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StarHub Review: Secretly Singapore’s Best SIM Card?

Singapore is sometimes synonymous with Singapore Airlines. Sure, the country's name is in the airline name, but the airline represents Singapore well – excellent experience.

In 2019 alone, the airline has won more than 50 awards, mainly focusing on the best on-board experience.

The city-state itself is also an experience on its own. From modern architecture, many shopping facilities, and next-level attractions – you experience will be fabulous.

Because of this, it is almost mandatory to share your Singapore experiences on the web. The issue is that roaming with your provider in Singapore may not be cheap.

Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy a local SIM card, like a Singaporean one. That way, you can use the internet paying domestic prices instead of inflated roaming fees.

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

Singtel hi!Tourist SIM Card

Telecom Providers in Singapore

Before I tell you more about StarHub, 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. However, they do not offer their services to travelers (yet).

There are also many Mobile Virtual Network Operators, 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 it is time to introduce you to StarHub.

StarHub Logo

StarHub is the second-largest Singaporean operator, slightly ahead of M1, but no match to SingTel that has more than double the customer number.

StarHub has won several awards in the past few years and has been a pioneer in many things. It was the first operator to offer HSPA+ (3.5G) in the Asia Pacific region, the first Singaporean operator to offer HD voice calls, and was the fastest mobile operator in the world together with Singtel and SaskTel (Canada) back in 2015.

With such a rosy track-record, it begs the question of whether StarHub is still any good or not.

In this review, I will go over everything you need to know about StarHub and my experience with them. After reading this review, you will know whether StarHub is a good choice or not.

StarHub Video Review

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What Frequencies does StarHub Use?

StarHub uses Asian/European frequencies, which are:

  • 3G: 900 Mhz & 2100 Mhz
  • 4G/LTE: 900 MHz (Band 8), 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)

Because Singapore has no 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 StarHub network, check out this site.

How do I Buy a StarHub Prepaid SIM Card?

You can buy A StarHub SIM card at StarHub shops, StarHub partners, 7-Eleven stores, Cheers (convenience stores), SingPost branches, and at Changi Airport (StarHub counters, tourist counters, and UOB Currency Exchange Counters).

You can also pre-order your StarHub SIM card online two months before arriving in Singapore. Do note that your selection of pre-ordered SIM cards and plans are limited compared to StarHub’s overall collection.

StarHub’s prepaid SIM cards, simply called Prepaid SIM Card, come in 3 variants:

PriceCreditValidityDataBonus
8 SGD10 SGD90 days800 MB (30 days)None
15 SGD15 SGD180 days1.2 GB* (30 days)Unlimited WeChat, WhatsApp, and LINE (180 days)
50 SGD50 SGD180 days100 GB (10 days)5 GB Roaming Data (30 Days) **

* 15 SGD SIM card: 1.2 GB for the 1st month. 200 MB for the subsequent 5 months. Extra data often given during promotions.
** 50 SGD SIM card: roaming data can be used in Happy Roam countries, which are Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The following rates apply:

  • Local calls: 0.18 SGD/min
  • Local SMS: 0.05 SGD/SMS
  • International SMS: 0.15 SGD/SMS
  • Data: 0.05 SGD/10 KB (or 5 SGD/MB)

Do note that if you want to buy a SIM Card in Singapore, you need to show your passport upon purchase. It is mandated by law that all prepaid SIM cards are registered to a person. So if you plan on buying your SIM card in the city and not at the airport, do not forget to bring your passport.

Besides these SIM cards, you can also get a StarHub Travel SIM Card, which excites me. With many operators around the world, tourist SIM cards are just expensive. They barely provide any good value compared to regular SIM cards and are just worse.

In Singapore, you get 100 GB of data and a few cool perks for a week or two, which is insane. All for relatively low prices. You can buy the Travel SIM Card at the airport upon, pre-order it online, or go to any store listed earlier.

The following 2 StarHub Travel SIM Cards are available:

PriceDataRoaming Data *Local Minutes ***Local SMSUnlimited Incoming CallsInternational MinutesValidity
12 SGD100 GB1 GB500 minutes100 SMSYes30 minutes7 days
32 SGD100 GB3 GB **3000 minutes5000 SMSYes90 minutes12 days **

* Roaming data can be used in Happy Roam countries, which are Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the United States.
** 32 SGD Travel SIM Card: although the SIM card is valid for 12 days, the roaming data allowance is valid for 30 days.
*** Local minutes apply to IDD 018 destinations, which are Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

Unlike M1’s and Singtel’s tourist SIM cards, you can keep using your StarHub SIM card after the tourist plan expires by buying a data plan. That is a cool feature, I would say.

Did you notice that I specifically mentioned that incoming calls are free with those plans? Singapore is one of the few countries that charge you for accepting incoming calls or SMS. It is quite unusual, which is why I have to mention it.

If you plan on buying the 12 SGD SIM card at the airport, you have to explicitly tell the salesperson that you want the 12 SGD Tourist SIM that is valid for 7 days. They will try to sell you the 32 SGD one, and will pretend they not know what you are talking about (until you mention the validity and other characteristics).  

How do I Activate my StarHub SIM Card?

Your StarHub SIM card will be activated upon purchase. Make sure to bring your passport with you if you buy your SIM card in the city and not at the airport.

How and Where can I Top Up mu StarHub SIM Card?

You can buy a StarHub Main Wallet top-up card online and in various stores. It is recommended to top-up online because StarHub often has special bonuses for online top-ups (if it is more than 20 SGD).

The following 6 top-ups are available:

Top-upValidityBonus CreditFree Incoming Calls
10 SGD120 daysNoneNo
18 SGD*180 days2 SGD20 days
20 SGD180 days3 SGD20 days
30 SGD180 days4.50 SGD20 days
50 SGD180 days7.50 SGD20 days
80 SGD180 days12 SGD20 days

* 18 top-up: top-up card only available at StarHub stores, 7-Eleven, and Cheers stores.

You can also get Voice and Data top-ups, which come with data and calls, but the data allowance is not as generous as the actual data plans. The following 2 StarHub Voice and Data top-ups are available:

PriceMain Wallet CreditValidityDataMinutesSMSUnlimited Incoming CallsUnlimited Social Apps
17 SGDNone30 days200 MB (30 days)120 minutes500 SMSYesLINE & WhatsApp
25 SGD10 SGD50 days400 MB (50 days)120 minutes500 SMSYesLINE & WhatsApp

What Data Packages does StarHub Offer, and How do I Activate One?

StarHub has several data plans to choose from in case the data allowance offered by the SIM cards or top-ups are not enough. There are 5 data packs you can choose from:

PriceDataValidity
3 SGD1 GB1 day
5 SGD1 GB3 days
6 SGD600 MB (+ Amazon Prime)28 days
8 SGD1 GB7 days
10 SGD1 GB28 days

There is also a special Sunday data plan in 2 variants. You get a data allowance for 28 days and free data on Sundays (10 GB, then throttled to 1 Mbps for the remainder of the day – tethering/mobile hotspot is not allowed). The following Sunday plans are available

  • 18 SGD: 2 GB for 28 days and free data on Sundays
  • 25 SGD: 20 GB for 28 days and free data on Sundays

The 20 GB of the 25 SGD plan comes with 16 GB local data and 4 GB to be used in Singapore or in Happy Roam countries.

You can also het the Happy Data 30 Add-on that costs 30 SGD, comes with 3 GB of data (which can be used in Happy Roam countries as well), 150 minutes, 1000 SMS, and free incoming calls, all valid for 30 days.

There is also the Data Plus 15 Add-on for 15 SGD that comes with 2 GB and free incoming calls for 15 days. The Data Plus Add-on can only be added when the Happy Data 30 plan is active.

You can activate any StarHub data plan on the StarHub Prepaid App.

StarHub Social Plans

Finally, there are the Social Data Plans that come with unlimited WeChat and LINE data (voice chat, voice recording, messaging, and images).

When these plans are active, 0.40 SGD per day, or 6 SGD for 30 days, the apps will be using StarHub’s 3G network instead of their 4G/LTE network.

Although not super-fast like StarHub's 4G/LTE network, the difference should not be too noticeable, especially when using WeChat and LINE.

You can activate a Social Data Plan on the StarHub Prepaid App.

Can I Roam for Free with StarHub?

The StarHub 50 SGD SIM Card, StarHub Travel SIM Cards, and the 25 SGD Sunday plan come with free roaming data in Happy Roam countries. All the other plans or SIM cards do not have free roaming included.

What are StarHub’s Happy Roam Countries?

As of now, 17 countries are included in StarHub’s Happy Roam plan

If you plan on getting a SIM card or a plan that does not come with free roaming data, then you can consider getting a WOW Data Plan

What Is StarHub WOW Data?

WOW Data Plans are StarHub’s roaming data packages for their prepaid customers. With plans starting from 3 SGD for 1 GB valid for 1 day to 25 SGD for 4 GB valid for 28 days, these are relatively affordable roaming plans for the 17 Happy Roam countries.

The following  6 WOW Data Plans are available:

PriceDataValidityBonus
3 SGD1 GB1 day None
5 SGD1 GB3 days None
8 SGD1 GB7 days None
10 SGD1 GB28 days None
18 SGD2 GB28 daysFree data on Sundays*
25 SGD4 GB28 daysFree data on Sundays*

 * Fair Use limit of 10 GB. After that, your speed will be reduced to 1 Mbps. Tethering (mobile hotspot) is not allowed.

What Speeds will I Get with StarHub in Singapore?

Now the question you have been waiting for: are StarHub’s speeds any good?

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 Sentosa, and the last one at the airport.

StarHub Speed test in Little India
Speed test in Little India
StarHub Speed test in Lucky Plaza
Speed test in Lucky Plaza
StarHub Speed test in Orchard Mall
Speed test in Orchard Mall
StarHub Speed test in Santosa
Speed test in Santosa
StarHub Speed test at Changi Airport
Speed test at Changi Airport

Those are some incredible speeds! StarHub has been the only operator to hit a speed over 100 Mbps (116 Mbps in Little India), which made me happy. The speeds with Singtel and M1 were good too, but none of them hit 100 Mbps or even 90 Mbps.

On the other hand, the speed in Orchard Mall was awful. This mall has 14 floors, and I was at the lowest level when I did the speed test. I did not expect any reception down there. I did, but the speeds were low. M1 and Singtel did well at the same location, for comparison.

The speed in Sentosa was super-fast too. Do note that coverage with all Singaporean operators, including StarHub, is excellent (not hard when the country is not large), so you should not have to worry about coverage.

Either way, you can expect fast speeds with StarHub.

Do I Recommend StarHub to Travelers Visiting Singapore?

I recommend StarHub to those visiting Singapore. If you have read my Buying a SIM Card in Singapore Guide, then you already knew that I was a big fan of the tourist plans offered by the Singaporean operators because they give so much value for the money spent.

I would still recommend the Travel SIM card if you plan on getting a StarHub SIM card because the value is so good. Sure, 100 GB may be too much for 7 or 12 days, but you also get a lot of (international) minutes and SMS. All for a mere 12 SGD or 32 SGD.

The main con with the Travel SIM cards is that they are for short-term use only. If you plan on staying in Singapore for a month, getting the 32 SGD SIM card twice will prove to be expensive – you would be better off buying the 50 SGD SIM card that also comes with 100 GB.

I also believe that the regular SIM cards are good, especially in combination with the data plans. I am not sure if I would get any of the standard data packs (with 1 GB for a day, 7 days, or 28 days) because I know 1 GB is not enough for me. The Happy Data plan (that comes with 3 GB of data that can also be used in 17 Happy Roam countries) would be much better, in my opinion.

Also, the regular SIM cards have an extended validity, which is useful for those who want to keep a Singaporean number or plan on using the same SIM card when visiting Singapore in the (near) future.

I also like that various plans come with data that can be used in 17 other countries. And those countries are popular destinations for Singaporeans, Asians, or those planning on visiting any (South)East Asian countries, Australia, or New Zealand after exploring Singapore.

Finally, even though the regular data plans do not come with a lot of data, I like the fact that there are not so many plans to choose from. Singtel, for example, has so many plans to choose from, which can be confusing to navigate through.

Sure, you would be able to select the best plan, but having too much choice can be annoying too.

With all of these pros, StarHub is a good option for those who want to buy a Singaporean SIM card and do not want to go through tens of different plans to select one. With fast speeds, excellent coverage, and affordable plans, StarHub deserves their 5-star rating.

How does StarHub Compare with Singtel and M1?

Now that you know everything you need to know about StarHub, you may be wondering whether StarHub is the best for you or not. I made a Singaporean SIM Card comparison article where I go through StarHub, Singtel, and M1 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.

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