How To Choose The Right Mobile SIM in Hong Kong
Needless to say, having a decent telco signal and data on the go will most probably the first thing in your mind when you travel, it is really convenient especially when you are on the move, and regularly sync your inbox for important emails or simply to update something on the social media.
It’s crucial nowadays for any travelers to be connected all the times, no matter where they are. Getting a cheap mobile SIM in Hong Kong during your stay is a piece of cake, and it’s really affordable given the generous mobile data and talk-time provided by the local telecommunication providers.
I will explain here further on How To Choose The Right Mobile SIM in Hong Kong.
Where to Get Your Prepaid SIM card in Hong Kong
I am going to share with you how to obtain a local SIM card in Hong Kong; either at the airport or a local mobile shop available island-wide with my easy shop locator map.
After you arrive at HK International Airport, getting your passport stamped and passing the immigration line, you can purchase the prepaid SIM right at the airport mobile shop “1010” next to the arrival hall.
The telco shop is next to a restaurant (Aji-Ichiban); see the map for more exact location; once there, you will find tourist and travelers queuing up in line to purchase mobile plan.
Airport Map Legend
33 – 1010 Mobile Shop
32 – Aji-Ichiban
31 – Godiva Chocolatier
30 – Delifrance
29 – HSBC Bank
Prepaid SIM with Unlimited Voice/Large Mobile Data (Budget Traveler – Heavy Data User)
I got myself the 4G Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM at the airport “1010” shop as I mentioned earlier. To be honest, this SIM is not considered cheap for budget traveler but their data plan and unlimited wifi hotspot around the island what caught my interest to buy them despite the price and validity, and the fact that I’m a heavy data user on the go.
I will not convince you to buy this package, it depends on what you need and your preference while in Hong Kong. There’s cheaper SIM option which I cover in detail on the next part. Read further.
One thing I noted that csl have an excellent coverage during my 7 days stay in Hong Kong. Surprisingly, the coverage was good despite my hike in the far east of Hong Kong – able to surf data with full 4G speed at Shek O, and also in Lantau Island
I presume this to be a good option for those planning on setting off far from the city yet need a full coverage and be connected all the time.
Telco name: HK-csl
Plan type: 4G Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM
Validity: 180 days after activation, you can recharge at 1010 Centre, csl shop, 7-eleven, Circle K and Van Go convenience store. Free 5GB mobile data and Unlimited csl Wifi for the first 8 days.
Price: HKD $118
If you are planning to stay for a week, and have a slightly better budget for the SIM plan, it will cost you HKD$118. The 4G ultimate pass allows you to use their generous 5GB mobile data, unlimited local voice calls plus a discounted roaming across Mainland China, Macau, and Taiwan within the first 8 Days.
Comes with 2 versions, 5 days pass and an 8-day pass. If you are staying at least for a week, it’s best to go for the latter, which cost HKD$118. You get 5GB data compared to 1.5GB on the 5 days pass.
For comparison, you may see below;
Another advantage using this particular tourist SIM is you can use their csl Wi-fi that is provided almost all over the place in Hong Kong.
You just have to connect to their hotspot, connect to your mobile browser and follow the instruction to log in your mobile details and you can already start surfing in minutes. All this privilege is provided within the first 8 days of the SIM activation which you can utilize during your stay in Hong Kong.
Prepaid SIM with Limited Voice/Data (Budget Option)
If going on a budget is your first call, and not intend to use voice and data regularly during your stay in Hong Kong, there is another prepaid SIM that will be bang for your buck.
These prepaid comes with the VAS (Value Added Service). You will need to activate them before using the plan. There are two major local SIM you can purchase;
You can buy the csl Local Prepaid SIM card, comes in two version; HKD$48 and HKD$78 on all sizes (normal/micro/nano), can be purchased at HKT stores, 7-Eleven, Vango, Circle K kiosks and other authorized dealers (more details on next part).
It’s valid for 180 days after the last top-up. Like the Tourist SIM, the free wifi is also available for this plan. To get the password, dial *111#. The monthly pass only is auto-renewing. To stop type *122#835*1#. For data, you will need to purchase (see table for option);
Similar to csl, this is provided by Octopus and widely available for purchase at any 7-Eleven stores in Hong Kong; comes in HK$ 98 with HK$ 58 credit valid for 180 days, 300 MB of data for every 30 days (until 180 days after activation) and unlimited free WiFi access. Data Pass option as below;
One distinct advantage using the Octopus Prepaid SIM is their capability to use as prepaid SIM as well as a travel Octopus card for use at MTR/Tram/Ferry/Buses and their affiliated stores.
The use of NFC technology on your mobile phone allows an easy swap on any of their affiliated services, with an addition to tracking the balance on their standalone mobile app, everything is done right at your fingertips.
I have not tried this mobile feature with Octopus Prepaid SIM, but if you are interested you may look up on their website (link here)
Where to Reload During Extended Stay
When you are out of credit or if you are extending your stay, recharging your SIM credit can be easily done at the following sales channel that is widely available island-wide in Hong Kong. You can buy the recharge vouchers at the following places.
Recharge with Voucher (csl Prepaid SIM)
You can buy a voucher to recharge your prepaid SIM with a denomination of HKD$ 50, 100, 200 and 300. For the recharge method using voucher (applicable to both csl & octopus Prepaid SIM), refer here
Other Option to Recharge Your csl Prepaid SIM
If wanting to recharge without visiting their stores, you can do it by using your credit card. To use the credit card to top-up, refer here and follow the on-screen instruction to recharge your prepaid SIM.
You will need the SIM card number; 19 to 20 digit numbers (you can find this on the back of the SIM card holder.
This is a rough guide for first-time travelers to Hong Kong to choose the mobile SIM plan in Hong Kong. Though it can be purchased outside the airport, I find it’s best to get it at the airport as soon as you arrive and avoid the hassle to find one in the city.
I hope it benefits you in choosing the right SIM plan. Please share the article and should you have any suggestions, please do comment in the section below. Cheers!