Suspending Mobile Line for Singtel – Cost and Implications


Will you be traveling out of the country and thinking of how to suspend your mobile line so you don’t have to incur hefty mobile bills while you’re gone?

Well, that’s gonna be me in a couple of weeks time and I’m kind of losing sleep over it because it’s a terribly annoying process. Well, the suspension is a few clicks away (cost is required) but the implications are terrible.

Some people might choose to retain their mobile plan and continue paying the mobile subscription fee but as I’m kind of unemployed right now, I need to scrimp and save whenever I can.

My current Singtel plan cost $51.20+ $7.90 (spotify)  = $59 per month and should I be gone for 6 months, that’s like $354; for not using any data/benefit.

My initial thoughts were that I could downgrade my plan temporarily (to be on the basic and cheapest plan without data and low call time) for 6 months and maintain my number so I can receive all my various OTP(s) required for banking and various app transaction(s) but after a chat with the Singtel chatdesk online, the CSO informed that this was not possible and should I insist on it, I had to pay a penalty of $708 for early termination fee (which obviously doesn’t make sense).

The cost of mobile line suspension (for a period of 6 months) would cost $20 (deactivation fee) + $10 x 6 months + $20 (activation fees when I’m back) = $100 + GST

Just FYI, the monthly fee was only $5 a couple of years ago (2015) but they have since doubled the fees to $10.

Copied and paste from their ‘Mobile Terms and Conditions‘ dated 23 May 2019
2. Temporary Suspension of Mobile Line Service (“TOS”)
2.3 Singtel reserves the right to implement a processing fee of $21.40 (including GST) for each successful TOS application, and an additional processing fee of $21.40 (including GST) at the end of the TOS period to reconnect the line. A monthly recurring charge of $10.70 shall be applied for the duration of the suspension period.”

Self-service steps for deactivation/activation

  1. Go to My Account (Not available on My SingTel app)
  2. Select the line that you wish to suspend
  3. Click ‘Manage Service’
  4. Click ‘Suspension of Service’
    • Maximum period of suspension is 12 months.
    • Your contract date will be extended accordingly based on the period of suspension.
    • In the event you would like to suspend your mobile line for more than 12 months, please call in or use the feedback form to get in touch with us.
  5. If you would like to activate your line, you can do so via the same ‘Manage Service’ function and your line should be back within minutes.

IMPRT: Please note that the suspension will automatically lapse according to the end date you selected. What happened for me was that I extended my overseas stay and forgot about my line. I ended up paying 1.5 months worth of handphone bills, before my family informed me that they received my SingTel bill my mail. I went straight to ‘My Account’ and re-did the suspension again (had to pay $40 again for service fees) in addition to the $10/month suspension fee. I tried to appeal to SingTel for the charges (THREE TIMES) but they have rejected me time and time again. With that unhappy gesture of theirs, I’ve decided to end my many years relationship with SingTel the moment my contract expires. I’m one petty customer and there are so many more options out there..

Yep, you got to pay $20 x 2 times for the self-service steps. To be honest, it’s kind of daylight robbery but I guess we have no choice since I’m still stuck with them for another 12 months or so. Somehow hope that these charges flow back to me as dividends someday.

Would it have been cheaper with M1 or StarHub?

StarHub: Suspend at $5.35/month up to a maximum of 6 months. No mention of activation/deactivation fee.

M1: Not allowed to suspend if still on contract. After which, it will be $5.35/month. (Can’t find info online)


Alright, so I’m in the process of deciding whether the inconvenience is worth the premium of $254 or $206 (assuming I cancel spotify premium).

  1. Credit Card SMS OTP verification
    • This is a huge headache.
      When you make purchases online, some websites will require 3D Secure One Time Password where a SMS would be sent to your mobile phone. Without keying in the SMS OTP, you will not be able to complete your payment online.
      I am not very familiar with the online shopping scene in New Zealand but I kind of have to maintain a $500 credit card spend on my UOB One Card in order to maintain my 3.33% rebate + 1.5% interest rate for my UOB One account. (At this point in time, I have not given up on it yet but I have a feeling I might when I’m in NZ).
      So, I called/visited 3 banks – OCBC, UOB and CIMB – and none of these banks allow me to change my SMS OTP for online credit card purchases to using the physical hardware token or mobile app token.
      To summarize, the only way to authenticate online purchases for 3D Secure sites is to change your SMS OTP number to your overseas number.
      This can only be done at the physical bank branch OR via a hardcopy signed form.
    • Workaround: As I will only know my NZ number when I’m in New Zeland, the plan is that I will have to pre-sign the form prior to my departure and get someone back at home to fill up my New Zealand number once I have it and mail out the form. It will take 3 to 7 working days.(Will update the feasibility of this when I’m there)
  2. Securities account trading
    I have to change my SMS OTP verification to physical hardware token and this is allowed for iOCBC.
  3. CDP Account
    You need to have a OneKey Token which will allow you to change your mobile number. I have not tried this yet but I’ll update to see if overseas number can be updated.
  4. SingPass OTP verification
    • (Extracted from their FAQ)
      Q: I am relocating overseas. Can I use my overseas mobile number for SingPass SMS 2FA?
      A: Only Singapore-registered mobile numbers can be used to register for SMS 2FA. If you are traveling or living overseas, please register for a OneKey Token instead. Click here to learn more about setting up OneKey token.

      • Processing Time: 7 working days (for you to receive your token & PIN mailer)
      • If you need a OneKey Token urgently, visit Assurity Customer Care Centre (@ Duo galleria) in-person, with your original NRIC card.


Sighs, I’m still undecided on the $$ vs inconvenience decision. Not sure if it is worth the $200+ which is less than the price of my Timberland boots.

Have you been abroad for a long time before? Do share with me your tips and recommendations!

[Tip from a reader] to overcome the Credit Card SMS OTP verification issue: Get a StarHub PrePaid Card (do a top up every 90 days to keep the number active) and change your mobile number for the banks credit card.

  • UOB can be done on their iBanking page using mobile token.
  • OCBC: I filled up a hardcopy form and mailed it out before my departure

With the StarHub Prepaid, you can purchase overseas data usage at $10 for 1gb of data which is quite useful and you can use data the moment your plane land =p

[UPDATE] 24 June 2020: I’ve finally terminated my line with Singtel after countless enquiries with their ‘WhatsApp’ Helpdesk. I had to pay a termination fee of about $60+ as I had to pre-terminate my DataX plan (which was apparently 24 months) and the port over failed on the first day because Circles Life said that my line appeared to be terminated/suspended by Singtel already. They wanted Singtel to provide me with a letter to verify that my line was not terminated but Singtel said there was no such letter. Anyway, I tried to port over for the second time and somehow it works.

Right now, I’m feeling so unsettled over my ‘Final Bill’ and I have no idea what crazy charges that will charge me. I don’t know why such a premium and reputable company can become so sneaky (you are only able to find out about your contract termination date via the customer service staff) and I find it very difficult to maintain my handphone plans with them GIVEN that they are wanting to charge me x2 as much and I have to pay for caller ID + autoRoam + voicemail after my 24 months corporate plan ended. They made 0 attempt to recover me as a customer and that’s it, i’m cutting it off.

I made the move to Circles.Life, sacrificing the reception and call minutes but I think with 20GB data allowance, it would be very difficult for me to exceed.

To those that have reached the end of the article, it’s time to doubt your loyalty to Singtel. Are they really worth it (saying this despite owning their shares)?

Here’s my Circles.Life referral code if you need: ‘FLYHSTARS‘. You’ll be able to get FREE UNLIMITED Data for 3 months and $38 off their registration fee.


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    • Hi there, I’m currently using the StarHub card in NZ but I have not successfully ported my mobile number over for the bank sides. No idea how long it will be taking but I’ve emailed them already. The StarHub Card works fine in NZ. The data works too. Just that need to do a top up every 90 days if I’m not wrong.

  • Hey, this has been a very helpful post! Just wondering, when you pre-terminated your DataX plan, it was already in its 24th month?


    • Hi there, nope. My DataX plan has not reached the 24-months so I had to pay a penalty for a 6-month early termination. I’m still waiting for my final bill to find out how much money they are gonna fleece me of ><. Good choice to start thinking of switching out of SingTel.

  • Hihi,
    I came across your post and I have the same issue. Your post is def. helpful.
    However, I have a different problem that is I have made the wrong move and purchased a discounted phone-set (that means contract renewal for another 2 years) in Nov 20 and I am leaving for Tokyo in mid-Jan 21 to work for 3 years. :((

    I approached Singtel 3 times and I am getting more and more unhappy with the terms and conditions to suspend my account. I am just paying Singtel to keep my phone number with any services incurred additionally charged. I also have to make sure I remember to apply for suspension every year ( I think I will forget) but then I am not financially ready now to pay for the hefty Early termination fee ie my monthly plan fee *18 months (min. subscription period is 3 months, so 24months – 3 months).

    • Hi Esther, it’s really unfortunate to hear about your situation but I’m pretty damn certain that Singtel will not care about your appeal. I am not sure if you can try to transfer your line to someone else (family member or friend) and get them to pay you like $20-30/month for the usage of your line (assuming that it has to be compatible to the sim only plans in the market). That’s the reason why I am very hesitant against signing on a 2 year contract now. I did some calculations and realised that it is cheaper to get a cheap plan and buy the phone separate. Sorry that I am not able to help but Singtel has been rather unhelpful and they don’t care about customer service or customer retention anymore. Nevertheless, if you have nothing to lose, you can just keep appealing and appealing until you leave. You’ll never know if they just get fed up with you and make an exception.

      • Hello honeystars,

        No worries. It is really nice to know that I have not the only one having challenges with Singtel. I totally agree with you that it is cheaper to get a cheap plan and buy the phone separate. Haha, appeal until they just get fed up is a good one! I do not have anyone to transfer my line. Anyway, just to share what I may do which may be the next best cheaper option surprisingly in a longer run, that is, to continue the 2-year contract as usual while I am in overseas, so I can receive OTP, and then port over to Circlelife. If I suspend when I am in overseas, I may pay lesser but my 2-year contract will be delayed till I activate back my number. That means I will be stuck with Singtel longer. Thanks for sharing your post! All the best to you!

        • Hi Esther, just to share with you (but I’m not certain if this is a system loophole or oversight). I got my contract (with phone) in July 2018 and suspended my line from Jun 2019 for 9 months. When I came back in March 2020, I asked them for my contract end date and they told me it was June 2020 (which means that they did not extend my contract by 9 months when I suspended my line). I’m pretty sure that this is not supposed to be the way but I managed to cancel my line in June 2020, without anyone questioning me. However, if you’re fine keeping the line to get OTP, the safest way is to just keep paying. Best of luck on your overseas adventure!

  • Hi Honeystars, appreciate your post. I ORD in a few days and am also traveling to NZ to play club sport from January 2021 to April 2021 before I head to university in the UK in late September. My Singtel contract is due to end in February while I’m in NZ. While I am at uni (likely for 4 years), I plan to come back 2-3 times a year and could be back for a few months in the summers. My three main considerations are 1. Keeping my current phone number even after my contract ends (with all the OTPs, NS and people who contact me using the number, it’s a real hassle to change it). 2. Not paying exorbitant fees while I am away at university for a line that I am not using. 3. Having a line to use for the few months of the year that I’ll be back in Singapore. With your experience, what would you recommend that I do? It seems to me that porting over to Starhub could be a good idea and their $5.35 a month fo suspension during the 3/4 months at a time that I’m away seems to be a big improvement on Singtel’s offering. Another very attractive option would be switching to prepaid, although I’m not sure if any provider allows you to port over any postpaid number to prepaid – would you know?

    • Hi there, I don’t think that you are able to port over your postpaid number to prepaid. When I last did my research last year, it was not possible. You can try researching again, but I highly doubt so. The only thing you can consider once your contract with Singtel ends, is to port your number to a cheaper postpaid plan – you can check out the new telcos – circles life or hop on to giga by starhub or something. You might be able to find something under $20. Doing this way, you will be able to maintain your OTPs and keep your number. Alternatively, if you choose to suspend your line, you will still be able to use WhatsApp (provided you do not change your phone) and mess up the authentication. Hope you find something that works for you =)