What is the phone number format of Singapore?

Goh Jun Cheng

Singapore has its own distinctive numbering and dialing conventions for phone numbers. What is the standard phone number structure and format in Singapore?

This article explains the composition and meaning behind Singapore’s phone numbers for mobile, home and business lines.

Country Code +65

The country code +65 is allocated to Singapore under the international telephone numbering plan.

+65 must be dialed first when calling Singapore numbers from overseas. It indicates to global networks that the number being called is located in Singapore.

If calling locally within Singapore, the +65 prefix is optional and only the local number needs to be dialed. But +65 ensures networks recognize it is not an international call.

8-Digit Local Numbers

After country code +65, local Singapore phone numbers are 8 digits long. For example:

+65 6123 4567

The 8 digit local number format has been in use since 1995 when Singapore adopted 8 digit numbering.

Older 7 digit numbers used previously were changed to 8 digits by adding the digit ‘6’ at the start.

Some special numbers remain 7 digits like emergency services at 999 and 112. But most phone numbers today are 8 digits.

Non-Geographic Number Prefixes

While most phone numbers in Singapore historically had a geographic significance indicating locality, this has diminished with mobility.

Today, the first digit of numbers indicates the type of service:

  • 3: Mobile and wireless numbers
  • 6: Fixed line numbers
  • 8: Toll-free and VOIP numbers

So for instance, 3xxx xxxx denotes mobile numbers while 6xxx xxxx indicates fixed residential lines. The geographic relation only remains loosely.

Mobile Number Portability

With mobile number portability, Singapore subscribers can now switch telcos and retain their mobile number.

This weakened the link between number prefixes and service providers. Now consumers can freely migrate carriers while keeping their known number.

While existing numbers still broadly indicate basic service types, portability has introduced flexibility across providers.

Fixed Line Operators

For fixed lines, the main operators are:

  • Singtel: Provides fixed line services on numbers starting with 6 and has a major subscriber base historically.
  • StarHub: Also has a large share of fixed line customers with numbers starting with 6.
  • M1: Fixed line numbers start with the prefix 3, but numerically map to 6 following number portability.

The incumbent operators Singtel and StarHub control most fixed residential numbers in Singapore.

Key Mobile Operators

For mobile services, Singapore’s 3 major telcos are:

  • Singtel Mobile: Mobile numbers start with 9
  • StarHub Mobile: Mobile numbers start with 8
  • M1 Limited: Mobile numbers start with 9

Minor players like Circles Life also exist but subscribers remain lower. Most locals easily recognize Singtel and StarHub numbers.

Business Number Prefixes

Some number prefixes like 6221, 6222 and 6223 are set aside for business lines. However, business lines can port to other prefixes now.

Certain prefixes and number blocks are also dedicated for government agencies and utilities. But otherwise number allocation is flexible.

Toll-Free Prefixes

Toll-free numbers use the prefixes below:

  • 1800: The most common toll-free prefix that is free to call. Used for customer service hotlines.
  • 800: Also toll-free when dialed from local numbers. But callers outside Singapore pay international call rates.
  • 1900 and 100: Used for premium-rate value-added services. Callers pay higher rates with charges billed by service providers based on duration. Examples include voting lines, financial services etc.

In summary, Singapore’s phone numbers follow the (xx) xxxx xxxx format starting with country code +65. Service types can be deciphered from prefixes but portability makes this not rigid. Understanding the numbering scheme helps recognize different number uses.

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