Update November 8, 2017: 2017 Top HK SIM Card Guide
Visitors coming to Hong Kong are always asking about the best SIM Cards for their needs. There is no one-size fits all prepaid SIM card, and it really depends on a few factors; primarily:
- Length of stay
- Voice calls vs data usage
- SIM card size (micro vs nano)
- Roaming needs
Cost is usually not a huge factor as telecommunications is relatively cheap here in HK, and each card is more or less around the same price to remain competitive.
If I had to pick my top three, here are my recommendations:
- Hong Kong only: China Mobile 4G/3G Data & Voice
- Greater China (China, HK, Macau, Taiwan): China Unicom Cross Border King Dual-Number
- HK and other countries (includes roaming): one2free Power Prepaid SIM
All prices and costs in this article are in HKD. Pegged at 7.8 HKD per 1 USD.
China Mobile 4G/3G Data & Voice
I’d say the China Mobile 4G/3G Data & Voice prepaid SIM is the best overall card for use in Hong Kong only, for data and voice usage as the name implies. It’s available in both micro-SIM and nano-SIM sizes, so will fit almost all phones these days.
Local calls are a mere $0.10 per minute and only $0.18 per minute for IDD (overseas calls)
IDD calls to:
- China, Canada, Singapore, USA (mobile + fixed line;)
- Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, UK, and India (fixed-line.)
For data, there’s a 1 day, 5 day, and 10 day package. The 10 days data is a slower version of 3G, but perfectly acceptable for web surfing, e-mails, etc. Data service is a bargain at $30 HKD for 10 days. That’s only $3 HKD a day.
$80 to buy this card with $78 of stored value. You can purchase it at most convenience stores, China Mobile retail outlets, or at Hong Kong SIM Card.
China Unicom Cross Border King Dual-Number
Plan to visit China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau? The Cross Border King Dual-Number prepaid SIM is the best card for use in the Greater China region, as you can use the same SIM card in each of the aforementioned countries. Only drawback, it only comes in regular-SIM and micro-SIM sizes. Those of you with nano-SIM phones will need to cut the card yourself using scissors or a SIM card cutter. (Just cut all of the excess plastic around the chip.)
Costs to use the Cross Border card are certainly higher than a Hong Kong only prepaid SIM card, but it really gives you the flexibility of roaming without worrying about switching SIM cards & finding local options. It also provides two phone numbers, one mainland China number and one Hong Kong number for others to reach you at.
Voice calls range from $0.45 to $3.00 generally, depending which countries you’re in and calling to. It isn’t very cheap, but a short call here and there won’t break the bank.
Data is available, and a cheaper option over voice if you want to use a messaging app like WeChat or Whatsapp. You don’t get a huge allowance of data, so avoid downloading videos. Generally web surfing and e-mail will be fine. (Keep in mind Google, Instagram, Facebook, amongst others are often blocked in China.)
$120 to buy this card with $120 of stored value. Some convenience stores may carry it, you can purchase at a China Unicom retail store or online at Hong Kong SIM Card as well. (Not as common to find as the other two cards.)
One2Free Power Prepaid SIM
one2free’s Power Prepaid SIM is your best choice if you are visiting Hong Kong and plan to roam as well. You could definitely use this only in Hong Kong as well, but as compared with the China Mobile card, the data fees are slightly higher.
Roaming is available to countries worldwide, not just Asia. Great if you want to do a trip to HK, Thailand, Malaysia, & Singapore, etc; and won’t want to bother getting new SIM cards everywhere. See full list and fees covered.
Local calls are a mere $0.10 per minute and only $0.18 per minute for IDD (overseas calls.) Full list of IDD countries.
Data fees range depending on the length and allotment:
- Hourly Unlimited: $8
- Day Pass Unlimited: $28
- 7 Day Pass Unlimited: $78
- 30 Day 300 MB: $38
- 30 Day 1 GB: $88
You’ll get a 30% bonus when you recharge the phone card.
$88 to buy this card with $88 of stored value. You can buy it at most convenience stores, one2free retail outlets, or at Hong Kong SIM Card.
For all of these cards, if you run out of stored-value, you can top-up the value of the card and refill additional money onto the card online or in a store.
These prepaid SIM cards are carried at local convenience stores such as Circle K, 7-11, Vanguard, etc. Availability is hit or miss, sometimes they will be out of stock, especially the airport store. You might need to search a few stores before finding the card you want. Otherwise another option is to use Hong Kong SIM Card and have the card shipped to you so you’ll have it upon arrival.
Hope this article helps you with your prepaid SIM selection during your visit! Let us know your experience with these cards below and if you agree with my view on it.