Be aware that newly bought Airalo Discover Global eSIMs cannot be used in Singapore. Airalo has partnered with eSIM Go (Drei Austria), which significantly improved its global eSIM (now called Discover(+) instead of Discover Global. 130+ countries are supported (instead of 85+), you get 5G NR access in 50+ countries & you get a phone number allowing you to make calls and send SMS anywhere in the world. Better yet, the prices did not increase. This change was introduced in August 2023 after I tried the old Discover Global eSIM in Singapore. As the review is based on what I experienced, it will refer to Discover Global, even though Discover(+) is better.
Singapore was the first Asian destination I visited solo (in 2016).
I went to the Philippines a year earlier, but that was a work trip (way before Phone Travel Wiz was a thing… but I was already into researching the best local SIM cards best then!).
And… I was in awe – I truly loved Singapore!
I felt the positive feelings I had when I entered the United States again.
While Singapore is not representative of what Southeast Asia stands/is known for, it ignited my love for East- and Southeast Asia (which is still strong to this day).
Since then, I have been to Singapore four times – I still love it, but it is not special anymore.
Mostly because it is a small city-state, and I have seen and done the must-see/do attractions already 🤣.
In January and March 2023, I revisited Singapore.
I mostly spent time testing 17 (new) SIM cards and eSIMs.
This resulted in me spending about 237 SGD (≈ 175.80 USD) for my Singapore SIM card and travel eSIM review series – yeah… I went all out for you 😎.
In the past, I used to say that Singapore has the best tourist/airport SIM cards in the world.
Mostly because you could get 100 GB of data for as little as 12 SGD (8.90 USD).
Then I went to Taiwan, where the mobile operators offer truly unlimited data… which outdoes 100 GB 🤣.
Unlike most mobile operators, Taiwan's definition of unlimited is genuine. I used 100 GB – 200 GB of data on some SIM cards, and my speeds were never throttled. Amazing!
But when you can get so much data for such little money, is it even worth using a travel eSIM like Airalo?
It can be because you do not have to deal with SIM card registration requirements (which are stringent).
One limitation to be aware of is that you can only have three active prepaid SIM cards in your name in Singapore.
For most… this is not an issue. But for some crazy people who wish to test four SIM cards… it could be 😏.
So, is the Airalo Discover Global eSIM a good option (when it can be used in Singapore again)? Is it cheap compared to the local options and its travel eSIM competitors? How is its reception? And is it fast?
I will answer all those questions in this review. Let's do this.
Original publication: 10th of June 2023. Last updated: 19th of September 2023.
Table of Contents
Which Phones are Compatible with Airalo eSIMs?
Before discussing the Airalo Discover Global eSIM to be used in Singapore specifically, you must know whether your phone can even support Airalo's eSIMs.
Sure, your phone may support eSIM, but the local mobile operator and travel eSIM provider, like Airalo, first needs to certify a phone before the users can use their products.
As of August 2023, the phones shown in the infographic below are compatible with Airalo eSIMs:
With that out of the way, let's talk more about the Airalo Discover Global eSIM!
How Much Does the Airalo Discover Global eSIM Cost?
You can get the Discover Global eSIM for as little as 9 USD for 1 GB of data (7 days) and up to 89 USD for 20 GB (180 days). The eSIM can be used in Singapore 1 and 84+ other nations with five options: 1 GB/7 days, 3 GB/15 days, 5 GB/30 days, 10 GB/60 days & 20 GB/180 days).
1 currently, newly bought Discover Global eSIMs cannot be used in Singapore. Airalo is working on re-including Singapore in its Discover Global offering. However, as I purchased my Discover Global eSIM (and the Singapore Connect Lah! eSIM and Asialink eSIM, for that matter) before Singapore was temporarily removed, I can still use it there – but you cannot until Airalo adds it back.
Below is an overview of how much each Airalo Discover Global eSIM costs:
- Discover 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 9 USD
- Discover+ 1 GB (with 10 minutes and 10 SMS) eSIM for 7 days, costing 15 USD
- Discover 2 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 17 USD
- Discover+ 2 GB (with 20 minutes and 20 SMS) eSIM for 15 days, costing 27 USD
- Discover 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 24 USD
- Discover+ 3 GB (with 30 minutes and 30 SMS) eSIM for 30 days, costing 36 USD
- Discover 5 GB eSIM for 60 days, costing 35 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Discover+ 5 GB (with 50 minutes and 50 SMS) eSIM for 60 days, costing 50 USD
- Discover 10 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 59 USD
- Discover+ 10 GB (with 100 minutes and 100 SMS) eSIM for 180 days, costing 79 USD
- Discover 20 GB eSIM for 365 days, costing 69 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Discover+ 20 GB (with 200 minutes and 200 SMS) eSIM for 365 days, costing 89 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in September based on data up to the 7th of September (2023 data only).
Regardless of the currency used in your country, Airalo will always charge you in USD (US Dollar).
If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Wise Borderless Account and Debit Card.
Their fees are MUCH lower than banks and credit card companies charge you (and Wise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks).
I have saved literal THOUSANDS of Australian Dollars and Euros, my main currencies, when using Wise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards.
Moreover, regardless of which Airalo Discover Global eSIM you choose, you can always top it up for the same amount of data and prices as listed above.
For example, suppose you buy the 5 GB Airalo Discover Global eSIM (30 days, costing 35 USD) but realize you need more data.
You can top it up with the 3 GB top-up (15 days, costing 24 USD) or the 10 GB top-up (30 days, costing 59 USD).
Many eSIM providers out there do not allow you to top up or extend the validity of your eSIM, so it is cool that Airalo allows you to do so.
In Which Countries Can the Airalo Discover Global eSIM Be Used?
The Airalo Discover Global eSIM can be used in Singapore 1 and 84+ other countries in all continents (so Africa, all of the Americas, Asia, Europe & Oceania).
Below is a complete overview of countries the Airalo Discover Global eSIM works in:
- Argentina 1
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Cyprus 1
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic 1
- Ecuador 1
- Georgia 1
- Hong Kong
- Iraq 1
- Israel 1
- Jersey 1
- Kuwait 1
- Liechtenstein 1
- Macau 1
- Malaysia 1
- Moldova 1
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- Panama 1
- Paraguay 1
- Peru 1
- Puerto Rico
- Saudi Arabia
- Singapore 2
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka 3
- Sudan 1
- Tajikistan 1
- Ukraine (new)
- United Kingdom
- United States
- U.S. Virgin Islands
1 on 3G only
2 currently, newly bought Discover Global eSIMs cannot be used in Singapore. Airalo is working on re-including Singapore in its Discover Global offering
3 select the Dialog Sri Lanka network for 4G/LTE access. If you choose/leave it on Hutch Sri Lanka instead, you will be restricted to 3G
In most cases, getting a regional eSIM (like the Airalo Asialink eSIM for Asia or the Airalo Eurolink eSIM for Europe) is more affordable than getting the Airalo Discover Global eSIM if you plan on visiting two or more countries in the same region.
My Airalo Discover Global eSIM in Singapore Experience
I used my Airalo Discover Global eSIM throughout Singapore.
As Singapore does not really have cities (in the sense of the Government of Singapore not using them for administrative purposes and only as geographical limits), I could not visit multiple ones as I tend to do.
Before we continue, I do want to let you know how travel eSIM providers like Airalo work.
It is impossible for Airalo, or any other mobile operator, to operate in every country (and do not trust any company saying otherwise), so they set up roaming agreements.
What Airalo does, and basically all (actual) mobile operators do, is partner up with a local mobile operator so that their customers can still stay connected when abroad.
In the case of Singapore, the Airalo Discover Global eSIM uses the StarHub network with the help of FL1 from Liechtenstein (formerly Mobilkom Liechtenstein – so your phone, some apps, or sites you visit may claim you are using a FL1/Mobilkom Liech(ten)stein eSIM instead of an Airalo one – that is correct).
Note: in some countries, Airalo uses multiple local networks (which often applies to regional, like the Airalo Asialink eSIM).
Anyway, just like how I tested the Airalo Discover Global eSIM on my Singapore trip, I also tried all the local Singaporean SIM cards excluding the MVNOs (Singtel, StarHub, M1 Singapore & SIMBA Singapore (formerly TPG Telecom)) and various other eSIMs (Airalo (Airalo Connect Lah! and Asialink (in Singapore and various other Asian countries)), Alosim, eSIM2FLY sold by SimOptions, Holafly, Mogo, Nomad, Nomad APAC (in Singapore and various other Asian countries), Nomad SEA-Oceania (in Singapore and various other Asian countries), Simify & Ubigi + the 3 (UK) Travel SIM Card by Holidaysimcard in Singapore Review (also used in Australia and Hong Kong)).
Yeah, I went all out 😏.
Because of this, I could also assess how StarHub performed compared to its competitors.
When looking at 4G/LTE availability in Singapore, the four mobile operators cover practically all of the country (mostly because it is a small city-state), with an availability of more than 99.2%.
4G/LTE reception is so good in Singapore that I thought 3G did not exist anymore (until the Airalo Discover Global and Alosim eSIMs were stuck at 3G a few times 😩).
Surprisingly, Singtel is lacking in terms of 5G NR availability with an availability percentage of 29.1%, behind M1 Singapore (29.4%) and StarHub (32.2%).
In terms of speed, Singtel has the fastest download speed, with a median download speed of 119.66 Mbps, ahead of StarHub (85.88 Mbps), M1 Singapore (51.69 Mbps) & SIMBA Singapore (formerly TPG Telecom – 23.37 Mbps).
The same can be said about upload speeds, where Singtel is leading the pack (20.91 Mbps), followed by StarHub (16.34 Mbps), M1 Singapore (15.41 Mbps) & Simba Singapore (3.57 Mbps).
I did speed tests with the Speedtest app throughout Singapore.
For reference, I consider an average download speed of 25 Mbps and an average of 10 Mbps upload speed fast enough.
Preferably, download speeds should be 100 Mbps+ on 4G/LTE… but we are not there yet 🗿.
But why these averages?
A download speed of more than 25 Mbps is enough to video stream content @ 4k resolution.
Social media sites that allow for live streaming, like Facebook Live, recommend an upload speed of at least 10 Mbps.
So, that is why – but that does not mean that a download speed of less than 100 Mbps excited me 😏.
But Australia spoiled… everything slower than 300 Mbps is slow now 🤣.
Anyway, you will also see that some of the results are in two shades of red, green, underlined, or in italics.
Underlined results are on 5G NR, while results in italics are on 3G.
The green shows that the result was the fastest on the network at said location.
For example, the Airalo Discover Global eSIM being the fastest among its competition at a mall.
While red shows that the result was the slowest on the network among its peers at the location.
Okay, that is enough background information – let's compare the Airalo Discover Global eSIM to StarHub and other travel eSIMs in Singapore.
Airalo Discover Global eSIM in Singapore Speed Test Results
But I never found Singapore as crowded as Hong Kong for some reason (you struggle to walk on the pavement because there are so many people around – you will be pushed a few times (unintentionally) 😵💫).
Besides having the world's best airport, in my opinion, Singapore has a lot to offer.
Fantastic food, unique attractions (Cloud Forest, Gardens by the Bay & Supertree Grove) & even Universal Studios for those who are into that.
And there are many other things to do in the country.
But this is not a travel blog… I review SIM cards and eSIMs instead – you will have to find another blog for travel recommendations 😜.
Let's see how the Airalo Discover Global eSIM performed throughout the country:
Fast speeds with the Airalo Discover Global eSIM!
But I would like you to take a look at these results from the from the Airalo Connect Lah! and Airalo Asialink eSIMs too.
How come the Asialink eSIM was about twice as fast, and the Connect Lah eSIM significantly faster than the Discover Global eSIM?
Those two eSIMs are directly powered by Singtel itself.
Airalo buys data from Singtel (and other mobile operators in other regions), which can be used in various East- and Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore.
Meaning Airalo's eSIMs are practically rebranded Singtel eSIMs.
So they act and are treated as native eSIMs on the Singtel network (as if you were a Singtel prepaid or postpaid customer).
Whereas the Airalo Discover Global eSIM is powered by FL1 Liechtenstein.
Meaning the eSIM roams on the StarHub network and is not a rebranded Singaporean eSIM.
Back to the Airalo results, I had an average download speed of 59.63 Mbps and a median download speed of 23.35 Mbps with the Airalo Discover Global eSIM: it passed the 4K video streaming test in Singapore (minimum of 25 Mbps).
The same cannot be said for the HD live streaming test in Singapore – the Airalo Discover Global eSIM had an average upload speed of 8.13 and a median upload speed of 3.45 Mbps, making it fail the HD live streaming test (minimum of 10 Mbps).
At the time of writing, the Airalo Discover Global eSIM has not performed as well as in Singapore 🤩.
In fact, the eSIM often disappoints me in terms of its performance, lol 😓.
The result at Gate E22 (Terminal 1) at Singapore Changi Airport was impressive, with a download speed of 251.08 Mbps.
Or the one at Gardens by the Bay Station was incredible too (236.88 Mbps).
Three other locations had results faster than 100 Mbps (Cross Street Exchange (135.86 Mbps), Fort Canning Park (114.12 Mbps) & McDonald's Chinatown Point (151.29 Mbps).
But… it was not all sunshine with the eSIM.
For some reason, it was often stuck on 3G.
Honestly, I thought 3G did not exist in Singapore anymore, lmao.
Remember when I said results in italics were on 3G?
Well, the tests at Bef Outram Flyover Bus Stop, Bugis Junction & Wisma Atria were on 3G (4.34 Mbps, 9.23 Mbps & 8.22 Mbps, respectively.
Officially, the eSIM was stuck on 3G more often than just at these four locations.
This was often fixed by turning on airplane mode and turning it off again.
Sometimes, this fix would work quickly. Other times, it would take ages.
But at a handful of times, it would not work at all.
Unfortunately, this is an Airalo Discover Global eSIM issue, as I have experienced this in various other countries too.
But… the eSIM works in 84+ countries, so I cannot complain too much… (but I still will 'cause I am all about speed 🐆).
When looking at upload speeds, they were not impressive at all, with an average of 8.13 Mbps.
StarHub itself has an average of 34.36 Mbps.
The eSIM with the second-slowest average was Mogo (12.19 Mbps – which is not too bad).
So yeah… slow 🦥.
My Overall Experience with the Airalo Discover Global eSIM in Singapore – Is It Any Good?
Other Singaporean eSIM Reviews (Airalo, aloSIM, eSIM2FLY (SimOptions), Nomad, Simify & Ubigi)
As mentioned earlier, I also tried out (other) eSIMs from Airalo (Connect Lah! and Asialink), Alosim, eSIM2FLY (SimOptions), Holafly, Mogo, Nomad (Singapore, APAC & SEA-Oceania), Simify & Ubigi.
You should read those reviews too.
>>> Airalo Connect Lah! eSIM in Singapore Review | Airalo Asialink eSIM in Singapore Review | Alosim eSIM in Singapore Review | eSIM2FLY (SimOptions) in Singapore Review | Holafly eSIM in Singapore eSIM Review | Mogo eSIM in Singapore Review | Nomad APAC eSIM in Singapore Review | Nomad SEA-Oceania eSIM in Singapore Review | Simify eSIM in Singapore eSIM Review | Ubigi eSIM in Singapore Review <<<
- Check out my eSIM reviews page if you want to read all the other eSIM reviews I have written, including other eSIM providers in Asia.
I also tried out various local Singaporean cards: Singtel, StarHub, M1 Singapore & Simba Singapore (formerly TPG Telecom) + 3 UK Travel SIM Card (from Holidaysimcard).
If your phone does not support eSIM (but felt like reading this Nomad review in full anyway – awesome) or want to have the best network experience possible, you want to go directly with the local mobile operators instead of roaming on their networks (as you do with travel eSIMs).
So I encourage you to read the Singaporean SIM card reviews too.
Check out my reviews page if you want to read all the other reviews I have written, including other Asian SIM cards.
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