Getting Online in Singapore
Back to Your Digital Life - In a Hurry
Getting online in Singapore is a breeze.
The Singapore government wants the country to compete strongly in the battle for bandwidth and is pushing stable-high speed connectivity for both companies and folks like us.
There are three major providers for getting online in Singapore.
First off, the local incumbent and 800-pound gorilla on the telco scene is
where you can get everything you require including telephone service, internet connectivity, mobile plans, prepaid cards and TV service via cable.
The same goes for the second largest provider in Singapore, Starhub.
Getting online in Singapore with StarHub
is simple enough as well: they have an almost identical set of services as SingTel, packaged differently but with prices more or less the same.
Both of the providers offer special expat packages that set you up with a full services out of one hand.
The third provider in Singapore for getting online is
which offers telephone, internet, mobile and prepaid cards, but don't have any TV services in their portfolio.
Television by Cable
SingTel and StarHub have TV service in their packages via cable.
This service is subscription-based - choose the channels you like - kids, news, sports, etc. - or any combination thereof and you can be sitting in front of the tube within a few days at the most.
SingTel's MioTV is a customized pay TV service that lets you watch your programs as you want - and has become popular around the island.
Starhub also offers on-demand services and a number of pre-packaged bundles for traditional TV watching
In addition to the pay services, there are five free channels to choose from in Singapore, catering to news and the various ethnic groups and languages, so you'll find a Chinese language channel, a Tamil channel and a Malay channel along with a news channel.
Fun to watch - a whole different TV world opens up outside of the American dominated formats most of us are used to.
Getting online in Singapore via broadband is attractive, but a little misleading.
Although both carriers offer up to 200 Mbps speed (that's fast), that speed is guaranteed only within Singapore.
That means, of course, that once you leave the island for a US or China website, those speeds go way down, simply because the signal has to go through so many stops along the path to Europe, the Americas or the rest of Asia.
There is now another government push to go even faster with fibre to the house - now that is really fast internet.
But again, if that signal has to go from the Singapore super-duper highway to a two-lane road with stops in Indonesia, the Philippines, and on its way to Virgina, things can slow down considerably.
Nevertheless, my speeds at home are respectable, and prices are reasonable.
Getting Online with Mobile Services
What goes for getting online in Singapore via internet, goes for mobile services.
All three providers offer a number of different service packages for anything from an iPhone to Blackberry and just plain old mobile telephony, so simply shop around.
All three companies offer sales and promotions almost continuously.
If you can arrange it, there are good discount schedules via corporate accounts - up to 20% - available.
In addition, if you bundle all your services with one provider, you can accumulate points that can be used to buy a month's worth of subscription for a phone, or other deals.
So signing up for those rewards packages really can be worth your time.
In our personal bundle, I redeem a month's worth of subscription fees every two months or so, so that in the end, I only pay about 7 0r 8 months out of 12.
Calls inside Singapore are often cheap, and with digital voice at home even free.
It is a whole different story for overseas calls, called IDD calls.
Those can get really expensive - $6 a minute is not uncommon.
You can sign up for very cheap overseas calls with IDD providers.
Their quality is generally ok, and their prices are unbeatable - landline to landline Singapore to Europe, 1 hour call: $2.
All you need to do is use a prefix like 1521 or 1516 and then add the country code with the number.
Can't beat that!
The two providers I use are
Both companies are reputable and my bills are transparent and honest.
So there you go - getting online in Singapore is fairly painless.
One less worry when you come.