Using your iPhone in Hong Kong – Android Smart phones in Hong Kong

Reviewer: Foodnut.com

Last Update: March 2018

Be sure to secure your iPhone or Android Smartphone before you travel. Precautions will help prevent disaster.

The iPhone or any Android Smartphone is an essential tool when traveling to Hong Kong for tourists of any country.

  • Language translation
  • Google maps
  • Restaurant Reviews
  • Travel guides
  • Social Media
  • Other apps

Verizon Phone Warning

Many apps are extremely useful. We used them all the time. Using our American AT&T iPhone in Hong Kong was fine, after we unlocked it. Older Verizon iPhones from the USA do not work internationally, since they use CDMA technology. Verizon does sell several “World Phones” which work with SIM Cards.  Check your phone before leaving.

We have done the research on our last trip and are sharing the findings with you.

We also have articles on using prepaid SIM cards in other countries:

Foodnut.com’s Hong Kong Restaurant Reviews:

Here are some tips on using your iPhone in Hong Kong

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 has been fulfilled. T-Mobile requires 18 months of payments 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 pre-jailbroken/unlocked used iPhone from eBay or Craigslist. Unlocked iPhone 6’s typically cost around $150.

This article also applies to using prepaid SIM Cards in the iPhone X, 8, 8+, 7, 7+, 6. 6+, 5s, 5c, 5, 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, older iPad) and nano-SIM (iPhone X, 8, 8 Plus, 7 Plus, 7, 6 Plus, 6, 5, 5s, 5c, iPad Pro, mini and Air) for use in a variety of Smartphones. Newer places have 3 in 1 combo packs to accomoate all sizes. 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 Hong Kong

The main cellphone carriers in Hong Kong are

  • China Mobile
  • CSL
  • 3.com.hk
  • Smartone

These carriers support GSM900/1800/2100 frequencies.

Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM Card

The Hong Kong Tourist Association is promoting a SIM Card on the CSL network. It is a special HK$88 (5-day pass) or HK$118 (8-day pass Tourist SIM Card with:

  • Unlimited local voice calls
  • Unlimited csl Wi-Fi usage (15k hotspots in the city)
  • Upto1.5GB (5 day pass) 5GB (8-day pass) local mobile data via their 4G Network
  • Additional data can be purchased at HK$48/1.5GB.
  • HK$0.45/min to 36 countries
  • HK$48 value for IDD Calls and others
  • Local SMS HK$0.10 intranetwork, HK$0.70 internetwork
  • 180 day card validity
  • Macau and Hong Kong Support

This is a good bet if you are near their Wifi hot spots, which seem to be located throughout Hong Kong.

You can buy this at any 1O1O shop, including the outlet at 5/F of the Hong Kong International Airport Arrival Hall. Turn left after exiting customs.

This card is also available at 7-Eleven, Circle K or VanGO, csl. or PCCW-HKT shops, and the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Kowloon Visitor Centre at the Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

The day pass comes in the form of a 3-in-1 SIM card, suitable for phones that require micro, mini and nano SIMs, and is rechargeable for up to 180 days to make longer stays more convenient.

Share the Connection with Mobile Wi-Fi

This Hong Kong Tourist SIM Card also worked in our Mobile Wi-Fi (Mi-Fi), a HUAWEI E5577. We connected 4 phones to this via Wi-Fi!  No need to get 4 separate SIM Cards.

You can rent mobile Wi-Fi devices at the airport, but beware that they sell out during holidays like Chinese New Year.

1010 CSL Hong Kong Other options

From the past: We learned from a local that 1010 has a good network. So we decided to investigate.

They also sell these cards geared for others:

HK$218 China-HK-Macau Travel SIM Card

  • 5GB HK local mobile data
  • 1GB Roaming Data in China/Macau
  • Unlimited csl Wi-Fi and local calls
  • HK$48 value for IDD Calls and others

HK$180 All-in-One Prepaid SIM Card

  • Free csl Wi-Fi for 180 days
  • 1/3/7/30 days local data pass for selection
  • IDD Call $0.25 to selected 30 destination

China Mobile 4G SIM Card

We also bought a cheap SIM card from klook (US$6.80) and picked it up from the Hong Kong airport.

  • 8 days of unlimited 3G
  • 1.5GB of 4G data for 5 days
  • IDD Calling available for 4G card
  • Nano, Micro and Mini SIMs available

This did not offer as much data as we needed, but was cheap enough for use in an unlocked phone to stay in contact.

3’s SIMs automatically sets iPhone Data settings to:

apn: mobile.three.com.hk
guest
guest

visual voice mail: mobile.three.com.hk
mms: apn
mmsc: http://mms.vm.three.com.hk
mmsproxy: mms.three.com.hk:8799

Call ##107# to check your card’s balance.

 

These instructions should work for other smartphones including Android smartphones that support American GSM networks from AT&T and T-Mobile.

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2 Comments

  • Using your iPhone in China - China Mobile, China Unicom | Foodnut.com
    August 16, 2010 at 8:39 am

    […] Reviewer: Foodnut.com The iPhone is an essential tool when traveling. Google maps, travel guides, language translation, and many other apps are extremely useful. Here are some tips on using your iPhone in China. We also have an article on using iPhones in Hong Kong. […]

  • SIM Traveller
    August 3, 2014 at 1:30 am

    Insider’s tip: If you’re staying in Hong Kong a month or longer, buy your voice/data SIM from one of the stalls outside Sham Shui Po MTR station (e.g. opp McDonalds and diagonally across). They have bulk deals from 3, 1010, One2Free etc for 30 or 90 days and have loads of free minutes (to the order of magnitude of 2-3000, I forget) bundled in along with unlimited data. I think I got the 90 days one for HKD 500 or so. Can’t remember exact details, but those were great deals (try comparing with N. America!!). You’ll get a new phone number with each package, and recharging is not at all economical after the number of days expires compared with a new package. These deals, in the first half of 2013,did not come with international roaming, but check now if any do. SSP is 15 min, excluding in-station walking, on the main MTR line from Admiralty to Kowloon. Go well before 9pm. A bit of haggling is in order. There are at least 3 or 4 stalls selling these. Most phone sellers do not.

    These packages are not sold by the same carriers’ retailers; they are (or act) unaware of them, and are not featured on their websites.

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