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 Holafly?
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 Holafly Singapore eSIM a good option? 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: 7th of June 2023. Last updated: 15th of January 2024.
Table of Contents
Which Phones are Compatible with Holafly eSIMs?
Before discussing the Holafly eSIM to be used in Singapore specifically, you must know whether your phone can even support Holafly's eSIMs.
Sure, your phone may support eSIM, but the local mobile operator and travel eSIM provider, like Holafly, 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 Holafly eSIMs:
With that out of the way, let's talk more about the Holafly Singapore eSIM!
How Much Does the Holafly Singapore eSIM Cost?
You can get the Holafly eSIM to be used in Singapore for as little as 19 USD (unlimited for five days) and up to 99 USD (unlimited for 90 days).
Wait… unlimited data!?
Yes, Holafly has been offering unlimited data plans since June 2022.
And Singapore is one of the 45 countries (at the time of writing) where unlimited data plans are offered.
While unlimited often means “unlimited”, Holafly told me that its plans were truly limitless when it introduced its new plans.
A few weeks later, though, this paragraph was added to its “Can my connection speed be reduced?” FAQ:
[…] if the mobile operator estimates the usage of more than 90 GB of data in a month, it may temporarily reduce the speed to 256 Kbps – 1 Mbps to avoid affecting other users. This limitation is intended to prevent network saturation and will be removed within 24 hours.
One of Holafly's competitors (an eSIM reseller – not me, lol) tried to hit a daily fair-use limit, realizing that speeds get throttled after using more than 2.5 GB to 3 GB daily.
Do with this information as you wish 😏.
Below is an overview of how much each Holafly Singapore eSIM costs:
- Singapore unlimited data eSIM for 5 days, costing 19 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Singapore unlimited data eSIM for 10 days, costing 34 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Singapore unlimited data eSIM for 15 days, costing 47 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Singapore unlimited data eSIM for 20 days, costing 54 USD
- Singapore unlimited data eSIM for 30 days, costing 64 USD
- Singapore unlimited data eSIM for 60 days, costing 84 USD
- Singapore unlimited data eSIM for 90 days, costing 99 USD
Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in September based on data up to the 7th of September (2023 data only).
Also, be aware that tethering (mobile hotspot) is impossible with Holafly's unlimited data plans, including the Singapore ones – it simply will not work.
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.
Be aware that unlike some other eSIM providers, like Airalo, Nomad & eSIM2FLY sold by SimOptions (which I all also tested in Singapore), you cannot top-up or add extra data if needed (for the time being).
Holafly is planning on adding that feature soon, but it has been months (perhaps even a year already)… so do not keep your hopes up.
My Holafly eSIM in Singapore Experience
I used my Holafly Singapore 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 Holafly work.
It is impossible for Holafly, 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 Holafly 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 Holafly eSIM uses the Singtel network with the help of China Mobile Hong Kong, also known as CMHK or CMLink (so your phone, some apps, or sites you visit may claim you are using a China Mobile Hong Kong eSIM instead of a Holafly one – that is correct).
Note: in some countries, Holafly uses multiple local networks (which often applies to regional eSIMs, like the Holafly Asia eSIM).
Just like how I tested the Holafly 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!, Airalo Asialink (in Singapore and various other Asian countries & Airalo Discover Global (in Singapore and worldwide)), Alosim, eSIM2FLY sold by SimOptions, 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 Singtel performed compared to its competitors.
Well, not entirely. Singtel was the only mobile operator allowing prepaid customers to use its 5G NR network (if you get its 30 SGD or 50 SGD SIM cards).
Although not mentioned on the Holafly product page, I used Singtel's 5G NR network while in Singapore.
I emailed Holafly informing them that its eSIM had 5G NR access in Singapore (and Thailand), but it was not really acknowledged. So I am not sure if I was just lucky and part of a test or not. If you get the Holafly Singapore eSIM and have no 5G NR reception, Holafly and China Mobile Hong Kong may have “resolved the issue”. Just do not expect 5G NR, and you will not be disappointed 😜.
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%.
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 Holafly Singapore 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 Holafly Singapore eSIM to Singtel and other travel eSIMs in Singapore.
Holafly Singapore eSIM 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 Holafly Singapore eSIM performed throughout the country:
Fast speeds with the Holafly Singapore eSIM!
Because many travel eSIMs I used in Singapore used the Singtel network too, I shared the results of the relevant eSIMs in the image above.
And you can see that the Holafly eSIM performed quite well!
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.
Just like how the Holafly Singapore eSIM is powered by China Mobile Hong Kong.
Because China Mobile Hong Kong roams on the Singtel network, its performance is not as good as going with Singtel directly.
So yes, even though the Holafly Singapore eSIM is nearly twice as slow as the Airalo Connect Lah! and Asialink eSIMs, it did surprisingly well while roaming on the Singtel network.
But let's ignore the Nomad eSIMs and focus on the Singtel, Airalo & Holafly results – what do you notice?
If you remember correctly, any underlined result is a result on 5G NR.
Both Airalo eSIMs did not have 5G NR access in Singapore yet.
At the same time, the Singtel SIM card and Holafly Singapore eSIM did.
Yet, the Holafly Singapore eSIM was often slower than the Airalo eSIMs stuck on 4G/LTE.
For example, at Bugis Junction, I had a download speed of 0.30 Mbps on 5G NR with the Holafly Singapore eSIM.
This is a speed I expect on 2G or 3G when the phone barely has any reception.
Singtel itself had a download speed of 432.19 Mbps on 5G NR.
The Airalo eSIMs had download speeds of 60.94 and 74.34 Mbps on 4G/LTE.
The same can be said about the results at Gate E22 at Singapore Changi Airport (terminal 1).
While a download speed of 58.35 Mbps is not slow at all, it was the slowest among any travel eSIM I tested.
Singtel had a download speed of 178.98 Mbps on 5G NR at the gate.
The Airalo eSIMs 199.96 Mbps and 223.23 Mbps.
So why am I pointing out Holafly Singapore's flaws like that?
Mostly to show that although I had 5G NR access with the eSIM, I would not recommend it just for this feature.
Mainly because you have slow 5G NR speeds.
The fastest result I have gotten with the Holafly Singapore eSIM was 149.49 Mbps at Fort Canning Park.
But this is not impressive for 5G NR – Airalo Connect Lah! was faster than this five times and Airalo Asialink an impressively eight times.
Singtel had nine of its 20 results below 149.49 Mbps, and was slower than the Holafly Singapore eSIM only twice.
The fastest 5G NR result I have gotten so far was slightly over 1131.69 Mbps (1.1 Gbps) with Boost Mobile Australia 😎.
So yeah… 149.49 is nothing 🗿.
But, it is not all doom and gloom with the Holafly Singapore eSIM.
Surprisingly, its upload speeds were terrific.
It got the fastest upload speed at eight locations, while Singtel itself was only at two locations.
The most impressive one was 100.90 Mbps on 5G NR at ION Orchard.
Singtel only got a speed of 48.65 Mbps on 5G NR there.
Or the results at the McDonald's in Chinatown Point (77.49 Mbps) and Wisma Atria (70.43 Mbps) – both on 5G NR.
The Airalo Aisalink eSIM came close at the former (53.07 Mbps on 4G/LTE) and Singtel at the latter (48.62 Mbps on 5G NR).
So yes, the Holafly Singapore eSIM gets good results, but they are not impressive when it has 5G NR access.
I would still recommend the eSIM, though.
As long as you do not expect standard 5G NR results, you will be fine.
My Overall Experience with the Holafly eSIM in Singapore – Is It Any Good?
I would recommend the Holafly Singapore eSIM, and it would be one of my top recommendations for anyone wanting to buy a Singaporean travel eSIM.
Getting the Holafly Singapore eSIM, and any other Holafly eSIM for that matter, is easy and straightforward (even though I did not spend any time on how to install Holafly eSIMs – you will manage… promise!).
The Holafly Singapore eSIM uses the Singtel network, which has, together with its competitors, practically perfect 4G/LTE availability.
And I can tell you that you will not have any reception issues with the Holafly Singapore eSIM – even on the SMRT (underground).
As mentioned earlier in this review, Holafly promised me that its plans would offer you truly unlimited data, only to discover that that was not the case (up to 90 GB per month).
Even after announcing their Fair Use Policy (FUP), some Phone Travel Wiz readers and travel content creator friends of mine have informed me that you can only use 1.5 GB to 3 GB per day before your speeds will be throttled.
And if you wonder why I am repeating this. It is because I advertised this “truly unlimited” data line for a month or two to readers like you. And it felt like I lied to you, which bothers me to this day. While I understand that truly unlimited is unheard of, I was promised it would be limitless by a former Holafly representative 😔 Nomad also has “unlimited” plans now, which is actually 2 GB/day. Not unlimited either, but at least they are upfront about it… unlike Holafly to this day with their undisclosed daily FUP.
At that time, I used its regular eSIMs with standard data allowances.
So I just took Holafly's word… which I will not do anymore in the future 🗿.
Anyway, as soon as unlimited data plans were available for Singapore, Holafly got rid of its data-limited plans.
It is unfortunate for those who know they do not use much data.
On the other hand, you do not have to worry about hitting a limit or purchasing top-ups to stay connected (even though topping up is impossible with Holafly at the moment).
Even then, Holafly could have been like Nomad, where the user can choose whether they want data-limited plans or “unlimited” plans.
Ah well – it is not my business 🤷🏿♂️.
While your speeds with the Holafly Singapore eSIM will often be fast enough for general data browsing and video streaming, you should not expect too much.
Even though I had 5G NR access with the eSIM (perhaps by accident, as Holafly did not acknowledge it had 5G NR access in Singapore and Thailand… not even at the time of writing (June) while I was in Singapore in March).
Taking all 20 speed tests into account, I had an average overall download speed of 69.69 Mbps and a median download speed of 37.83 Mbps with the Holafly Singapore eSIM.
When looking at upload speeds, I had an average upload speed of 37.70 Mbps and a median upload speed of 36.13 Mbps with the Holafly Singapore eSIM.
And these results are acceptable – nothing wrong with them.
If… they were simple 4G/LTE speeds.
Singtel, the network the Holafly Singapore eSIM used and has 5G NR-enabled prepaid SIM cards, had an average download speed of 251.40 Mbps.
Yeah… that is what I am talking about when we talk about 5G NR 🤣.
What is kind of embarrassing is that the Holafly Singapore eSIM, with 5G NR access, was only slightly faster than the Nomad eSIMs (Singapore (63.12 Mbps), APAC (63.09 Mbps) & SEA-Oceania (61.94 Mbps)), which also used the Singtel network.
But they did not have 5G NR access (yet).
But were significantly faster than the Holafly Singapore eSIM (99.42 Mbps and 131.32 Mbps, respectively).
So yes, it is cool that the eSIM has 5G NR access, but it is not worth buying it just for this feature.
Because its speeds are underwhelming.
But at least you do not have to worry about hitting your data allowance with Holafly's “unlimited” data plans.
On the other hand, significantly cheaper options are available for and in Singapore.
Such as Mogo and Nomad (with its “unlimited” (2 GB/day) plans or regular ones).
And if you do not care about 5G NR access and do not mind dealing with SIM card registration requirements, you can get a Singtel SIM card with 100 GB of data for 14 days for just 12 SGD (8.90 USD).
Honestly, no other travel eSIM can beat this price:data performance 😳.
By using an extensive 4G/LTE and 5G NR network, offering reasonably priced data plans, and fast download speeds, you should have a smooth browsing experience with the Holafly Singapore eSIM.
- Interested in using a Holafly eSIM in another country or countries? Check out my Holafly eSIM reviews from across the world!
Other Singaporean eSIM Reviews (Airalo, aloSIM, eSIM2FLY (SimOptions), Nomad, Simify & Ubigi)
As mentioned earlier, I also tried out (other) eSIMs from Airalo (Connect Lah!, Asialink & Discover Global), 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 | Airalo Discover Global eSIM in Singapore Review | Alosim eSIM in Singapore Review | eSIM2FLY (SimOptions) in Singapore Review | Mogo eSIM in Singapore Review | Nomad 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 Holafly 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.