Cell phone and internet plans in Hong Kong

Since it is hard to keep up with all the telecom deals, I will give you my two cents worth.

  1. Don’t commit yourself to internet or telephone packages before you arrive. Not all providers are available or have sufficient coverage in all addresses. Furthermore in older buildings bandwidth might be limited. So start comparing offers only when you have a flat otherwise you may be disappointed.
  2. Buy first a pre-paid HK SIM card and later on get yourself a plan.  In this way you have directly a HK phone number which is convenient in the communication with suppliers like movers, agents etc. (Read also other tips to settle-in quickly). Pre-paid cards can be bought at any convenience shop (CircleK, 7/11) or at the telecom company offices (CSL, PCCW, SmarTone, Three etc.). It’s not expensive and calls within HK are free of charge. Read more about the best 2017 simcards and other useful tips at HKTravelBlog.
  3. Plans differ a lot between the telecom service providers and can include internet, mobile phone, fixed land-lines and they might also provide broadband access at reduced prices. Aspects to take into account are the speed, the total package, the service available in your area and the length of the plan. A plan can be for 6, 12 or 24 months. However, most standard contracts are for 24 months. Plans are often transferable, but not refundable. A lot to check before you sign up and although prices tend to be a not transparent due to promotions. This website give you some insight in prices and plans of providers. Read as well our other blog on the cost of living in Hong Kong
  4. To sign a contract you need a HK ID card and passport.  If you don’t have your HK ID card (yet) you might be asked to pay a deposit of HKD 1000 – 3000.
  5. Although Hong Kong has invested  massively invested in its broadband and fiberglass infrastructure and you’ll get probably the fastest internet in the world, don’t be surprised that it can take some time before you have internet in your apartment. Sometimes it can take up to 4 weeks!
  6. However, Free Wifi is widely available in the city. Download the Wi-Fi.HK app to search for a extensive list of hotspot locations, as part of the government initiative to turn Hong Kong into a wireless city. You can connect with the ‘MTR Free Wi-Fi Hotspot’ and sign in at every MTR station for free for up to 15 minutes per session. csl free Wi-Fi hotspots can be found on all MTR platforms and concourses, selected Starbucks Coffee, Pacific Coffee, 7-Eleven and Circle K outlets and at selected phone booths. Look for the ‘CSL’ SSID on your device to browse the Hong Kong Tourism Boards website and download apps from it for free.

Continue to read our blog for more tips for expats moving to Hong Kong and have a look at other services ExpatWise can offer you.

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