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Cell phone rental

Cell phone rental

Old Jun 29, 06, 11:31 am
  #1  
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Cell phone rental

I'll be in China for a couple of weeks in July and trying to find out the best way to get a cell phone for use while there. I know I can rent something here in the states via Amex or AT&T wireless and take it with me and/or use phone cards in China to cut down the expense of oversease calls. I would like to have a cell with me for emergencies though as we will be travelling to four different cities - any suggestions? By the way, I don't really want to buy an unlocked phone and use local Sim cards as I rarely travel to Asia and my current cell works well in Europe (where I tend to do most of my overseas travel) Any help appreciated!
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Old Jun 29, 06, 12:43 pm
  #2  
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Should be easy to rent a cell phone at the airport. I know at Pudong in Shanghai to the
right of the international exit area there is a cell phone rental booth/place.
I bought a couple re-fill cards from them. The prices are pretty cheap for rental.
Now there are a lot of used cell phones for sale in China at cheap prices so you could probably buy a cell phone and a sim card with time on it for less than $40.
That's an option.
Then you have an unlocked GDM phone you can use in other places.
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Old Jun 29, 06, 12:53 pm
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Buy, don't rent

If your phone works in Europe, it'll work in China. Just make sure it's unlocked and can accept third party SIM card.

Bring it to China, buy a local mobile number, usually 5 star hotels will sell it in their business center for RMB$120 which includes RMB100 of time. Also, at airport (at least in Beijing, can't recall seeing in Shanghai but ask) you can get SIM card.

It will work IDD, local, etc. and you can buy top off cards in RMB$100 denominations. Number is good for at least 6 months, once you start topping off, it will extend to 12+ months.

Make sure you get number that is good nation-wide and not just shanghai. I know Shangrila Hotel business center used to have it.
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Old Jun 29, 06, 2:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Vaze
I'll be in China for a couple of weeks in July and trying to find out the best way to get a cell phone for use while there.
www.pandaphone.com will deliver to and pick up from your hotels in some cities in China.

Last edited by KweezyFlyer; Jun 29, 06 at 3:52 pm
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Old Jun 29, 06, 6:01 pm
  #5  
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I know you said that you don't want to buy, but purchasing a SIM really is the easiet thing to do. If you're flying into PEK China Mobile sells the SIM cards at the airport for 280rmb ($35 usd), or you can pick one up in town for less - but that is a pretty easy way to do it.
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Old Jun 29, 06, 6:11 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by TravelManKen
I know you said that you don't want to buy, but purchasing a SIM really is the easiet thing to do. If you're flying into PEK China Mobile sells the SIM cards at the airport for 280rmb ($35 usd), or you can pick one up in town for less - but that is a pretty easy way to do it.
Can you tell me how much they charge for the same SIM in the city?
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Old Jun 30, 06, 4:24 am
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Originally Posted by cpx
Can you tell me how much they charge for the same SIM in the city?
I think I paid 100rmb for the China Mobile SIM card. For 500rmb the guy gave me a 1) phone (used), 2) two batteries (one new, one old), 3) battery charger, 4) SIM card & 5) 105rmb talk credit.

I'm happy with my purchasem getting all of that for about $63 usd
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Old Jun 30, 06, 5:18 pm
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Considering everyone seems to be suggesting that I get an unlocked phone and buy the Sim cards in China, then that's what I'll do . This may sound like a silly question, however, if if I buy an unlocked phone from say AT&T (now Cingular) take it with me, and change the Sim cards in China do I use the same phone number or does the number/service come with the new card?
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Old Jun 30, 06, 5:41 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Vaze
Considering everyone seems to be suggesting that I get an unlocked phone and buy the Sim cards in China, then that's what I'll do . This may sound like a silly question, however, if if I buy an unlocked phone from say AT&T (now Cingular) take it with me, and change the Sim cards in China do I use the same phone number or does the number/service come with the new card?

The number is associated with the SIM card.. not the phone.
Make sure to get a tri-band or quad band phone.

for more gsm info.. go to http://www.gsmworld.com/
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Old Jun 30, 06, 6:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Vaze
Considering everyone seems to be suggesting that I get an unlocked phone and buy the Sim cards in China, then that's what I'll do . This may sound like a silly question, however, if if I buy an unlocked phone from say AT&T (now Cingular) take it with me, and change the Sim cards in China do I use the same phone number or does the number/service come with the new card?
Just make sure your phone works at GSM 900/1800 MHz, some Tri-Band phones only work at 1800 MHz. I think both ChinaMobile & ChinaUnicom use GSM 900 MHz.
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Old Jun 30, 06, 10:58 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by rdchen
I think both ChinaMobile & ChinaUnicom use GSM 900 MHz.
tmk, unicom is cdma only.

also, for anyone that's interested, several months back, i deposited one of my spare sims into the ft community (i.e. lent it to visiting fter, but never bothered to get it back). so, pm me if you like and i will ask him to mail it to you. it is a beijing number that does not contain any 4s or 2s.
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Old Jun 30, 06, 11:22 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog
tmk, unicom is cdma only.

also, for anyone that's interested, several months back, i deposited one of my spare sims into the ft community (i.e. lent it to visiting fter, but never bothered to get it back). so, pm me if you like and i will ask him to mail it to you. it is a beijing number that does not contain any 4s or 2s.
Unicom has both CDMA & GSM (at least in Shanghai). IIRC its GSM services is called "Ru Yi Tong".
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Old Jul 1, 06, 6:41 am
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Originally Posted by rdchen
Unicom has both CDMA & GSM (at least in Shanghai). IIRC its GSM services is called "Ru Yi Tong".

Thants correct. I just opened up my mobile phone bill to see the
providers I used in Beijing. I have China Unicom and China Mobile
in GSM.

Additional note: If you have a Verizon service, you can roam in CDMA
in Beijing. I think the cost is about 49c/minute. incoming and outgoing.
We had problems dialing international, but local and incoming worked just fine.
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Old Jul 6, 06, 5:45 pm
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Originally Posted by rdchen
Just make sure your phone works at GSM 900/1800 MHz
This in excellent point as I just found out. I have a Nokia 3100 which is a tri-band, but only GSM 850 not the GSM 900 required to work in China. Thanks for all the suggestions
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Old Jun 26, 09, 11:48 pm
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China Unicom used to operate both GSM and CDMA. But recently China Telecom acquired China Unicom's CDMA business. So there are 3 carriers on the market: China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom. And they all launched 3G services. As a new player, China Telecom offers the best rate in order to expand market share. As for cell phone rental services, just google "cell phone rental China" or "cell phone rental Beijing". There will be a bunch of choices.
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