Cellphones in Singapore operate on two mobile phone networks, GSM900 and GSM1800. GSM, or Global System for Mobile Communications, is a seamless network that makes for easy cross-border cellphone use throughout the world. Call your wireless operator and ask for international roaming to be activated on your account, but expect to pay premium charges for all calls.
There are three mobile service providers in Singapore: SingTel (www.singtel.com), M1 (www.m1.com.sg), and StarHub (www.starhub.com). To save money on calls, you can purchase a prepaid Subscriber Identity Module, or SIM card, which will assign you a local number while in Singapore. Before you do this, be sure that your mobile handset is able to accept an alien SIM card, as many phones are locked by providers. If your cellphone is locked, you can always find someone who will unlock it for a few bucks on the sly at either Sim Lim Square or Lucky Plaza shopping malls. Cellphones, both new and used, are reasonably priced here. Consider buying a new handset before paying exorbitant rental fees to an international rental firm.
Tip: Singaporeans call their cellphones "handphones," and the local term for text messaging is "SMS."
Hotels, with the exception of backpacker hostels, all have in-room telephones with International Direct Dialing (IDD) service. This is the most convenient way to make international calls but is also the most expensive, as the hotel will always add its own surcharge to your telephone bill.
Public telephones can be found in booths on the street or back near the toilets in shopping malls, public buildings, or hotel lobbies. Local calls cost S10¢ for 3 minutes at coin- and card-operated phones. International calls can be made only from public phones designated specifically for this purpose. International public phones will accept either a stored-value phone card or a credit card. Phone cards for local and international calls can be purchased at Singapore Post branches, 7-Eleven convenience stores, or moneychangers -- make sure you specify local or international phone card when you make your purchase.
To call Singapore from the United States, dial 011 (the international access code), then 65 (Singapore's country code), and then the eight-digit number. The whole number you'd dial would be 011-65-XXXX-XXXX.
To make international calls from Singapore, first dial 001 and then the country code (U.S. or Canada 1, U.K. 44, Ireland 353, Australia 61, New Zealand 64). Next, dial the area code and number. For example, if you wanted to call the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., you would dial tel. 001-1-202/588-7800.
To call Malaysia from Singapore, it is not necessary to use IDD service, as there is a trunk cable between Singapore and peninsular Malaysia. To place a call, dial 02 to access the trunk cable, then the area code with the zero prefix, followed by the seven- or eight-digit local number. For example, to call the Malaysia Tourist Centre in Kuala Lumpur, dial tel. 02-03-2164-3929. For calls to Malaysian Borneo, you must still use IDD.
For directory assistance within Singapore, dial tel. 100. Dial tel. 104 for assistance with numbers in other countries.
For operator assistance in making a call, dial tel. 104 if you're trying to make an international call and tel. 100 if you want to call a number in Singapore.
For toll-free numbers, be aware that numbers beginning with 1800 within Singapore are toll-free, but calling a 1-800 number in the States from Singapore is not toll-free. In fact, it costs the same as an overseas call.
Internet & Wi-Fi
Almost all major hotels in Singapore supply high-speed broadband Internet access in-room, usually at extra cost. Some newer and more expensive hotels will have Wi-Fi (wireless Internet connections) in room, while others will support Wi-Fi throughout certain public spaces.
In 2007, the Infocomm Development Authority initiated the Wireless@SG program, where surfers can enjoy free seamless wireless broadband access with speeds of up to 512kbps in most public areas. To connect to the Wireless@SG wireless broadband network, a user just needs a Wi-Fi-enabled device, such as a laptop computer or a PDA, a Web browser, and a registered Wireless@SG account. The scheme is open to tourists and business travelers; register at www.infocomm123.sg/wireless_at_sg. This site also lists hotspots across the island.
In addition, several cafes and restaurants, such as McDonald's and Starbucks, offer Wi-Fi access to customers. To find cybercafes in your destination, check www.cybercaptive.com and www.cybercafe.com.