Be sure to secure your iPhone or Android Smartphone whenever you travel. Precautions will help prevent disaster.
The iPhone or any Android Smartphone is an essential tool when traveling to Taiwan, Taiwan for tourists of any country. Google maps, travel guides, language translation, and many other apps are extremely useful. We used them all the time. Using our American AT&T iPhone in Taiwan was tricky. Most newer Verizon iPhones from the USA work internationally, since they use CDMA technology and include a SIM card slot. Verizon does carry several “World Phones” which work with SIM Cards, check with Verizon to see if you have one of these. We have done the research on our last trip and are sharing the findings with you.
Travel Tips for Taiwan
Yelp of Taiwan – iPeen
Top Night Markets: Shida, Shida Road, near Taipower MRT
Shilin, Luo Dong at Chongcheng Rd. and Xindong Rd.
We also have articles on using prepaid SIM cards in other countries:
- Using iPhones in Hong Kong
- Using iPhones in China
- Using iPhones in France
- Using iPhones in the UK
- Using iPhones in Japan
Here are some tips on using your iPhone in Taiwan
You can only use foreign SIM cards in an unlocked iPhone or Android Smartphone. A locked smartphone only works on the original cell phone carrier. Most cell phone carriers in the US, including AT&T, allow you to unlock Smartphones after your 2 year contract or Next plan has been fulfilled. T-Mobile requires 18 months of payments or full payment before they will unlock a cell phone under contract. You can alternately purchase an unlocked Smartphone from Amazon, eBay, etc.
If you prefer to unlock your iPhone, you can try jailbreaking it. Jailbreaking and unlocking iPhones are not easy tasks. One slip and you may have bricked your expensive smartphone. You can buy a unlocked used iPhone from eBay or Craigslist. iPhone 5’s typically cost around $200.
This article also applies to using prepaid SIM Cards in the iPhone 6, 5s, 5c, 5, 4s, 4, and iPad with 4G or LTE. Android Smartphones utilizing GSM technology are also supported.
Different Smartphones use different sized SIM cards. Most foreign cell phone carriers sell smaller micro-SIM (iPhone 4, 4S, iPad) and nano-SIM (iPhone 6, 5, 5s, 5c, iPad mini and Air) for use in a variety of Smartphones. You should remove the SIM card from your phone before you attempt to purchase a prepaid SIM card in another country.
Main cellphone carriers in Taiwan
Taiwan Mobile, Taiwan Star (T-Star), Far Eastone, First International Telecom, emome or Chunghwa Telecom. Most of these carriers support GSM900/1800/2100 network frequencies. 4G/LTE is supported on frequencies: 700, 900 and 1800 MHz. Most carriers do not offer 4G LTE on prepaid.
You can also rent a mobile hot spot from Telecom Square (A Japan based company) They have a counter in the airport. NT $199 – NT $299 per day. Several models have unlimited data per day.
Suggested Wireless Carrier
We chose to go with Taiwan Mobile Prepaid Sim Card or T-Star Prepaid SIM Card due to its lower costs and GSM Compatibility.
Where to Buy
Upon arriving in Taoyuan Airport (TPE) and clearing customs, turn left and head all the way to the end of the arrivals hall. Turn left again and you will see a cell phone shops selling pre-paid sim cards. They are both in Terminal 1 and 2.
Taiwan Mobile also has stores across Taiwan. We found that most 7-11 Convenience stores in Taipei do not sell the SIM cards, but can add more money to them. 7-11 stores in Hualien carried the SIM Cards.
Prepaid SIM card plan
When we purchased the Taiwan Mobile Prepaid SIM Card from their cell phone store, they took a picture of our passport and our drivers license. They need 2 official picture IDs. Be prepared to wait up to 30 minutes to get activated, they need to send the information in.
- SIM Card costs NT$800 for 10 day pass with 10 days of unlimited 3G data. NT$550 credit on card
- Standard size or Micro SIM Card are available
- 7 day package is available for NT$450 – T Star Charges NT$500 for 7 days
- Local and domestic long distance Voice calls cost NT$0.1095/sec
- Text messages cost NT$1.5629 per message
- The SIM Card lasts 60 days and can be added onto (topped up) and extended
Prepaid SIM card Activation
This is how we set up our iPhone on this prepaid SIM Card.
- Turn off your smartphone
- Insert the Prepaid SIM Card
- Turn on your smartphone
- Carrier settings should be configured automatically
- If necessary set the APN field to internet
Prepaid SIM card Top Up
Here is how you can add money to your account
- Visit a convenience store and purchase a top up
- You will receive a receipt with a PIN number
- Call 867 (For T-Star dial 747)
- Enter PIN number
- You should receive a text message or SMS confirmation with new balance
These instructions should work for other smartphones including Android smartphones that support American GSM networks from AT&T and T-Mobile.