post-paid services are readily available. As with landlines, Singtel, StarHub and M1 are the main service providers.
 

Post-paid mobile plans

Most mobile phone plans include a free or discounted handset, but the phone's model will depend on the price plan, so customers need to check this before they buy. Moreover, plans come with one- or two-year contracts and there is usually a penalty for early contract termination.
 

Prepaid mobile plans

Getting a prepaid SIM card is easy, activation is instant and the call rates are reasonable.  
 
Prepaid SIM cards for any of the three service providers can be purchased at many locations with the presentation of a Singaporean IC or passport, like convenience stores, grocery stores and post offices. SIM cards can also be topped up at these locations or through ATMs and Internet banking. 
 

Internet in Singapore


Internet in Singapore is very fast, and wireless, ADSL and fibre-optic broadband options are available. WiFi is readily available at places around Singapore, as are internet cafés.

To set up an Internet subscription, expats will likely need to provide proof of identity, the appropriate pass and a copy of their tenancy agreement. Most packages come with a contract ranging between six and 24 months, and breaking it will result in penalties.
 

Censorship in Singapore


The Media Development Authority (MDA) regulates and ensures local print media, radio, television and Internet adheres to the law. A number of websites are blocked, and when this is the case visitors are usually greeted by an MDA message alerting them that the site is forbidden. Although the MDA does monitor foreign content, expats shouldn't have any problem accessing international news sites and social media.
 

Postal services in Singapore


Mail services in Singapore are provided by Singapore Post (SP), which is a subsidiary of Singtel. Local mail usually takes one to two days, and international mail depends on the destination. Additionally, there are a number of courier companies independent of SP that deliver both locally and internationally. Some of these also double up as delivery services for heavy shipments. 
 

English-language media in Singapore


There is plenty of English language media in Singapore, including print and broadcast. Mediacorp, a state-owned free-to-air network, offers a variety of channels in English and Malay. Paid services include StarHub and Singtel cable TV.

Cinemas and films

Cinemas show all the latest English movies, usually with Chinese subtitles. Some censorship laws apply.
 

Print media

English books are readily available at all big bookstores. There are also a number of English newspapers, including The Strait Times, The Business Times, The New Paper and Today. Additionally, many international newspapers and magazines are available from newsstands. 

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Our Singapore Expert

Jasjit Baveja's picture
Australia. Singapore
Originally working in the biotech field in Australia, with a PhD from the University of New South Wales, I've spent the... more

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