Our 2016 version of our annual prepaid-SIM card round-up is here! I hope it comes in handy and includes the latest prepaid SIM cards which are available in Hong Kong. We’ll tell you which we think is the best SIM card based on what you need, and chose from cards that we found to be readily available here in HK.
All prices in this post are in local HKD. 1 USD = $7.80 HKD.
Where to buy
SIM cards in Hong Kong are sold at many mobile phone shops and convenience stores such as 7-11, VanGo, or Circle K. Card stock does tend to fluctuate so your preferred card may not always be available. You do not need to show any identification as in other countries, and can activate it simply by popping it into your phone.
Alternatively if you want to have the SIM card in hand to use as soon as you land/enter Hong Kong, you can order it via our sister site, hksimcard.com. The card will be delivered worldwide to your mailing address.
Be sure to make sure your phone works in Asia, is unlocked, and the proper size to buy, micro or nano. Each of these SIM cards provide you with a new local HK phone number (country code +852) and are rechargeable if you need to add funds to it.
Additionally, I like to keep some adhesive tape when I travel so I can tape my SIM card someplace. They’re so small these days and very easy to lose or mis-place. I’ve found a coin pocket or taped deep inside my wallet is a great place to store my card.
Hong Kong Only Cards
Everyone wants data these days so this is the best one as long as you aren’t downloading videos or large files:
- China Mobile 4G/3G Data & Voice Prepaid SIM Card: $80
Voice is cheap at $0.1/min and data is available $30/10 days which is an absolute steal. China Mobile calls this 3G lite, maximum local data access speed will be reached up to 384kbps which is perfectly fine for normal web surfing / emails / whatsapp / we chat / etc.
It’s also great for IDD, long-distance calling to a multitude of countries, since IDD charges are only about $0.18/min.
If on the other hand you really need fast data, check out this one:
- csl Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM: $88 / 5 days or $118 / 8 days
This card comes in two versions, a 5 or 8 day with unlimited voice and wi-fi. Data included is 1.5GB or 5GB respectively, and full 4G speed. Use these cards if you need unlimited calling/wi-fi and/or want high-speed data. You can extend the card another 5 days for $48 which includes 1.5GB data.
Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Macau Cards
You’re a bit limited if you want something relatively inexpensive that covers HK, China, TW, and Macau, but this card does the trick, as long as you don’t use too much data/voice:
- China Unicom Cross Border King: $120 (Discontinued as of Dec 31, 2016. Refer to our 2017 prepaid SIM guide)
Cross Border King card is greater for some calling, some data, but not much of either or you’ll end up using all your credit quickly. It does have a cool feature if giving you both a HK (country code +852) and mainland China number (country code +86) on one SIM card. Voice calls are roughly $0.45/min and data package between HK and China of $35/100MB/month or $78/500MB/7 days. Good for whatsapp, wechat, e-mails, small web surfing. Taiwan or Macau data charges are $68/day
Hong Kong and Roaming outside China Cards
This category is a bit tough, since roaming is really expensive, but here’s our selection for best overall for roaming:
Voice and Data:
- China Mobile 4G/3G Data & Voice Roaming Prepaid SIM Card: $108
Voice and data charges are going to vary depending where you’re going and how much you’re using. You’re going to have to refer to the charges for voice and charges for data. The plus side with this card is that the data charge will max out with a daily charge in a bunch of countries so you won’t have insane charges as long as you’re aware of the coverages.
- 7-11 APAC Roaming Prepaid SIM Card: $198
Only available at 7-11 this card provides 500MB of data over 5 days. Good for short trips amongst the following countries only: China, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.
As you can tell, there’s really no one best card, it depends on your situation. We didn’t recommend prepaid SIM cards from Smartone or Three, the other two big companies because they weren’t readily found outside their own stores. PCCW is also a big brand name in Hong Kong, but recently merged with csl. One2free is also csl now.
As mentioned, you can purchase the cards at convenience stores or HK SIM Card online if you don’t want to worry about searching for a card. Don’t forget to bring your pin if you need to pop your SIM card out of your phone!