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Tourist Sim Card

Tourist Sim Card

Old Apr 1, 17, 9:46 am
  #1  
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Tourist Sim Card

Hi,

I'm visiting China this summer and I was wondering what the best SIM card for tourists is?

For other Asian places like Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand there are special tourist SIMs, but I haven't seen anything like that for China.

I'm currently with China Mobile HK, and they charge 48HKD per day for unlimited data - which is a lot (and I mean A LOT) more that I have spent to buy SIMs for elsewhere.

So, does anyone know somewhere where I can get a reasonably priced SIM, with lots of data (Say 0.5 to 1GB per day (talk time is unimportant)) that would work for two weeks?
I can either pick-it-up in Beijing or Hong Kong.

Thanks
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Old Apr 1, 17, 10:59 am
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There is no SIM card for tourists.
You just get a regular Chinese SIM, preferably from China Unicom. hey have a variety of plans but I don't think that you'll find one for 10G+. You are planning to watch movies every day?
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Old Apr 1, 17, 11:38 am
  #3  
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HK SIM Vendors

Ap Liu St, Shum Shue Po MTR

If you can't find it there you don't need it!!!
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Old Apr 2, 17, 1:05 am
  #4  
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Sham Shui Po is a good place to head to if you know what card you want. It is not a good place to shop in the browsing around sense. Just vendors at stalls with tons of cards in trays and crowds of buyers. Not much patience for customers who aren't sure what they want at Sham Shui Po, or anywhere else in Hong Kong for that matter.

Best to look at the websites of the telcos and decide first what card you want, then take a printout with you.

If you do go, take a magnifying glass since the terms and conditions on the cards are almost unreadable.
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Old Apr 2, 17, 4:01 am
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I haven't found a HK pre-paid for less than 48HKD/day for more than a week (Im also heading to China, via HK, for 2 weeks in May)

If you need data only you can get a data SIM from China Mobile in China. Take your passport to register.
280RMB for 11GB ... 180RMB for 6GB.
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Old Apr 2, 17, 7:49 am
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Those seem like much more reasonable prices.

Are they available in Beijing airport and do you have a link for the offer?

Thanks
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Old Apr 2, 17, 8:25 am
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No idea about Beijing ... I got a collegue in Shanghai to get the information (process for a tourist getting a data sim card) from a China Mobile store, and she noted the prices for me.

I will reply to this thread, on how I got along, when I get the card next month .... assuming flyertalk is accessible through the GFC
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Old Apr 2, 17, 8:34 am
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BTW Have a look at this video thats got an excerpt from Apliu St.


Some of the cards seem heavily discounted, but you need to research the ones that will do Macau.
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Old Apr 2, 17, 9:04 pm
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Thanks Psuedo. I tried looking on the China Mobile Chinese site with Google Translate - but I couldn't really understand lots of it.

I don't mind going to Apliu St, but I have no idea what I'm looking for.
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Old Apr 3, 17, 12:14 am
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Originally Posted by TravelDream View Post
Thanks Psuedo. I tried looking on the China Mobile Chinese site with Google Translate - but I couldn't really understand lots of it.

I don't mind going to Apliu St, but I have no idea what I'm looking for.
As an occasional (once a year) Apliu St shopper-

There's lots of MVNO SIMs as well the SIMs directly from the network providers. I'd ignore the MVNO SIMs (I once bought an EasyCall SIM to use in Japan in the future and they went bankrupt or something before I could use it so that was roughly HK$80 wasted).

If we limit to the network providers themselves (in the mainland context, CMHK->CMCC and Unicom HK->China Unicom) then you don't have a whole lot of options. If the SIM you have is the one I think you have, then that's as good as it gets for CMHK (since the largest fixed-amount package is 2GB for HK$198). And at least with the HK$48 you're effectively paying less when you do the "add $300 get a bonus $115" top-up online. If you work on that basis you're effectively paying less than HK$35 daily for 8 days. HK$600 would last you for the two weeks. Not cheap by any means, but not horrific.

A 7-day 2GB SIM from Unicom HK is HK$114 from Unicom themselves online, haven't paid attention to prices on Apliu St since I just use CMHK but it has to be cheaper, and then fixed HK$100 per 2GB/up to 7 days after. Roughly HK$50/GB.

Now, if you have a VPN subscription that you can use, local mainland-based data SIMs can be very very cheap, but it requires navigating Beijing's equivalent of Apliu St (I normally go to Shanghai so I have no idea where that would be). Otherwise China Unicom in Beijing officially sells a nationwide 12GB data-only SIM for 500RMB. At 42RMB per GB, that becomes roughly the same as their 2GB Hong Kong-based SIM. There's also the "Ice Cream Plan" (冰激凌套餐) mentioned on their website, which is 198RMB/month for 1500 domestic minutes and 15GB nationwide full-speed data + throttled to 3Mbps after (so you should have full speed data all through at 1GB/day for two weeks). Works out to 13.2RMB per full-speed GB plus the reassurance that you have more data if you need it.

EDIT: I can't figure out if the 12/24 month commitment for the "Ice Cream Plan" is required or optional (to cut the fee for the 398RMB 40GB plan to 199RMB) and the first month is 398RMB regardless, so I'm removing it. Since OP mentioned 0.5-1GB/day, the 198RMB plan should do the trick if no commitment is requierd. Also, OP didn't mention where else in China they'd be. If Beijing data is all OP needs then data can be even cheaper than this. If nationwide data is required then not so much.

Last edited by jamar; Apr 3, 17 at 1:42 am
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Old Apr 3, 17, 12:17 am
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Originally Posted by TravelDream View Post
Thanks Psuedo. I tried looking on the China Mobile Chinese site with Google Translate - but I couldn't really understand lots of it.

I don't mind going to Apliu St, but I have no idea what I'm looking for.
As an occasional (once a year) Apliu St shopper-

There's lots of MVNO SIMs as well the SIMs directly from the network providers. I'd ignore the MVNO SIMs (I once bought an EasyCall SIM to use in Japan in the future and they went bankrupt or something before I could use it so that was roughly HK$80 wasted).

If we limit to the network providers themselves (in the mainland context, CMHK->CMCC and Unicom HK->China Unicom) then you don't have a whole lot of options. If the SIM you have is the one I think you have, then that's as good as it gets for CMHK (since the largest fixed-amount package is 2GB for HK$198). And at least with the HK$48 you're effectively paying less when you do the "add $300 get a bonus $115" top-up online. If you work on that basis you're effectively paying less than HK$35 daily for 8 days at a time. HK$600 would last you for the two weeks. Not cheap by any means, but not horrific.

A 7-day 2GB SIM from Unicom HK is HK$114 from Unicom themselves online, haven't paid attention to prices on Apliu St since I just use CMHK but it has to be cheaper, and then fixed HK$100 per 2GB/up to 7 days after. Roughly HK$50/GB.

Now, if you have a VPN subscription that you can use, local mainland-based data SIMs can be very very cheap, but it requires navigating Beijing's equivalent of Apliu St (I normally go to Shanghai so I have no idea where that would be). Otherwise China Unicom in Beijing officially sells a nationwide 12GB data-only SIM for 500RMB. At 42RMB per GB, that becomes roughly the same as their 2GB Hong Kong-based SIM. There's also the "Ice Cream Plan" (冰激凌套餐) mentioned on their website, which is 198RMB/month for 1500 domestic minutes and 15GB nationwide full-speed data + throttled to 3Mbps after (so you should have full speed data all through at 1GB/day for two weeks). Works out to 13.2RMB per full-speed GB plus the reassurance that you have more data if you need it. If you sign up before 1 May, the price of the higher tier is cut to 199RMB, which is unlimited domestic minutes for 40GB full-speed data + throttled to 7.2Mbps after (which should be more than the average person on a 2-week trip knows what to do with unless you're live-streaming every minute of it).
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Old Apr 3, 17, 10:05 pm
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Originally Posted by jamar View Post
...
local mainland-based data SIMs can be very very cheap, but it requires navigating Beijing's equivalent of Apliu St (I normally go to Shanghai so I have no idea where that would be).

I would be wary of buying a SIM card from the street in China.

http://first2board.com/pointssummary...paid-sim-card/

Best to go to a proper store and buy it with ID etc.
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Old Apr 3, 17, 11:48 pm
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Originally Posted by pseudo View Post
I would be wary of buying a SIM card from the street in China.

http://first2board.com/pointssummary...paid-sim-card/

Best to go to a proper store and buy it with ID etc.
While I'll stop short of saying that it's impossible to get ripped off, data (only) Sims are extremely straight forward, and needn't be registered.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 12:01 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
While I'll stop short of saying that it's impossible to get ripped off, data (only) Sims are extremely straight forward, and needn't be registered.
Straightforward, yes. Needn't be registered, if you can get the seller to register it for you. Otherwise the official rules are supposed to be that they also need registration, as explained to me by China Unicom and China Telecom staff in Shanghai back in January.
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Old Jun 2, 17, 2:02 am
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China Unicom is now registering Hong Kong SIM cards that have a Mainland number. It's fairly quick online: just fill in your name, passport number and nationality, and attach photos of the front cover and data/signature page of your passport. A few hours later you should get an SMS that your registration is effective. Much quicker than doing the real-name registration in the Mainland itself.

To register online, you first need to receive a confirmation code by SMS. So if you're not in the Mainland or HK, you might have a problem receiving the necessary SMS code.

China Unicom says you'll lose your Mainland number if you don't register by August 30.

www.cuniq.com/hk/realname.html?country=hk_en
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