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Best Option for WiFi in China

Best Option for WiFi in China

Old Sep 25, 19, 6:08 pm
  #1  
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Best Option for WiFi in China

I travel frequently in the Shenzhen/Dongguan area for work. My company uses Google everything including email, and I've always had luck with renting a pocket WiFi upon landing at HKG. The good thing about HK pocket WiFi's with China roaming, is that they allow access through the China firewall meaning that a VPN isn't necessary to get to work email.

We generally would rent from "Banana WiFi" and it would work flawlessly. The trouble however is that on my most recent trip, it seems Banana has started enforcing a 500MB per day "Fair Use Policy" or FUP. This is super limiting since we used to just use the pocket WiFi for everything. I'd burn through that by about 1-2PM every day and then not be able to access things for the rest of the day.

Researching around, it seems that most of the pocket WiFi rental services have similar FUPs on their services. So now trying to find an alternative.

Coincidentally on this last trip I'd also bought on Amazon a China Unicom HK sim for China roaming which came along with 2GB of data before its FUP kicks in to throttle things. I tried it out in my cellular iPad and it actually worked great. 2GB is better than 500MB and they're relatively cheap on Amazon ($15), wondering if that's really the best option at this point.

Does anyone have other wifi rental services they like to use. Either ones at HKG, or ones that can be ordered in advance.

Alternatively, does anybody know of any HK China Roaming data-only sims that can be purchased online, preferably with more than 2GB of data? I can always use my iPad as a hotspot, and for bringing colleagues, I've seen some Huawei pocket wifi devices on Amazon for about $75.

Thanks!
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Old Sep 25, 19, 7:07 pm
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I have 5GB monthly on my HK contracted plan that I can use in China through the GFW. No FUP.

But if I know that I will need more than that I buy SIMs in HK flea-market (Ap Lui St) that gives me 20GB or 30GB of data only through HK server, valid for 30 or 60 days for around 120-150 HKD ($15-20 US), I use it in a Mifi (Pocket Wifi). With these SIM cards, you get your 20GB at full speed and when you run out, you run out. Their speed is sufficient for video conferencing.
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Old Sep 25, 19, 7:21 pm
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Is your old HK SIM still alive? Easiest would be to use it and recharge.

Note that most SIMs sold in HK require you to periodically recharge, even if there's plenty of money still on the card.
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Old Sep 25, 19, 8:21 pm
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Many of the cheaper SIM is so cheap that it cheaper to use a new one than recharging. The only reason to recharge these is to keep the number
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Old Sep 25, 19, 8:31 pm
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Off topic, but the term "fair use policy" confuses me when used in this context. What stops the carriers from simply calling it what it is, a daily/monthly cap?
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Old Sep 25, 19, 8:51 pm
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Usually "fair use" implies throttling rather than an absolute cap. Since the OP is a data hound, it's possible that they just didn't notice that things slowed to 2G or 3G after hitting the limit.

tb
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Old Sep 25, 19, 9:00 pm
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"The only reason to recharge these is to keep the number."

Hardly the "only reason."

Like the OP -- the person I was addressing in my comment -- you may be outside HK or otherwise find it inconvenient to tottle down to SSP.

Further, it's easy to build up an unused balance once you do start recharging, and you lose that if you let the card expire.
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Old Sep 26, 19, 11:21 am
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Hello, OP here, haha I like being called a "data hound".

But yes work in china requires a lot of downloading/uploading various production-related assets which are all fairly data intensive, in addition to staying connected through Slack, gmail, conference calls, etc.

The 2GB SIM I ordered on Amazon was similar to what's been described. It was valid only for 8 days with no rechargeability, and technically was "unlimited" but the FUP kicked in after 2GB. I definitely notice once throttling kicks in though, kind of prohibits me from getting much done.

What I'm hearing is that the single-use SIM route seems to make the most sense, just need to find a better source since someone above mentioned 20-30GB sims for 20USD. I paid almost that for my 2GB SIM. Can these be purchased online anywhere?
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Old Sep 26, 19, 5:15 pm
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Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
Many of the cheaper SIM is so cheap that it cheaper to use a new one than recharging. The only reason to recharge these is to keep the number
I disagree. You never know when they might change the rules and so I always keep my HK SIM recharged. At one point, I had one of those dual number cross border SIM cards and I accidentally let it expire, and now they don't sell them anymore.
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Old Sep 26, 19, 6:22 pm
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I could see the dual number thing coming to an end, or made more bureaucratic, but Chinese carriers will not prevent roaming.
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Old Sep 26, 19, 6:32 pm
  #11  
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The point is -- and it's a very good one -- that the fine print of the deal you get sometimes changes over time, and if you keep your old card you may be grandfathered.

"If you're happy with your SIM card you can keep your SIM card."
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