Data only SIM cards for HK and Macau + unlimited options

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Visit our newer article as of 3/11/2018: Best 2018 Tourist HK Prepaid SIM cards guide

Exciting changes in the prepaid SIM card space lately. It’s certainly gotten more competitive in both features and pricing. I’ll focus on data SIM cards for use in both Hong Kong and Macau. In the past, you were roaming in Macau with a HK SIM, but these days the cards here will provide data service in Macau as though you were locally in Hong Kong.

Keep in mind, the cards outlined here are good for HK locals as well as tourists. Since the HK mobile post-paid plans still consider Macau roaming, it may be cheaper for you to buy a separate prepaid SIM to use during your visit to Macau.

Why data only?

With so many communications apps, you don’t really need a phone number. You can make calls via Facetime or Skype or other similar VoIP calling services, or use messenger services such as WhatsApp, or WeChat to make phone calls. The only thing you are missing is a local HK phone number, but most visitors don’t require that.

Prepaid SIM card options for HK & Macau data

Mind you these cards are aimed at visitors staying around a week or less. You could always get a new card each week if stayer longer, but then it starts to get a bit expensive purchasing a new card each week. Longer visitors probably better getting a local prepaid SIM card and monitoring your data usage.

(1) csl Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM Card (1.5 or 5GB data)

Price: $118 5GB/8 days or $88 1.5GB/5 days
Buy Online through HKSIMCard

This card previously did not support Macau, but now it’s considered local data usage!

Pro:

  • csl is one of the better mobile service providers.
  • Voice & Data allowances.

Con:

  • There is a limit to the data usage, but can top-up at $48 for 1.5GB additional.
  • More expensive than the China Unicom option.

Tip: If you’re unsure if 1.5GB is enough, purchase the 5GB/8 day card even if you’re staying less than 5 days.

(2) China Unicom Hong Kong & Macau 7 Days Data SIM (Unlimited Data*)

Price: $68 unlimited data
Buy Online through HKSIMCard

Straightforward card here. Unlimited data for 7 consecutive days, no top-up (refill) options.

*4G network mobile data service in HK and 3G network mobile data service in Macau. 7 days unlimited data usage (Once your total data usage in HK and Macau reaches 1GB, the upload/download speed would be restricted but not below 128kbps)

Pro:

  • This card is simple and cheap. Data only; 7 days usage. High-speed data for the first gig.

Con:

  • Slows down after 1 GB, but still fast enough to do most things except download large files or stream a lot of video.
  • Hard to find this card and not many China Unicom stores.

(3) China Mobile Big Bay Area Prepaid SIM Card

Price: $148 10 days (2 GB) or $98 3 days (1 GB)
Buy Online through HKSIMCard

If you’re also planning on heading over to mainland China, or need up to 10 days service, this card is a good option for you. Also includes some voice minutes as a plus.

  • 10 days: 2GB Data Service + 100 Mins Voice Call + 100 SMS
  • 3 days: 1GB Data Service + 50 Mins Voice Call + 50 SMS

 

Pro:

  • Supports HK, Macau, and China without roaming charges.
  • Voice & Data allowances.

Con:

  • Pricier than the aforementioned options.
  • Data allowance lower than others.

Recommendation

If you don’t need a lot of data, and just want something that’ll work so you can communicate, check emails, and browse the web, the China Unicom Hong Kong & Macau 7 Days Data SIM card is more than sufficient.

For heavy users who require high-speed internet, or 8 days of service, get the csl Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM. Or if you want to have voice services, this is also a good choice at a reasonable price.

If you’re headed up to China or require up to 10 days of service, then the Big Bay Area card will be your best bet.

Summary

To my knowledge, China Unicom and csl are the only two companies offering SIM cards in Hong Kong that considers Macau local for data usage purposes. Keep in mind Smartone, Three, China Mobile will still charge roaming fees in Macau.

With the opening of the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge (HZMB) in 2018, having access to the internet on your smartphone is a huge blessing as more and more people will be going back and forth between the two old colonies.

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