It isn’t obvious when you’re walking down the streets, but wait till you try to find a public payphone.
There are fewer of them in Singapore these days simply because nearly everyone here owns a mobile phone. Singapore embraces communications technology with open arms. Its widespread use of the internet, for example, makes it the most wired nation in the world, ahead of countries such as Japan and South Korea, according to the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore. The nation’s plan for harnessing infocomm to transform living, work and play can be found in the IDA’s 10-year blueprint, Intelligent Nation 2015 (iN2015).
By December 2008, Singapore’s household broadband penetration rate reached 99.9%. This means nearly every household has broadband internet access. The widespread popularity of broadband is partly due to competitive rates offered by the three main Internet Service providers (ISPs) in Singapore – SingNet, StarHub.
You may also access the internet via Wireless@SG – which is a national programme offering seamless wireless broadband access at public areas – free of charge until 31 March 2013. This programme provides mobile users with maximum convenience on the move. To connect to Wireless@SG, all you need is a wireless-enabled device such as a laptop or smartphone, a web browser and a registered Wireless@SG account. To register for an account, click here.
Mobile phones are the modus operandi in Singapore. You will often spot Singaporeans chatting or texting endlessly, anywhere. The three main telecommunication providers in Singapore are SingTel, StarHub and M1. You can either subscribe to a mobile service plan or buy a pay-per-use SIM card with a local number, if you are not planning to be in Singapore for the long term. For more information about interim mobile service plans, visit the SingTel website.
Apart from mobile phone services, you may opt for a fixed line, which is offered only by SingTel. SingTel and StarHub also offer free digital voice lines for home as part of a package.
Public payphones in Singapore accept credit cards or stored value phonecards. Both local and international calls can be made at these payphones. Local calls are charged at SGD 0.10 per three minutes. Stored value phonecards may be purchased from post offices and convenience stores. They come in various denominations.
Cable TV is offered by StarHub and SingTel via mio tv, a pay-tv service. Both service providers often offer promotions, especially if you package your cable TV connections with your internet broadband or mobile phone services. Cable TV opens the doors to popular channels such as Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Star Sports, news channels such as BBC, Bloomberg, and CNN, and foreign channels in Mandarin, Korean, French and German, to name a few.
Singapore has over 60 post offices, 40 authorised postal agencies and 250 Self-Automated Machines (SAMs), run by SingPost. Apart from regular postal services, the post offices also offer services such as courier, faxing, and bill payment.