M1 Review: The Underdog SIM Card in Singapore

5.0 rating
M1 Tourist SIM Card

Singapore is a remarkable travel destination. It is one of the few city-states out there, which gives it a unique flare.

The city-state is known for its moderness. Fantastic attractions, tropical climate, and a favorable location in Southeast Asia.

In fact, even the international airport, Changi International Airport, can be considered an attraction itself.

Singapore also has a liberal visa-free polily, meaning that the majority of the world can visit Singapore without a visa for 30 or 90 days. Some countries require an E-Visa, while others, especially in Northern Africa and the Middle East, require a traditional visa.

While in Singapore, you certainly want to share you experiences with your friends and family on social media or private chats. Singapore has a free and open WIFI hotspot throughout the city center, and many malls have free with hotspots as well.

Unfortunately, these can be slow and unsecure. Another option would be to roam with your provider in Singapore, but roaming can be expensive in many cases. Therefore, buying a local SIM card, a Singaporean one, is the most affordable option to stay connected while in Singapore.

When I was in Singapore, I decided to test the 3 leading operators – SingTel, StarHub, and M1. Let's see whether M1 is any good.

Telecom Providers in Singapore         

Before I tell you more about M1, you need to know about the operator situation in Singapore. If you have read my Buying a SIM Card in Singapore Guide, then you know that Singapore has 3 telecom operators: SingTel, Starhub, and M1.

There is also a 4th operator called TPG Singapore that launched in 2020. They do not seem to offer prepaid services yet, which is why I did not cover them in the Singapore Guide.

There are also many Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), such as giga!, MyRepublic, Zero Mobile, Circles.life, and more. However, they are only available to those with a National Registration Identity Card (NRIC), which travelers do not get.

Do note that 2G shut down on the 1st of April, 2017, meaning that you need a 3G or 4G/LTE capable device when visiting Singapore.

Now that you know all of this, it is time to introduce you to M1.

M1 Logo

M1Opens in a new tab. is the smallest Singaporean operator that offers prepaid services, with slightly more than 2 million customers. Although they are the smallest, it does not necessarily mean they are the worst. They are just not as popular as SingTel (more than 4 million customers) and StarHub (a bit more subscribers than M1).

With Singapore being such a relatively small city-state, coverage is not an issue with the Singaporean operators.

Does M1 have attractive plans? Do they have decent speeds, and are they affordable? These are all questions that need to be answered.

In this review, I will go over everything you need to know about M1 and my experience with them. After reading this review, you will know whether you should give M1 a chance when you visit Singapore or not.

Tip: Looking for cheap flights? Book with AirWander and add stopovers! Not in a hurry yet? Set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog and get notified when ticket prices for your preferred route(s) drop!

M1 Video Review

Want to watch the M1 video review? You bet! Check out this video:

What Frequencies does M1 use?

M1 uses Asian/European frequencies, which are:

  • 3G: 900 Mhz & 2100 Mhz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)

Because Singapore does not have a 2G network anymore, it is crucial that your device at least supports the 3G frequencies if the 4G/LTE ones are not supported. If it does not, you may be able to buy a travel phone while in Singapore. To see if your device is compatible with the M1 network, check out this siteOpens in a new tab..

How do I Buy an M1 Prepaid SIM Card?

You can buy an M1 SIM card at official M1 stores, M1 Exclusive Distributors, M1 Prepaid Preferred Partners, Appointed Authorized Retailers, FairPrice Xpress, select SingPost branches, and at Changi International Airport. M1 has 4 different starter packs in the following variants:

  • 5 SGD: 500 MB for 20 days and 5 SGD in credit. *
  • 8 SGD: 1.5 GB for 30 days and 10 SGD in credit for 90 days
  • 14 SGD: 4 GB for 120 days and 14 SGD in credit for 180 days
  • 15 SGD: 4 GB for 120 days and 15 SGD in credit. *
  • 25 SGD: 1 GB per day, 5000 minutes, unlimited incoming calls, and 5000 SMS, all valid for 30 days
  • 60 SGD: 1 GB per day, 5000 minutes every 30 days, unlimited incoming calls, and 5000 SMS every 30 days, all valid for 90 days

* 5 SGD card expires in 90 days and the 15 SGD card expires in 180 days

The following Main Balance rates apply:

  • Local calls (off-peak): 0.20 SGD for the 1st minute, then 0.08 SGD/min (applies from 8 PM until 8 AM on weekdays and all day on weekends). Applies to accepting calls too.
  • Local calls (peak): 0.20 SGD for the 1st minute, then 0.16 SGD/min (applies from 8 AM until 8 PM on weekdays). Applies to accepting calls too
  • SMS: 0.05 SGD/SMS. Applies to receiving SMS too. The First 10 received SMS, and the first 5 sent SMS are free.
  • International calls: variableOpens in a new tab..
  • International SMS: 0.05 SGD/SMS to XL Axiata (Indonesia), and 0.15 SGD/SMS to other destinations

You can also buy an M1 Tourist SIM, sold for 12 SGD, 30 SGD, and 50 SDG, which come with the following perks:

PriceDataRoaming DataLocal CallsInternational CallsSMSValidity
12 SGD100 GBNone500 minutes20 minutes100 SMS7 days
30 SGD100 GB3 GB3000 minutes50 minutes5000 SMS12 days
50 SGD100 GB5 GB3000 minutes50 minutes5000 SMS14 days

The 12 SGD version is also available as an eSIM.

M1 Tourist SIM Card

Tourism SIM cards are not renewable, meaning that you would have to buy a new one once it expires.

Roaming data can be used in the following destinations with the preferred partners:

You can buy an M1 Tourist SIM at the following places:

  • M1 shops (12 SGD & 30 SGD)
  • M1 Exclusive Distributors (12 SGD & 30 SGD)
  • Changi Meet & Greet (30 SGD & 50 SDG)
  • Changi Recommends (Terminals 1, 2 & 4 – all variants)
  • Select 7-11 and Cheers (12 SGD & 30 SGD)

Do note that if you want the 12 SGD version and plan on buying it at the airport, you specifically have to say that you want the tourist SIM card lasting for 7 days, as the salespeople will push the 30 SGD variant instead.

Be also aware that if you want to buy your SIM card in the city, you need to bring your passport with you. In Singapore, you have to show your passport and register it with the provider. Other forms of identification are also accepted, such as a Work Holiday Pass or a (Singaporean) Student’s Pass.

How do I Activate my M1 SIM Card?

Your M1 SIM card will be activated upon purchase. Just make sure to bring your passport or another acceptable form of identification for visitors, like the Dependent’s Pass, Long Term Pass, or Student’s Pass.

M1 Tourist SIM Card activation steps
Activation steps as shown in the M1 manual

How and Where can I Top Up my M1 SIM Card?

You can top up your M1 SIM card on the M1 Prepaid App, M1 Prepaid PortalOpens in a new tab., or at a self-service terminal at AXS, DSB/POSB, Liquid Pay App, NETS Terminals, or SingPost. You can also visit retail stores to top up your SIM card.

M1 top-ups come in 4 variants: all inclusive (M1 all-in-1 top-up), data and voice, IDD (international calls) and voice, and main balance.

The following 4 M1 all-in-1 top-ups are available:

All-in-one Top-upDaily Data AllowanceMax. DataMinutesUnlimited Incoming CallsSMSValidity
11 SGD1 GB/day7 GB100 minutesYes100 SMS7 days
16 SGD1 GB/day14 GB500 minutesYes500 SMS14 days
24 SGD1 GB/day30 GB5000 minutesYes5000 SMS30 days
58 SGD1 GB/day90 GB5000 minutesYes5000 SMS90 days

Before I go any further, you may be wondering why I specifically mention unlimited incoming calls, as that seems to be a given. Singapore is one of the few countries that charge you for accepting incoming calls. In the following top-ups, you will see that you will get free incoming calls for some days or not at all.

The following 2 Data and Voice top-ups are available:

Data & Voice Top-upDataMinutesUnlimited Incoming CallsSMSValidity
19 SGD2.5 GB1000 minutesYes500 SMS30 days
30 SGD5 GB1000 minutesYes1000 SMS30 days

Only interested in calling (abroad)? Then you can get one of the following IDD & Voice top-ups:

IDD & Voice Top-upLocal Minutes & SMSInternational Calls & SMSUnlimited Incoming CallsValidity
55 SGD40 SGD15 SGD credit10 days50 days
130 SGD1oo SGD30 SGD creditNo50 days

Finally, you have the credit top-ups:

Top-UpDataMain BalanceFree Incoming CallsSMSValidity
10 SGDNone10 SGDNone30 SMS120 days
18 SGD1 GB (7 days)18 SGD20 daysNone180 days

What Data Packages does M1 Offer, and How do I Activate Them?

If all those regular top-up bonuses are not enough for you, then you can purchase a data pack. One cool feature of M1’s data packs is that you can use your data allowance in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, and Taiwan at no additional cost.

M1 will select the preferred partner automatically. However, these are the preferred partners in case you have to choose a network manually:

The data packs are valid for 3 days, 7 days, and 30 days. Below are all the M1 data packs you can choose from:

1 SGD10 MB7 daysNone
2 SGD100 MB3 daysNone
5 SGD1 GB3 daysNone
5 SGD300 MB30 daysNone
7 SGD1 GB7 daysNone
10 SGD1 GB7 daysNone
10 SGD2 GB30 days7 days of free incoming calls
14 SGD4.5 GB30 days30 days of free incoming calls
21 SGD15 GB30 days30 days of free incoming calls
28 SGD50 GB30 days30 days of free incoming calls

You can activate any of M1’s data plans on the M1 Prepaid App, onlineOpens in a new tab., or by dialing #100*3#.

Are you a big fan of Facebook or IMO? Then the following social media packs are available:

  • Facebook: 7 SGD for 30 GB for 30 days
  • IMO: 12 SGD for 30 GB for 30 days 

The Facebook data pack allowance does not apply to Facebook Messenger, and the IMO data pack allowance does not apply to in-app web browsing.

You can activate the social packages on the M1 Prepaid App, onlineOpens in a new tab., or by dialing #100*3#.

Can I Roam with M1 for Free?

M1 allows prepaid customers who buy a data pack to roam for free in 5 countries (Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, and Taiwan). The same applies to the M1 Tourist SIM if you get the 30 SGD or 50 SGD version.

You can also get one of the two relatively affordable M1 prepaid roaming packs.

The 15 SGD roaming pack comes with 2 GB roaming data and 10 minutes for 10 days for the following 12 countries:

  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Sri Lanka

The 28 SGD roaming pack also comes with 2 GB of roaming data and 10 minutes for 10 days. You can use this pack in any of the 15 SGD countries, but also a few other ones highlighted with an *:

  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan *

What are M1's Preferred Roaming Networks

M1 has agreements with several operators that allow you to use your roaming pack on those networks. These are the preferred networks:

CountryPreferred Network(s)
AustraliaTelstra, Optus & Vodafone
BangladeshRobi Axiata
CambodiaSmart Axiata
Hong KongSmarTone
IndonesiaIndosat & XL Axiata
New ZealandTwo Degrees & Vodafone NZ
Saudi ArabiaMobily
Sri LankaDialog Axiata
South KoreaSK Telecom
TaiwanChunghwa Telecom
UKVodafone UK

In the future, I will be making a more detailed article about roaming with M1.

What Speeds will I get with M1 in Singapore?

Now it is time to see whether M1 has decent speeds or not.

Normally, I do 3 speed tests with the operator I test. Sometimes, I do fewer tests because the speed test app will consume more data if the speeds are high or because my data allowance is low.

Because I bought the M1 Tourist SIM that comes with 100 GB data, I decided to do 5 speed test throughout Singapore (which I did with SingTel and Starhub too). One was at my Airbnb in Little India, another in a McDonald’s in Lucky place. Another one inside Orchard mall, one in Santosa, and the last one at the airport.

M1 Speed test in Little India
Speed test in Little India
M1 Speed test in a McDonald's in Lucky Plaza
Speed test inside Lucky Plaza
M1 speed test in the Orchard Mall
Speed test inside Orchard Mall
M1 Speed test in Santosa
Speed test in Santosa
M1 speed test at Changi International Airport
Speed test ar Changi International Airport

Those are good speeds! Sure, they are not extremely fasts, going over 100 Mbps. However, these speeds are good enough for normal web browsing, including video streaming.

I was quite surprised by the speeds inside Orchard mall. If I recall correctly, I did the speed test on the lowest floor (this mall has 14 levels) and was not expecting any reception while being so deep. Well, I did – and got the fastest speeds I had experienced in Singapore.

Based on that, I expected fast speeds at the airport too. Unfortunately, that expectation was not met.

Although the speed results with M1 are satisfactory, I did have some reception issues with M1 in some places in Singapore. In contrast, I had no issues with SingTel and Starhub. There are many reasons why this could have happened, but it is still something I wanted to mention.

Even then, coverage with all the Singaporean operators, including M1, is excellent (not hard when the country is not large), so you should not have to worry about coverage.

You can expect good speeds with M1 throughout Singapore.

Do I Recommend M1 to Travelers Visiting Singapore?

I recommend M1 to those visiting Singapore. I am a massive fan of their tourist SIM card (which is why I mainly talk about them in my Buying a SIM Card in Singapore guide) because they offer so much value for the money spent.

The con is that the SIM card expires within 14 days, so they are not attractive for those spending a long time in Singapore or want to keep an active Singaporean number.

Regular M1 prepaid SIM cards come with a lot of perks too, and generous data allowances. Not as generous as the tourist SIM card, but still generous. I love the fact that you can use your data plan in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, and Taiwan at no additional cost.

The only type of top-up I would go for is the All-in-One top-ups because they give you the most bang for your buck. The standard Pay As You Go rates are alright – not too expensive and not overly cheap, but the more you use data, calls, or text, the more attractive the All-in-One top-ups become.

Getting an M1 SIM card is simple and straightforward. The coverage with M1 is excellent, and the speeds are good too.

Overall, M1 is a good option for those who visit Singapore and like to travel to other East and Southeast destinations. Therefore, M1 deserves their 5-star rating.

How does M1 Compare with Singtel and StarHub?

Now that you know everything you need to know about M1, you may be wondering whether M1 is the best for you or not. I made a Singaporean SIM Card comparison article where I go through M1, Singtel, and StarHub more in-depth, comparing their packages, speeds, and coverage.

It is a good read where I take certain scenarios into account that may apply to you (such as spending a certain amount on data packages like 10 SGD, 30 SGD, and 50 SGD, wanting to call and text abroad, speeds, and who has the best tourist SIM card).

Be sure sure to check out the Best Singaporean SIM Card comparison post.

The video above is a long video that goes over everything covered in the Best Singaporean SIM Card comparison post. If you do not have that much time right now, add the video in your Watch Later playlist. For now, watch this video below that briefly introduces you to Singtel, StarHub, and M1 tourist SIM cards, and I do a speed test with them at the end.

Best International SIM Cards for Singapore

Getting a local SIM card is often the cheapest way to stay connected while traveling. Some travelers, however, prefer to buy international SIM cards so that they do not have to pay expensive roaming bills while being reachable on one phone number.

There are many international SIM cards out there covering Singapore, but there are a few 4 I would recommend for Singapore.

TrueMove H Smart SIM Card

TrueMove H is a Thai operator that is known for offering attractive international roaming packages for in the Asia Pacific region and for affordable international SIM cards, like their Smart Light SIM card. This SIM card comes with a Thai number (+66) and can be used in 20 different destinations, including Singapore.

TrueMove H Smart Light is sold for $20 and comes with 6 GB of data to be used within 10 days. The credit validity starts as soon as you put the SIM card in your phone. You cannot make calls nor send SMS. Moreover, receiving calls and SMS is also not possible. It is truly data-only SIM card.

Besides not being able to call and text with this SIM card, you also cannot receive calls or SMS. Additionally, once the SIM card has been activated (when you put it in your device), the SIM card will expire once the credit validity hits, meaning that you cannot top-up your TrueMove H SIM card.

You can use your TrueMove H Smart Light SIM card in the following 20 destinations:

  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • The Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Vietnam

AIS Smart SIM Card

AIS is another Thai operator that has attractive international roaming packages and international SIM cards for those traveling in Asia. It also comes with a Thai (+66) number.

For Singapore, they only have 1 SIM card, called AIS Smart Traveler, which costs $20, comes with 6 GB, and is valid for 10 days. You cannot call or text with this SIM card, nor can you receive calls and SMS.

Including Singapore, the AIS Smart Traveler SIM card can be used in the following 24 destinations:

  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Tibet
  • Vietnam

3 Smart SIM Cards

3 Hutchison is an international telecom operator active in various countries in Europe and Asia. The 3 Smart SIM cards are issued by 3 UK and come with a UK number (+44). They come in 4 variants:

SIM CardPriceDataCallsSMSCredit Validity
3 Smart Silver$3010 GBNoneNone30 days
3 Smart Gold$4012 GBNoneNone30 days
3 Smart Platinum$6012 GBNoneNone1 year
3 Smart Platinum X$8024 GBNoneNone2 years

You cannot call and text with any of the 3 Smart SIM cards. You can, however, receive calls and SMS for free if you are in an eligible destination.

All 3 Smart SIM cards can, including Singapore, be used in the following 22 destinations:

  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Macau
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Puerto Rico

Recharging these SIM cards is only possible with cards registered to a UK address our 3 UK top-up vouchers.


Surfroam is my to-go international SIM card that acts as a bridge between me arriving in a new destination and before buying a local SIM card. Often, airport WIFI is slow, and the SIM cards offered at the airports are overpriced.

Surfroam is a data-only SIM card. You get a UK number (+44) and can receive SMS, but you cannot call or text. The SIM card will not expire as long as you top up once a year. The Surfroam SIM card is free, but you have to top-up at least €15 (or €20 for the eSIM variant) upon purchase.

Depending on where you are, you pay a minimum of €0.01 per MB (or slightly more than €10 per GB), which is cheaper than data packages in various countries around the world.

In Singapore, you will pay €0.01 per MB when using your Surfroam SIM card on the Singtel and Starhub networks.

Surfroam has agreements with operators in more than 200 destinations around the world, including Singapore, which means that it will always have your back.

Surfroam Banner

Best Mobile Hotspots for Singapore

Mobile hotspots, also known as Pocket WIFI, are useful for those traveling to Singapore as a group or family. Buying data packages for everyone can add up quickly, which is why mobile hotspots can be a good alternative.

Just like international SIM cards, many companies are offering mobile hotspots, but there are 3 companies I would recommend for Singapore.

Vision Global Wifi

Vision Global WIFI is another mobile hotspot provider that has a good reputation among travelers.

Vision Global hotspots cover more than 130 destinations around the world – Singapore included. Their service comes in 3 variants:

  • Unlimited 4G Basic: $6/day – 500 MB high-speed data per day, then unlimited normal speed
  • Unlimited 4G Advanced: $8.80/day – 1 GB high-speed data per day, then unlimited normal speed
  • Unlimited 4G Max: $16/day – Unlimited high-speed data every day

The prices drop if you plan on using a Vision Global device for more than two weeks.

Vision Global WiFi Banner


Travelwifi offers unlimited data with their Teppy Pocket WIFI device. You can rent Teppy from $7 a day, and browse the web in more than 130 destinations around the world.

Travelwifi also allows you to buy add-ons, such as calling and texting internationally or use in-flight WIFI.

Travelwifi has several tiers for Singapore:

  • Asia Adventure: $8/day – 1 GB per day
  • Asia Escape: $10/day – 2 GB per day
  • Asia Voyage: $12/day – 5 GB per day

Want to use Teppy throughout Asia? Then the following applies:

  • World Voyage: $9/day: 1 GB per day
  • World Escape: $12/day: 2 GB per day
  • World Voyage: $13/day: 3 GB per day

The following 22 destinations, including Singapore, fall under Travelwifi’s Asia definition:

  • Bangladesh
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • The Philippines
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

You can also buy Teppy for $150 (in red, blue, or green) and buy country or global passes when traveling.

Travelwifi banner


Skyroam is a popular portable hotspot because they rent their Skyroam hotspot with unlimited data from $6 a day, and up to 10 devices can be connected to the hotspot. It works in more than 130 countries.

In Singapore, you will pay $9 per day for unlimited high-speed data if you rent it, which is incredible.

You can also buy the Skyroam Solis Lite for $120 or the Skyroam Solis X for $180, and purchase country passes from $9 a day or global passes for $99 a month.

Both devices offer fast and secure WIFI speeds and allow you to connect to 10 devices. The Solis X also has a remote camera, speaker, microphone, Bluetooth, and a Smart Assistant. Nice.

Skyroam banner

What is next?

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

Book Your Flight for Singapore

It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Singapore. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Singapore drop.

Book Your Accommodation for Singapore

I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Singapore. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Singaporean hotel.

Get Your Travel Insurance for Singapore

You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Singapore, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.

Get a Travel Debit Card

Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to Singaporean Dollars for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.

Transferwise Banner

Enjoy your trip!

Ernest Adu

Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 7 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region is Asia. In particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently is in the Netherlands.

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